America And The Great War
America and the Great War
The First World War, which is also known as the Great War, began in the year 1914 and ended 1918. The war was much concentrated in Europe, but it later incorporated various other nations like America, which had remained neutral from 1914 to 1917 (Turtledove, 2000). Later, America joined the war; the decision left many people in poverty and misery. However, the war led to massive destruction of property as well as people. There was displacement of families while millions of people lost their lives. Therefore, the war is traced to have been caused by various forces that connected Europe with other nations. For instance, imperialism, nationalism, and militarism irrevocably led to the Great War. Moreover, in Europe there was growing attention of Pan-Slavism as well as nationalism that was much concentrated in German-speaking nations (Turtledove, 2000). Therefore, it is important to understand the various factors that drew America to joining the war after a long period of neutralism and also analyze the various forces that led to the war and how they achieved their main objective.
Among the main causes of the Great War is nationalism. It can be referred to as a feeling with the bases of common cultural values and virtues that create a sense of separation among people of different states or communities. In other words, it can be seen as a unifying factor between people of the same community. Therefore, the fore mentioned feeling brought much competition among Germany, Great Britain, Russia, Italy, Austria-Hungary, and France, which are the main European powers (Oliver, 2003). Each of the states worked on improving its inhabitants. The varying interests among the nations led to scandals as each wanted to be more superior to the other. However, to become more popular as well as great to the other nations, it was a necessity to have the best economy as well as the military. Therefore, each nation had pros and cons depending on various factors like location and resources. Some nations thought they were much disadvantaged and hence they would apply any means to get resources from others that look more advanced. For instance, Germany was much improved and well-situated concerning the economy. Their prosperity dates the early industrial revolution that improved the state of their technology and the ability to develop new firearms (Oliver, 2003). On the other hand, a country like Russia experienced many problems due to their location. They had no warm-water port, a condition that weakened their technology and thus leading to a poor military system.
Due to the growing competition and the flourishing industrial revolution in Germany, there needed to have enough resources that would help support their growing industries. Africa was the main target of the European nations as they had all the necessary resources like rubber, diamonds and even gold. In order to efficiently run their industries, the states extended their ways to Africa and started to exploit all the available resources. Therefore, Africans had to resist since the whites would force them to work on their land and at last get no pay. As a result, enmity started to build between the two continents. At the time, people needed security and hence different nations started forming territories and colonies. For instance, Austria-Hungary and Russia wanted to take control of the Southeast Europe (Balkans). In addition, different states started to form their own territories. For instance, the Serbians wanted to extend their territories and take Bosnia and Herzegovina. On the other hand, the Austria-Hungarian wanted to destroy the long worked plan of the Serbians. As a result, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot to death and hence causing great problems. The death of Archduke brought Russians closer with the intention of helping the Serbians and hence motivating the Great War. However, Pan-Slavism, a movement formed by Black Hand is a secret group that involved Slav nationalist. The movement has raised much attention following the death of Archduke. Individuals who participated in the death of a popular Franz Ferdinand are referred to be from the group. Serbia was a Slav nation and hence it felt demoralized by the acts of Austro-Hungarian who on the other hand feared the resistance of their Slavs target.
Besides, the force of imperialism led to the Great War. The most powerful nation among the European nations took control of other colonies and territories. However, there are different ways in which an imperialist can take control of other territories. First, it can employ military conquest with the targeted nation and hence making it an imperialist’s nation. Before World War 1, Britain had power over all other nations and hence becoming an imperial power over other established colonies (Matthew, 2012). It took control over other nations such as India, Australia, and Egypt among others. However, Britain benefited from the colonies as they supplied it with resources and even labor. As a result, Britain continued to grow and extend its powers in almost one-quarter of the universe. France, Russia and other powerful nations in Europe took the same trend and hence making imperialism the order of the day.
Also, each nation wanted to become more popular in terms of military defense. As a result, all nations wanted to build weapons and troops that would defend both the people and their established colonies. Moreover, nations were recognized in the whole of Europe prior the World War 1 with the strength in military power. Nations started to fight for power. For instance, the most imperial nation required a strong military system. It thus created a form of competition that ended with the Great War as each nation wanted to show how superior it is.
However, since 1914 to 1917 America stayed neutral; they never wanted to involve themselves with the war. The country was experiencing good economic growth as well a well modified military system. They never saw any reason to get themselves into the war until 1917 when President Woodrow Wilson declared war against Germany. They had violated various terms of the United States as well as enticing Mexicans to ally with them and fight the Americans. However, many Americans never favored the American entry into the war but they were persuaded as it was going to affect them in one way or the other even if it is not directly. Woodrow gave the Germany government some terms (Sussex pledge) that they expected to be adhered to. They wanted their visitor ships to be left free. Germania army attacked the United States passenger ships with an intention of provoking the Americans. On the contrary, the German army thought it would be successful if they attacked the French through the submarines. As a result, they violated the terms given by the United States and hence forcing them to enter into the war.
However, after the World War I the Treaty of Versailles was formed to ensure no more war that would erupt in the four days. It aimed at strengthening the relationship between people of the fighting nations. The treaty rendered Germany responsible for all the losses encountered by the war (Louise, 2010). Moreover, it lost some of its colonies such as Alsace and Lorraine to France. In addition, Germany was limited to extend its military power and the ability to construct more firearms. Though German accepted the terms and conditions, it started reforming itself with an intention of striking back.
Turtledove, H. (2000). The Great War: breakthroughs. New York, N.Y. Ballantine Pub. Group.
Oliver, Z. (2003). Nationalism in Europe, 1890-1940. Basingstoke, Hampshire. Palgrave McMillan.
Matthew, P. (2012). Liberal imperialism in Europe. New York. Palgrave McMillan.
Louise, C. (2010). The Treaty of Versailles. New York. Chelsea House Publishers.
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