100 years ago, US entered World War I

Public opinion in the US swung away from neutrality in May 1915 with the sinking of the Lusitania by a German submarine killing 1,201 passengers including 128 Americans

So it was on 2 April 1917 April that President Wilson found himself before a joint session of the United States Congress. Congress should declare German actions to be nothing less than war against the government and people of the United States, he said.

Wilson had not wanted to do this.

Next, on February 1, Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare, sinking merchant ships without warning in worldwide waters.

On Jan. 16, German foreign secretary Arthur Zimmermann sent a telegram to his ambassador in Mexico asking him to propose a military alliance. The economy was mobilized for war and for the first time in history, America has joined the circle of global superpowers, which will last until today. After the offer became public, the USA declared war. "Conflicts such as the Balkan wars increased tensions, and it kept building".

Suddenly, Wilson had to confront the quandary of keeping the USA neutral or entering the "war to end all wars". German Navy U-boats had, in fact, devastated British merchant fleets so badly by 1917 that British defeat was imminent. And so the American entry into WWI can also be seen as the final nail in the coffin of Europe's land empires. The U.S. had neither the inclination nor the military might to wage a major war in Europe, and the Americans initially sat on the sidelines under the banner of "armed neutrality". Wilson was 7 when Gen. Philip Sheridan's army burned out much of the Shenandoah valley.

By the end of 1917, America, through the Wilson Administration have been successful in refraining from entering a European conflict. Chief among those ideologies were the Great Power rivalries attendant to global imperialism. Wilson gave no compelling arguments for sending American men across the ocean to die.

While the USA joined the war on the side of the Allies, we technically entered the war as an associated power. Germany was thus desperate to conclude peace with Russian Federation, then in the throes of revolution, and a final victory on its Western Front before conditions could deteriorate further.

"Therefore be it resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that the state of war between the United States and the Imperial German Government which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared".

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In the early stages of the war, Great Britain and Germany had both imposed naval blockades, but in very different ways.

The progressive mentality in the United States approached social and political problems not as conditions to be managed but as things a modern, rational government could fix once and for all.

"The world must be made safe for democracy". He might as well have said the world must be made unsafe for empires.

VIMY, France - Thousands of names etched on walls stretching into the French countryside, a mournful hilltop monument reaching into the skies - the Vimy Memorial honors Canadians killed in World War I and commemorates a battle that barely budged the front line, but marked Canada forever. "Indeed, Hindenburg explicitly admitted the day before 'We count upon war with America'". These "Fourteen Points" emphasized freedom of the seas, free trade, impartial adjustment of colonial claims, self- determination, open covenants, and a League of Nations to arbitrate disputes.

Mexico would be given Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico as spoils, so the German plan. As one of the interview subjects says early on, World War I - which at the time was called "the war to end all wars" - is the most important historical event people don't know about.

It wasn't inconceivable that Mexico would declare war. Almost 117,000 US soldiers gave their lives in combat - 130 of them from Morris County.

Woodrow Wilson and America's liberal internationalism: After winning re-election on a promise to stay out of the war, Wilson took the doughboys in, effectively launching a new chapter in USA foreign policy that lasts, with variations, to the present day. (That same motorized edge would again pay off in WWII, and help power the Red Army's eastward march.) USA preoccupation with securing an ample supply of oil for itself and its friends was a key theme after the war - and continues to this day with the 5th Fleet's patrolling of the Persian Gulf. And it didn't exactly get U.S. That only increased when a German submarine sunk the British passenger ship Lusitania in May 1915.

World War I was enormously consequential for America and the world. This can be unsafe. "If in this war we allow the few to fight for us, then as a nation we have died and our ideals have died with us", she wrote. It's worth asking ourselves, again, what our national interests really are, and what we're prepared to do to secure them.

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