America’s Entry Into WWI: The Reasons, Expectations and Outcomes

America’s Entry Into WWI: The Reasons, Expectations and Outcomes

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The Reasons and Expectations of America’s
Entry into WWI and the Outcomes

President Wilson and the American people desired to remain neutral during World War I but there were several reasons Wilson lead the Americans into war. America’s expectations of the war were not fulfilled. The war forced America to make several changes which had many lasting effects. America would temporarily change its inward focus.
There were many reasons leading to America’s involvement in WWI. By the 1900’s, eleven percent of the American population were Europeans that came to the U.S. to escape politics of their country (Bosco 11). America was unaware of its developing strength and unconcerned with Europe’s world domination (Dupont, Vol.1 8). Wilson desired neutrality as long as we could conduct our business with whomever we wanted. The German’s U-boat campaign, which included sinking the passenger ship Lusitania (128 Americans died), liner Luconia (4 Americans died), and the American grain ship Housatonic, severed diplomatic relations with Germany (8). The final straw was the interception of the Zimmerman Telegram on February 24, 1917 (Dupont, Vol.5 27). This telegram offered Mexico an alliance with Germany and urged Mexico to attack the U.S.
Wilson prepares the Americans for the decision to enter the war. Wilson addressed Congress on April 2, 1917, “The world must be made safe for democracy.” (Legrand 217) Wilson informed America that our safety and position in the world was in jeopardy. Americans believed with enthusiasm that we could no longer remain neutral; however, they expected to return to normalcy when the war ended (Bakeman, 992).
When America entered the war on April 6, 1917 (Obrien 505), President Wilson realized that this country’s economy needed to change in order to fight a major war (Dupont, Vol.5 29). America prospered from the European need for food, raw materials, and weapons. European immigration declined, cutting back on the availability of cheap industrial labor (Jennings and Brewster 37). Steel and iron production soared to record levels. With more money to spend, more Americans began investing in an array of luxuries that were far beyond their reach only a few years ago. The war stimulated industrial changes such as standardization and assembly-line production. With thousands going off to war, there were vacancies in the Northern cities filled with Southern black workers (Jennings and Brewster 37). This changed the makeup of cities and farm life all over the country. Women entered the workplace and became confident in their own ability which led to Women’s Suffrage passing in the House in 1918 (Dupont, Vol.

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8 56). The government formed new entities. The War Industries Board regulated industrial production. The Committee of Public Information flooded the nation with propaganda to keep up morale. The Selective Service Act required men to register to be drafted for military service.
WWI should have been America’s wake up call but instead they wanted to go back to sleep by ignoring world affairs. America would not return to normalcy due to the lasting effects of the war. Twenty years later, we would be forced to enter another world war because of unsettled issues.
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