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World War 1

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Dustin Keith Moore

History 356

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World War One lasted from 1914 until 1918 and was coined the "Great War" and the "War to End all Wars." Following the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand in 1914, the Great War saw the first uses of a Balance of Power system were countries politically aligned themselves with each other strategically. The "Great War" established the Allied and Central powers. The Allies consisted of the United States, France, Britain, and Italy while the Central powers led by Germany consisted of Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria. World War One was extremely bloody because of trench warfare, which was a new strategic tactic deployed by militaries in Europe. The Allies constructed trenches from the North Sea south to the boarder of Switzerland. Until the second Great War, World War 1 saw the greatest use of soldiers in the field. The use of submarines, aircraft, and technologically advanced artillery increased the death toll during this period of war. Genocide and famine affected both the Allies and the Central powers.

Countries struggled economically to increase production of arms and supply their soldiers with foodstuffs. The United States government had taken an isolationist approach to over seas affairs prior to World War 1. Fearing communist Germany and the Central powers imperialistic motives, the United States entered the Great War. World War 1 marked a turning point in the role of the U.S government both domestically and abroad.

Until 1917 the United States acted as a politically isolated country under the Monroe doctrine. This doctrine provided that the United States would stay neutral in any wars fought in Europe, while if any European countries presented conflict in the Americas, the U.S would intervene. Woodrow Wilson followed Monroe and declared absolute neutrality. During the first three years of the Great War, Germany had practiced unrestricted submarine warfare. Their submarines would attack any and all ships in the Atlantic and other waterways. The United States under Woodrow Wilson urged Germany to halt this tactic because U.S trade ships were being sunk. If the United States had overlooked Germany's attack on American trade ships, our economy would have been greatly affected. Wilson urged Congress to declare war on Germany and Austria-Hungary. The U.S sent battleships and man power to France and Britain. We also sold the Allied powers artillery. This marked the beginning of the United States foreign policy that promotes democracy over communism.

Following the United States late entry into the Great War, President Wilson sought to protect and liberate previously oppressed countries. Wilson aimed at reconstructing Europe. The role of our government at this point shifted from neutral to active in policing the world and promoting democracy. Wilson's 14 points foreshadowed the United States government's new role abroad. Freedom of the seas was one of Wilson's main points. He stated that all countries must have the freedom to travel the oceans during peace and war unless an international agreement was made. This point expressed the United States new found interest in International participation between countries. The U.S government also called for disarmament of Germany. Basically Germany would stop production of weapons. The United States would now have to watch Germany and act like a big brother. Wilson also stressed sovereignty and self-determination. Wilson called for Russia and Germany to evacuate lands they conquered during the Great War and allow the citizens of those countries to elect their own leaders. By promoting political independence, Wilson was promoting Democracy.

Because relationships between the Allied powers and Central powers developed and ideas within Wilson's 14 points, the United States government had a new role in policing the world following World War 1. The League of Nations was a by-product of Wilson's 14 points. Although the United States never joined, they directly influenced the decisions the League made. The League of Nations main objective was to keep the world peaceful through negotiations and treaties rather then war. The League believed in Collective Security which means that conflict should be met by all members of the league.

The role of the United States government drastically shifted domestically during war period. The United States government took complete control and mobilized its economy. The first objective of the U.S government was to increase the size of their military. The government began drafting civilians, which eventually increased the size of its military to five million soldiers.

The role of the U.S government in drafting its military directly caused a shift in the economy. Unemployment dropped drastically because of the need for war supplies. Real wages also increased because there were ample job opportunities and the demand for goods produced was so high. The government also passed the War Revenue Act, which introduced new excise and luxury taxes. President Wilson also used government agencies to manage and direct domestic businesses to increase war production. Because of this action, the United States government gained more power domestically.

Herbert Hoover under Wilson created the Food Administration in 1917. The aim of the Food Administration was to stimulate agricultural production so that there were enough foodstuffs for civilians and the military. This administration set high-low prices for agricultural products in order to stimulate the market. Hoover also wanted to curtail Americans from eating valuable foods, such as meats so that the military could be fed.

During the Great War, transporting goods in the United States was very important for efficiency and cost. Wilson's administration also created the Railroad Administration, which increased the role of the government and helped relieve congestion of the railways. The government took full control of the railroads for 26 months under William Mcadoo. Along with the Food and Railroad Administrations came the War Board all under President Wilson. These organizations all increased the government's power domestically.

World War One marked a turning point in American history through the role of the United States government abroad and domestically. Abroad, the U.S took on the role of world policing and collective security. A Balance of Power system was set up with the United States taking control of the Allied powers by supplying needed goods and military might to France and Britain. The United States established its role on a global scale. Our foreign affairs aimed at establishing sovereign states that

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