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Compare and Contrast Us Involvement If World Wars I & II

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Hannah Lemoine

History 201


5 May 2017


        The World Wars are the largest military conflicts in history. Alliances of many groups of countries were formed during these times. World Wars I and II were both considered to be of European origin. With this in mind, the thought of the United States’ involvement in each war was not entertained. Public opinion was a great factor of influence on whether or not enter. However, after remaining isolated for a period, the US realized that involvement was necessary, so they entered the wars after each began. As a conclusion to both, the United States resulted in bigger power, eventually becoming a super power. Both cases were molded by German aggression, though the United States entered World War II because of Japanese actions. These factors determined the involvement.

        World War I began on July 28, 1914, believed to be because of the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The United States remained isolated until President Woodrow Wilson asked for declaration of war in April of 1917. The deciding factor for United States’ involvement was a combination of two factors. Germany decided to recommence submarine warfare, which sunk American merchant ships. The Germans also claimed the idea of Mexico’s alliance, which was received by the British through the Zimmerman telegraph. These actions were the catalysts for entering World War I. Trench warfare was a majority of the fighting. Taxes paid for half of the $33 billion war cost. War bonds funded the rest. The number of American losses was far lesser than that of other countries; 48,000 were killed in battle and 56,000 died because of disease. This war was a test of human aptitude.

        World War II began on September 1, 1939, because of German actions. Hitler’s attack on Poland began the war. Although the war had already began, the United States did not become involved until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. About 16 million Americans served in World War II. More technological advancements had become available during this time, so this lead to more advanced equipment. Nuclear weapons and bombs were widely used throughout this war. The United States, part of the Allies, fought the Axis Powers, which consisted of Germany, Italy, and Japan. The Allies wanted to eradicate fascism and the aggression of the Nazi party. Though the statistics vary, the number of American deaths during World War II averages to 417,000.



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