The Impact of The 1 World War on America
World War I was an international conflict that affected millions across the globe and had a great impact in shaping the world today. It led to the fall of the four great imperial dynasties and became a precursor to the Bolshevik revolution and World War II. The intriguing aspect of this war is that it involved various countries among them being Portugal, Germany, Belgium and France. The paper will analyze what led to World War I in light of forces of imperialism, nationalism and militarism. It will also culminate in a comprehensive analysis on events that drew United States to World War I. The analysis will touch on the role of ethnicity in Americas neutrality, Americas contribution to the war and the role of President Woodrow Wilson during and after the war.
How Forces of Imperialism, Nationalism and Militarism led to World War I
Imperialism had a key role in increasing tension towards World War I as countries were increasing their wealth and power by claiming other territories. This heightened the competition and desire for empires thus increasing confrontation among countries. The key players engaging in imperialism were Germany, Russia, United States and Britain. Imperialism was perpetrated with an objective of extending economic growth, establishing international presence and gaining political control. The Austro-Hungarian Ultimatum to Serbia is an apt example of imperialism. Imperialism led to World War I because it was a precursor to build-up conflict and frustrations. The conflict became intense as various industrialist movements strived to grow thus creating animosity between countries.
Nationalism and patriotism has been a major cause of World War I because it led to competition among European Nations. The concept of Nationalism stipulates that citizens owe the greatest loyalty to their Nation because it shares a common culture. However, the dynamics of Nationalism increases rivalry due to the competition of markets and materials. In fact, this explains why Slavic peoples in Bosnia wanted to be associated with Serbia and not Austria Hungary. Slavic nationalism was the strongest in Serbia. Similarly, British nationalism stemmed from its peace and prosperity as well as its naval strength. German nationalism can be attributed to the German imperial expansion. The Nationalist rhetoric was used to assure citizens that their country would emerge victorious in the event of a war eruption.
Nationalism also led to Pan-Slavism and united all the Slavic people. In fact, Pan-Slavism is attributable to the rise of Romantic nationalism which was premised on the notion of ethnicity as a pillar of national identity. The movement helped in spreading national consciousness among the Slavs. With time, Pan-Slavism developed and led to the first Pan-Slavic Congress that had a significant impact in influencing the revolution in Paris. Pan-Slavism also led to World-War 1 because it was the impetus behind the London Treaty of 1915 as well as the Serbian Army and Yugoslav legions. The turn off events explains why Russia had to support its fellow slavs during the July crisis of 1914. Similarly, nationalism in German-speaking states stemmed from the Franco-Prussian that made Germany to be more aggressive. In this regard, the alliance system contributed to the outbreak of the war because Germany was extending its ambitions which made it come into conflicts with other European powers.
Militarism also contributed to World War I and was a major force in several European unions. It revolves around laying emphasis on military power for national defense as well as the protection of colonial interests. The increase in militarism helped in pushing the countries that were involved in the war and instigated the arms race. Countries were always in the quest of having the best navy and army. For instance, Germany made a race with Britain in their quest to have a larger navy. Other countries in the arms race were Russia and France. Governments and leaders who were unable to maintain armies or navies were considered weak.
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Events that Drew the United States into World War I
America was neutral between 1914-1917 because it had a long running theme that revolved around entangling alliances. Additionally, United States was not a signatory to the agreements that became a source of conflict among the European powers. Besides, President Woodrow Wilson had an ultimate goal of being an external mediator between the two sides and this required objectivity. Moreover, America was also neutral as it protected shipping and trading rights as this would enable to trade to both sides of the conflicting nations. Ethnicity also played a key role in Americas neutrality because America had a tradition of avoiding European conflicts. In fact, United States and Great Britain shared substantial cultural similarities and roots.
United States wanted to stay neutral during World War 1 but this proved impossible. Their involvement can be attributed to Germanys refusal to stop sinking U.S. ships and trying to compel Mexico to declare war on America. However, President Woodrow Wilson came up with Sussex pledge where the German government was to agree to refrain from attacking passenger ships. In February and March 1917, Germany resorted to submerging American submarines and violating the Sussex pledge and this drew United States into World War 1. The war was declared on December 7, 1917. Americas contribution to the war effort included troops, ammunition as well as food to the allied nations. America also floated loans to finance the purchase of the allies as currency reserves were running out. The involvement of American troops was a relief to the allies. Moreover, it forced the Germans back due to the tactics and weapons of the American troops and there signs of the war coming to an end. The war ended when Germany signed an armistice with its allies.
The Treaty of Versailles was defeated as a result of inflexibility that was exhibited by President Woodrow Wilson. Moreover, the Treaty sparked issues that resulted in World War II and did little to shape long-term peace. The Treaty had an effect of proposing the League of Nations which was opposed by Henry Cabot Lodge. The effect of this is that it required America to respect the territorial integrity of member states. In fact, President Woodrow Wilson proposed the League of Nations which ensured that war never broke out again thus bringing stability to the world. However, President Wilson was unsuccessful in convincing United States to be part of the League of Nations. This was a big blow because to the prestige of the League given that America was the most powerful Nation.
Militarism, imperialism and nationalism were all intrinsically connected and all led to World War I. Similarly, nationalism also paved way for Pan-Slavism which revolved around the unity among Slavic people. Pan-Slavism also played a role in contributing to the outbreak of the war. Even though United States was initially neutral, it was compelled to join the war after their water vessels were submerged by the Germans. The involvement of United States in World War I played a major role in the defeat of Germany. The war greatly affected the social, economic and political structures of America. However, the involvement of Americans was useful in bringing the war to end after the Germans surrendered.