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According to William & Leary, Jr. (1967), the history has it that World War I began when nations decided to go to war to retaliate the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand who was the heir to the Habsburg throne on June 28th, 1914. However the revisionist historian talks of the causes and the purpose of conflagration of World War I. The Americans followed the advice of President George Washington given in his farewell address up to the time they decided to enter into the war. President Washington gave a warning to the people of America in regards to getting involved in the affairs of Europe. But later on in 1914, that was not the case. This is due to the fact that some individuals were secretly planning America's participation in World War I whether the people of America were willing or not. This paper will begin with the facts and work back which makes it easier to comprehend how World War One really happened. The events of July and early August 1914 are a classic case of "one thing leading to another" - otherwise known as the accord alliance structure. The explosive that was World War I had been long in the stockpiling; the glimmer was the killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand as I had mentioned earlier, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914.
Events that drew the United States into World War I
The sinking of the Lusitania is one of the events that drew the United Sates into World War I. This step of maneuvering of the United States into the Great War began when owners of the ocean liners, Cunard Lines, the Lusitania, led to the turning of the ship over to the First Lord of the Admiralty known as Winston Churchill. The ship became a ship of English Navy and was being managed by English Government. The ship that was turned was headed to New York City and it was loaded with six million rounds of ammunition which were to be sold to help in their war against the Germany (William & Leary, Jr., 1967).
It became clear that the very wealthy people were the people who wanted the American government to get embroiled in the Great War. Another event that led to the U.S. being drawn into the was the breaking of German war code in order on December 14, 1914, so that "by the end of January, 1915 British Intelligence could be able to advice the Admiralty of the departure of each U-boat as they were leaving for patrol...." This therefore implied that the First Lord of Admiralty Winston Churchill could figure out where every U-boat was in the vicinity of the England Channels which separated France and England (Robert, 1985).
During this period, Secretary Bryan made a promise that he would endeavor to persuade, Woodrow Wilson to publicly warn Americans not to travel aboard the Lusitania. President Wilson never gave any warning even though he proclaimed America's neutrality in the European War. Wilson wanted American to be involved in the war by fostering the sinking of the Lusitania and this was made public in the book "The Intimate Papers of Colonel House" which was written by those who supported the Colonel.
Mr. Simpson's book as reviewed by the Los Angeles times arose to conclusion that the sinking of the Lusitania proved beyond reasonable doubts that the British government played a role in the sinking of the passenger ship in order to lure America into World War I. The Germans, whose torpedo struck the liners, were used as the unwitting accomplices or rather the victims of the plot who were concocted by Winston Churchill. Thereafter President Wilson was seeking re-election in 1916, where he campaigned through luring people that he was interested in keeping the American people out of the war, during his first term of office which was from 1912 to 1916.
Reason why Americans remained neutral between 1914 and 1917
At the moment war broke out, the statement of President Wilson were used as a model of neutral modus operandi. President Wilson issued a formally appropriate neutrality proclamation and went further exhorting his countrymen to develop neutrality in thought and actions as well. Surely, he was absolutely neutral at heart in August, 1914. It took a period of not more than three years, and that was in April, 1917, when he went before that Congress and said unto the members that "God helping her," this country could do no other than making war on Germany. Furthermore, after returning from the capital to the White House and made statements to his secretary Joseph P. Tumulty, bearing indication that, and at the time of his war message he had already changed his attitude that he was not able to believe that he had been neutral. He therefore cited with approval an article by the correspondent of the Manchester Guardian by stating that: "Mr. Wilson had always been sympathetic with the Allies and had thus wished to throw the country into war on their side just the moment circumstances would permit (Robert, 1985).
Specific events that led to America's entrance into the war
Specifically, there were a number of events that led to America's entrance into war include: sinking of the passenger liner Lusitania by U-boat where 125 Americans died, British propaganda or stressed German barbarism, German dictatorship, 'making the world safe for democracy,' U.S. business interests whereby U.S. to trade with the allies increased from 825 million in 1914 to 3.2 billion in 1916, and finally the Zimmerman Note where Germany requested Mexico to enter the war against U.S. and the U.S. intercepted the note.
Further, the United States originally had a policy of isolationism, where they tried to avoid conflict and encouraging peaceful environment and this resulted in tension between Berlin and British. By the time German U-boat sank the British liner in 1915, President Woodrow Wilson vowed, "America was too proud to fight" and demanded an end to attacks on passenger ships. Although the Germans complied, Wilson tried to mediate a settlement with no success and therefore warned that U.S. will not tolerate unrestricted submarine warfare which violated the international laws in relation to human rights. Wilson was also under pressure from Theodore Roosevelt, a former president who condemned the German actions as piracy (Robert, 1985). President Wilson had also won re-election by saying that he is going to keep the country out of the war but the British saw the need to reveal the telegram to the U. S. but after submarines sank seven U.S. merchants ships and publication of the Zimmerman telegram, President Wilson declared war on German declared by the U.S. Congress on April, 6th, 1917.
The Defeat of the Treaty of Versailles
It is vital to note that it was not the power of the opposition forces, conservatives that finally determined the final defeat of the Treaty of Versailles, but relatively the political ignorance, inability, and inflexibility of the president, Woodrow Wilson. After the World War I, following the surrender of Germany, many distinguished ways of creating peace were created. In 1918, Wilson offered his plans for peace in the "Fourteen points" where the most important was the League of Nations (Seward, 1966).
Opposition from a number of forces led to the defeat of the Treaty of Versailles since many leaders challenged numerous President Wilson's Fourteen Points and thus allowing only few to be put in accord. Opposition to the League of Nations was definitely the greatest reason that led to the defeat. They also wanted to remain isolationist powers and stick to George Washington's views on foreign affairs.
The last reason f or the defeat of this treaty was that the senate foreign relations committee was felling very left out after President Wilson did this with the aim of putting all the 14 points into the treaty. Congress became very angry over the negotiations since President Wilson was simply trying to undercut them, and thus they refused to ratify the treaty. In short, three factors le to the defeat of this treaty which include; the strength of opposition, opposition of League of Nations, and the Senate Foreign Relations committee's discontent (Seward, 1966).
Effect of the Great War on America's role in the world during the 1920s and 1930s
Possibly, the important outcome of the World War I was the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, which made Russia to withdraw from the war. After the Great War was over, 22 countries sent their troops including the U.S. to Russia to fight on the side of the Czars in the Russian Civil War. The leadership of Americans also established capitalist countries and was deeply opposed to communism in principle and thus led to overthrow of Bolshevik regime and then put Czars in power (Ernest, 1959).
The Great led to America being returned to a more pro-business attitude during the post war boom of the "Roaring 20s" and its impact on politics gave power to free-market proponent and the desire of the public to be distanced from Communism. In 1920s, the American community became polarized and prohibition went into effect thus leading to organized crime to gain a strong foothold in the American economy. The FBIs were also given more powers in order to combat organized crime (Ernest, 1959).
It is therefore vital to note that America's involvement in the Great War help the nation both positively and negatively. If at all the people of America did not fight in the Great War they could have also suffered and that is why we realize that the war created a more pro-business atmosphere and FBI also gained more powers thus becoming capable of combating criminal acts.