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.
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