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Woodrow Wilson - Essay Example

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While Woodrow Wilson had been reelected using the campaign slogan ‘I kept us out of the war,’ it’s clear that even during this period there were a number of instances occurring that would…
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Woodrow Wilson There were a number of factors that contributed to America declaring war on Germany. While Woodrow Wilson had been reelected using the campaign slogan ‘I kept us out of the war,’ it’s clear that even during this period there were a number of instances occurring that would later lead to United States involvement. Despite declaring neutrality, Germany had increasingly engaged United States passenger ships and ships delivering supplies to Europe. In 1915, German submarines sank the RMS Lusitania, a United States passenger ship, without warning. This created substantial public unrest and shifted public opinion towards entering the war. While this ship is perhaps the most historically significant, German submarines demonstrated a history of interference with United States ships. While the two countries reached a post-1915 treaty, Germany ultimately decided to break this treaty in 1917, clearing the way for future aggressive actions, including the sinking of five American ships. In addition to German interference with American neutrality, the Zimmerman telegram constituted a major contributing factor for United States involvement. This telegram was sent between Germany and Mexico, intercepted by British intelligence and interpreted. The telegram indicated that if Mexico joined the war on Germany’s side, in victory they would be award the lost territories of Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico.
It seems that such a telegram was a valid reason for entering the war. While it would be naïve to assume that this telegram was a primary reason for the United States involvement, such a telegram clearly demonstrated to the United States public that German aggression extended beyond involvement in Europe but was increasingly advancing to their backyard. Still, it’s clear that United States involvement was inevitability after Germany broke neutrality, such that the Zimmerman telegram was only a pretext. Considering prominent theorists, it’s clear that America had in large part already broken neutrality. Prior to declaring war on Germany the United States had actively contributed to the war effort through supplying the Britain with military supplies and funding. As such, it’s clear that the United States involvement in World War I was not only inevitable recurrent to the Zimmerman telegram, but to an extent had already occurred.
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Had the United States refrained from entering World War I it’s highly possible history would be greatly altered. The United States involvement ensured that German aggression would be stopped and the general democratic order restored. If Germany had won the war it’s believed Europe would have experienced a significant reduction of personal freedoms. German values of imperialism, militarism, and the suppression of minorities would have emerged. While inimical to American values, the predominance of these German social trends throughout Europe would also have created a political climate where future warfare, this time involving the United States, would have been inevitable. Still, another concern was growing aggression from Mexico. If the United States had not entered the war it’s possible that they would have faced increasingly aggression from a Mexico supported by Germany funding and military contributions. Read More
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