Gavrilo Princip, who killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand At Sarajevo, Bosnia, on June 28, 1914, the Archduke Franz (heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary) Ferdinand and his wife, the Duchess Sophia, a Serbian nationalist assassin murdered the archduke, plunging Europe into war. The Spark
The Alliance System EXPLODES Europe Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the Scandinavian countries proclaimed their neutrality, as did Woodrow Wilson for the United States.
Wilson had run for office on issues of domestic policy, but most of his presidency was dominated by international crises. Woodrow Wilson 1910, while President of Princeton
While the majority of Americans, including Wilson, were more sympathetic to the Allies than to the Central Powers, there were exceptions. Large numbers of Irish-Americans and German-Americans did not favor the Allied cause. German communities in such cities as Cincinnati, Milwaukee, St. Louis and others had active German-language newspapers, churches and schools. As late as 1916, this Savannah, Georgia, newspaper was still reporting war news in the German language for its patrons.
Germany’s use of submarines in the Atlantic soon made it nearly impossible for that nation to avoid attacks on neutral shipping. It was these attacks that finally led America to go to war against Germany on April 6, 1917.
American neutrality was put to the test in May 1915, when the German submarine U-20 sank the British luxury liner Lusitania, which was carrying 1,200 passengers and a cargo of ammunition for British rifles . The German embassy had warned Americans that Allied vessels in the war zone were fair targets, but 128 Americans had ignored the warning and met their deaths . Wilson accused the Germans of brutality, demanded that they stop submarine warfare , and refused to ban American passengers from sailing on Allied vessels . Drawing made for the London Sphere and the New York Herald, June 1, 1915, based on eyewitness accounts.
German submarine that sank the Lusitania Submarines were vulnerable craft, depending for their effectiveness on stealth and speed. They could not afford to practice the traditional courtesies of rescuing civilians or neutrals when they attacked belligerent merchant ships on the high seas. Wilson's concern about the barbarity of submarine attacks that left helpless passengers to die were correct, but they ignored the reality of an all-out war effort in which the Central powers had no weapon but the submarine against the superior ability of the Allies to bring war goods from abroad.
When Wilson asked Congress to declare war, the country was not on a wartime footing. No plans existed for mobilization, or for coordination of shipping or manufacturing. Preparation for entry into the war began almost immediately. In resuming submarine warfare, the Germans had gambled that the advantages they would gain by cutting the Allies off from American suppliers would enable the Central powers to win the war before the Americans could mount an effective mobilization for war. One of the first steps Wilson took was to raise a U.S. army, the "American Expeditionary Force." Volunteers in a Brooklyn, New York, recruiting office in June 1917.
Despite widespread fears that a draft would face opposition as it had in the Civil War, Congress passed a Selective Service Act in May 1917. The fears of opponents proved unfounded when more than 24 million men registered for the draft. New York City men waiting their turns to register for the draft, 1917.
A World War I navy recruiting poster, drawn by Howard Chandler Christy.
Non-commissioned officers of the 28th Keystone Division are being trained in the use of the bayonet by a British officer at Camp Hancock. So ill-equipped were Americans for war that some units had to practice with wooden rifle substitutes in the absence of real weapons.
Bayonet practice in Texas Training could never prepare Americans fully for the horrors of this world war.
This is a photo of a military training exercise. But it conveys a more realistic idea of what Americans would face when they arrived at the front in World War I. The photo is of Canadian soldiers training near the front in France.
In the fall of 1917, after the Bolshevik Revolution, Russia made a separate peace with Germany, dissolving the eastern front of the war. The French army was mutinous after the failure of a heroic attempt to create an offensive against the German trenches on the western front. Germany had decisively defeated Italian forces, and was preparing to mount a massive western offensive in the valley of the Somme.
Yet despite the desperate need of the Allies for military support, American troops did not begin to arrive at the western front until late in 1917.
By the time the American troops arrived in substantial numbers in the spring of 1918, British and French units had endured more than three years of increasingly costly trench warfare. These British troops are shown on the front line in the Somme area in August 1916. The Battle of the Somme, in the summer and fall of 1916, achieved almost no changes in the positions of the German and Allied armies, but 420,000 British, 200,000 French, and 450,000 Germans lost their lives, and the area was almost totally destroyed.
Men of the U.S. 33rd Division in a front-line trench in the Meuse valley, September 1918. Nearly 900,000 American troops joined with 135,000 French soldiers in late September to push the German armies back through the Argonne Forest to the Meuse River in the final campaign of the war. Casualties in the Meuse-Argonne battle were estimated at 120,000 men.
“ the war to end all wars” Philip Tangor and Allen Floyd, US 78th Division with M. and Mme Baloux at Brieulles-sur-Bar
Members of the 369th U.S. Infantry Regiment en route home. Just as women used their participation in the war effort to fight for their rights, African Americans also hoped to use the war to improve their status . Leaders like W. E. B. Du Bois and the NAACP officials protested strongly when initial mobilization plans did not include African Americans. Eventually the army created segregated regiments for them, officered by whites. Although most of those units provided support services, a number of them, including the much-decorated 369th U.S. Infantry Regiment, were sent into combat. The 369th served in the trenches longer than any other American outfit. All of the men shown here are wearing the French Croix de Guerre , awarded to 171 of the 369th's officers and men for heroism in battle.
The 369th Infantry Regiment marches up Fifth Avenue in New York, February 18, 1919, at the end of the war.
Wilson reads the terms of the Armistice agreement to the Congress, November 11, 1918.
As the news of the armistice reached the cities of America, thousands of people crowded into the streets in jubilant celebration. This scene on Broad Street in Philadelphia was repeated in towns and cities all over the country.
The "Council of Four" of the Paris Peace Conference : right to left, David Lloyd George of England , Vittorio Orlando of Italy , Georges Clemenceau of France , and Woodrow Wilson . Each leader had his own agenda. France wanted to permanently cripple Germany ; the British wanted to squeeze punitive payments from Germany and ensure that France would not emerge as too strong a continental power , and Italy hoped to expand its territory in the Adriatic.
After the war, Wilson’s idealism was again reflected in his effort to win the Senate’s support for the Treaty of Versailles, which ended the war and set up a League of Nations. But Americans seemed tired of idealism and the troubles of the world. In 1920, the Senate refused to ratify, or agree to, the treaty. This cartoon accuses the isolationists in the Senate of betraying the President and endangering the world. But Americans wanted a quieter, More satisfied age – what the next President, Warren G. Harding, called a time of “normalcy.” In April 1917, America went to war and President Woodrow Wilson redirected his reform idealism and energy abroad. He said he hoped to aid the Allies in World War I in order to “ make the world safe for democracy.”