WWI When World War I Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

..the spirit of ruthless brutality will enter itn every fiber of our national life" (Johnson 643).

Staying out, states Tindall & Shi 948), was "more easily said than done, not least for Wilson himself. Americans might want to stay out of the war, but most of them cared which side won. Ironically, because there were so many first- or second-generation immigrants from Germany and Ireland, the leaning was toward the Central Powers. However, "old-line Americans" mostly of British descent were sympathetic to the Allies.

Yet actions were to occur that made the final decision. In 1915, the Germans sank the British Cunard liner Lusitania with 128 Americans on board. The Americans were outraged and sent letters to no avail. Then U-boats sank a number of American ships and finally, the press published a secret telegram from the German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman to the Mexican government proposing a German-Mexican offensive alliance against the U.S., where Texas and other territories would be given back to Mexico. The decision was made to enter the war.

World War I made a major impact on the world, that is still felt today. During and after the war, Japanese-American relationships grew increasingly strained. Also, the war debts and reparations heightened American isolationism, or anti-American feeling in Europe. When in 1917 the Allies had begun to exhaust private credit in the United States, the government then advanced them funds first for the war effort and then for postwar reconstruction. It was extremely difficult for Britain to pay back the funds and they wanted to wait until they received reparations from Germany. The whole structure then collapsed during the Great Depression (Tindall & Shi 1100). The U.S. all but cancelled the reparations. Worse, when Wilson drafted a plan for peace, he did not consult Britain or France until it was completed.

The War, according to Johnson was something that brought on WWII and millions of more deaths. He states that "The Great War of 1914-1918 was the primal tragedy of the modern world civilization, the main reason why the 20th century turned into such a disastrous epoch for mankind." In fact, "Versailles was the impulse behind Adolf Hitler's rise to power, the pretext for his aggressions, and the ultimate cause of World War Two (651). Thus, what the European countries and the U.S. thought at the beginning of WWI would be a short-lived and inconsequential war turned out not only to kill millions, but also to lead into another war and completely change history for ever.

Books Cited

Johnson, Paul. History of the American People. New York: Harper Collins, 1997.

Tindall, George Brown and Shi, David. America. A Narrative…

Sources Used in Document:

Books Cited

Johnson, Paul. History of the American People. New York: Harper Collins, 1997.

Tindall, George Brown and Shi, David. America. A Narrative History. New York:

Norton, 1984.

Zinn, Hoard. People's History of the United States. New York: Harper Collins, 1999.

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