Mykhailo Kirsenko, Dr. habil. (history), Professor, National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”

Tetiana Balabushevych, Ph.D. (history), Associate Professor, National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy


On the anniversary of the USA entrance to the WWI, let us remind its circumstances. Back in the 19th century, isolationism dominated in the USA despite the expansion іn the Pacific and Caribean basins. For moral reasons, President Wilson preferred to keep neutral about Europe though his sympathies were on the side of Britain. The public opinion included interventionists (Wall Street, Republicans, and Preparedness movement) and pacifists (Democrats, Churches, labour leaders, feminists). The Irish were loyal to the USA but hostile to England after the Easter Uprising.

America was indignant about German atrocities committed to the civilians in occupied areas. The British naval blockade made impossible any trade with the Central Powers, while supplying the Entente with weapons proved profitable, transforming the USA into the World creditor. The conter-intelligence revealed German espionage, sabotage, destruction of depots by explosions, and torpedoing passenger ships. The February revolution in Russia had overthrown autocracy and removed moral obstacle to the USA joining Britain and her Allies at the crucial moment.

The renewal of unlimited submarine warfare by Germans and their provocative proposal to Mexico to attack the USA in order to reconquer territories lost in the 19th century persuaded the Congress to declare war on the Central Powers with a slogan to end all wars. Wilson offered his Fourteen Points in an attempt to abolish secret diplomacy, to safeguard security, and to establish morality in international affairs. Unfortunately, the Paris Peace Conference proved unable to justify and fulfill noble expectations, yet this experience has to be studied.


USA, Germany, World War I, Entente, neutrality, Navy, espionage, Fourteen Points, armistice.

Full text


1. LINK, A. S. (1972). Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era, 1910–1917. New York: Harper & Row.
2. MAY, E. (1959) The World War and American Isolation, 1914-1917. Cambridge: Harward University Press; COOPER, J.M. (2009). Woodrow Wilson: A Biography. New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group; FERREL, R. (1986) Woodrow Wilson and World War I, 1917-1921. New York: Harper and Row Publishers; ZIEGER, R. (2000) America’s Great War: World War I and the American Experience. Boston: Rowman & Littlefield; FLOYD, М. (2013); Abandoning American Neutrality: Woodrow Wilson and the Beginning of the Great War, August 1914-December 1915; New York: Palgrave Macmillan; KNOCK, T. (1992) To End All Wars: Woodrow Wilson and the Quest for a New World Order New York: Oxford University Press; TUCKER, R. (2007) Woodrow Wilson and the Great War: Reconsidering America’s Neutrality, 1914–1917. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press.
3. CHERNY, R. (1994) A righteous cause: the life of William Jennings Bryan. Norman: University of Oclahoma Press.
4. OSBORNE, E. (2004), Britain’s economic blockade of Germany, 1914–1919. London: Routledge.
5. HORNE, J.; KRAMER, A. (2001). German Atrocities, 1914: A History of Denial. New Haven: Yale University Press.
6. SEYMOUR, C. (ed.) (1926) The intimate Papers of Colonel House, Vol. 1. 1912-1915. Vol 1. Boston – New York: Houghton Mifflin Company; SEYMOUR, C. (ed.) (1928), The intimate papers of Colonel House: Vol 2. Boston – New York: Houghton Mifflin Company; HODGSON, G. (2006). Woodrow Wilson’s Right Hand: The Life of Colonel Edward M. House. New Heaven: Yale University Press.
7. O’TOOLE, P. (2005) When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt after the White House. New York: Simon & Schuster.
8. CLIFFORD, J. (1972) Citizen Soldiers: The Plattsburgh Training Camp Movement, 1913– 1920. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky.
9. McCALLUM, J. (2006) Leonard Wood: Rough Rider, Surgeon, Architect of American Imperialism. New York University Press.
10. PETERSON, H. (1968) Propaganda for war: The campaign against American neutrality, 1914–1917. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press.
11. FINNEGAN, J. (1975) Against the Specter of a Dragon: The Campaign for American Military Preparedness, 1914–1917. Westport: Greenwood.
12. KRAFT, B. (1978) The peace ship: Henry Ford’s pacifist adventure in the First World War. New York: Macmillan.
13. FLOYD, M. (2013) Abandoning American Neutrality: Woodrow Wilson and the Beginning of the Great War, August 1914-December 1915. New York: Pakgrave Macmillan.
14. EARLY, F. (1997) A World without War: How U.S. Feminists and Pacifists Resisted World War I. Syracuse University Press; DAVIS, A. American Heroine: The Life and Legend of Jane Addams. Oxford University.
15. CRAIG, L. (2013). Josephus Daniels: His Life and Times. U. North Carolina Press.
16. BEAVER, D. (1966) Newton D. Baker and the American War Effort, 1917-1919. University of Nebraska Press.
17. WITCOVER, J. (1989) Sabotage at Black Tom: Imperial Germany’s Secret War in America. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.
18. PANAYI P. (1992) Minorities in Wartime: National and Racial Groupings in Europe, North America, and Australia During the Two World Wars. Oxford: Berg.
19. LUEBKE, F. (1974) Bonds of Loyalty: German-Americans and World War I. Dekalb: Northern Illinois University Press; KAZAL, R. (2004) Becoming Old Stock: The Paradox of GermanAmerican Identity. Princeton University Press.
20. CAMPBELL, M. (2008) Ireland’s New Worlds. University of Visconsin Press; O’GRADY, J. (1967). The Immigrants’ Influence on Wilson’s Peace Policies. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press.
21. PIPER, J. (1985) The American Churches in World War I. Journal of the American Academy of Religion. Vol. XXXVIII, Issue 2, р. 147–155; APPELBAUM, P. (2009) Kingdom to Commune: Protestant Pacifist Culture between World War I and the Vietnam Era. The Univeersity of North Carolina Press; GAMBLE, R. (2003). The War for Righteousness: Progressive Christianity, the Great War, and the Rise of the Messianic Nation. Wilmington: ISI Books.
22. BOGHARDT, T. (2012) The Zimmermann Telegram: Intelligence, Diplomacy, and America’s Entry into World War. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
23. CARLISLE, R. (2010) Sovereignty at Sea: U.S. Merchant Ships and American Entry into World War I. Gaineswville: University Press of Florida.
24. COFFMAN, E. (1998) The War to End All Wars: The American Military Experience in World War I. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky; KNOCK, т. (1995). To End All Wars: Woodrow Wilson and the Quest for a New World Order. Princeton University Press.
25. DOENECKE, J. (2011) Nothing Less Than War: A New History of America’s Entry into World War I. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press.
26. NASH, G. (1996) The Life of Herbert Hoover: Master of Emergencies, 1917-1918. New York: W.W.Norton and Company.
27. McDONALD, F. (2004). Insull: The Rise and Fall of a Billionaire Utility Tycoon. Washington: Beard Books.
28. VAUGHN, S. (1980) Holding Fast the Inner Lines: Democracy, Nationalism, and the Committee on Public Information. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.
29. MECHLING, J. (2004) On My Honor: Boy Scouts and the Making of American Youth. University of Chicago Press.
30. GRUBBS, F. (1968) The Struggle for Labor Loyalty: Gompers, the A. F. of L., and the Pacifists, 1917–1920. Durham: Duke University Press.
31. LIPSET, S., MARKS, G. (2001) It didn’t happen here: why socialism failed in the United States. New York: W.W.Norton and Company; McCARTIN, J. A. (1998) Labor’s Great War: The Struggle for Industrial Democracy and the Origins of Modern American Labor Relations, 1912–1921. The University of North Carolina Press.
32. SZAJKOWSKI, Z. (1973) Jews, Wars, and Communism. Vol. I: The Attitude of American Jews to World War I, the Russian Revolutions of 1917, and Communism (1914–1945). New York: KTAV; STERBA, C. (2003) Good Americans: Italian and Jewish Immigrants during the First World War. Oxford University Press; FEINGOLD, H. (2007). “Silent no more”: Saving the Jews of Russia, the American Jewish Effort, 1967-1989. Syracuse UP.
33. His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of that object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
34. ESPOSITO, D. (1996) The Legacy of Woodrow Wilson: American War Aims in World War I. Westport: Praeger; KENNEDY, R. (2009), The Will to Believe: Woodrow Wilson, World War I, and America’s Strategy for Peace and Security. Kent State University Press; KAZIN, M. (2017) War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918. New York: Siman & Schuster.
35. HOWARD, A. (ed.) Foreign Relations of the United States, 1917–1972, Public Diplomacy, World War I (2014). Documents 1-44. United States Government Printing Office. Washington.