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Germany - Essay Example

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Woodrow Wilson’s campaign slogan, however, was almost certainly somewhat a lie – though he was a peace loving man (and won the Nobel peace prize because of it) he also thought the world could be better served by the…
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Question One: America declared war on Germany for a number of reasons. Woodrow Wilson’s campaign slogan, however, was almost certainly somewhat a lie – though he was a peace loving man (and won the Nobel peace prize because of it) he also thought the world could be better served by the United States entering the war.
To fully understand why the United States entered the First World War, it is important to understand Woodrow Wilson’s goals. He abhorred war, but was a practical man. He knew, as the war progressed, that Europe was being completely decimated and would have to be wildly re-structured because of the destruction at the war – and the fact that each side blamed the other for starting it. So while in some ways he did not want to enter the war, being a pacifist at heart, Wilson knew that the outcome of the war could have drastic impacts on the way the world worked after it, and these impacts would be decided upon solely by the victors. Knowing all this, Wilson wanted to have a seat at the victor’s table, in order to be a part of determining the new world order. His championing of the League of Nations following the First World War shows what kind of world order he imagined, and he perhaps thought that, through going to war this one time, he could help prevent future conflicts from ever occurring again. He was sadly mistaken, obviously, both because of the harsh reparations demanded by the allies and because o the US government’s unwillingness to take part in the League, but his aspirations were high all the same.
So while the Zimmerman telegram was certainly inflammatory, there are definitely ways in which would could argue that it was used more as a pretext to enter the war than being the sole cause of the US’s entrance – Wilson had a lot to gain in going to war for the Victorious side, and so probably would have taken much less inflammatory bait had it been presented.
Question 2:
It is impossible to know for certain how the world would have turned out had the United States never entered the war: it is even hard to know which side would have won, or if victory ever would have happened in any kind of real way. I would argue that without US intervention, neither side would really have been able to win the war, and a much less harsh peace process would probably have had to occur, which would have led to better consequences.
The defining feature of much of the First World War was a terrible stale-mate – lines of trenches were established, and because defensive technology was, for this brief time period, so much more effective than offensive technology, it was hard for any side to win an advantage. Germany and its allies were well balanced against the Allies, and neither side could really make any significant advances. The United State’s entrance to the war on the side of the allies, however, was a game changer. Not so much because it made a huge difference in the tactics – the trenches were still hard to claim – but because it made victory for Germany a near impossibility. There would be no way to starve out England with American convoys supporting it, and it would be impossible to win a war of attrition against such a large and populous country which was completely unscarred by the war so far. So Germany was forced to surrender, when if America had not entered the war Germany probably could have continued to drive a stale-mate until both sides grew weary of the war effort and eventually had to reach a settlement. America’s entrance into the war, however, caused an Allied victory, and along with that an incredibly harsh set of restrictions and reparations on Germany. These harsh victory terms were a major part of the rise of the Nazis and the Second World War. So if America had never entered, and the war had grinded down naturally, it might have prevented the horrible tragedies of the Third Reich and the Holocaust. Read More
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