USA in the 1 World War

When war began in 1914 U.S.A. wanted to stay neutral and not get involved in what they viewed as a European conflict. Though the US had been an important supplier to Britain and other Allied powers

Later, in 1917 U.S.A did enter into World War 1 because of several events that occurred.

One of these events was in 1915 when the American’s boat Lusitania sank and over 120 people were killed. Then the Sussex was sunk by a German U-boat. After this the American president,Teddy Roosevelt, wanted revenge.

The other one was In January 1917, when Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare. The German Foreign minister, in the Zimmermann Telegram, told Mexico that U.S. entry was likely once unrestricted submarine warfare began, and invited Mexico to join the war as Germany’s ally against the United States. In return, the Germans would send Mexico money and help it recover the territories of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona that Mexico lost during the Mexican-American War 70 years earlier. British intelligence intercepted the telegram and passed the information on to Washington. Wilson released the Zimmerman note to the public and Americans saw it as a cause for war.

At first Wilson tried to maintain neutrality while fighting off the submarines by arming American merchant ships with guns powerful enough to sink German submarines on the surface (but useless when the U-boats were under water). After submarines sank seven U.S. merchant ships Wilson went to Congress calling for a declaration of war on Germany, which Congress voted on 6 April 1917.
To some people this was a natural progression as it was thought that the U.S.A. were backing up Britain and that they weren’t neutral in any case. Others say that as German threatened to conquer Britain, the U.S.A wanted to help out so that was another involvement in the war.
When the United States joined the war this mean

  • more ships
  • troops
  • Supplies etc.
  • Opened up the scene of even greater economic and business support to the run down similar nations.


Army and Navy

The United States was never formally a member of the Allies but became a self-styled “Associated Power”. The United States had a small army, but, after the passage of the Selective Service Act, it drafted 2.8 million menand by summer 1918 was sending 10,000 fresh soldiers to France every day. In 1917, the U.S. Congress gave U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans when they were drafted to participate in World War I, as part of the Jones Act. Germany had miscalculated, believing it would be many more months before they would arrive and that the arrival could be stopped by U-boats.

The United States Navy sent a battleship group to Scapa Flow to join with the British Grand Fleet, destroyers to Queenstown, Ireland and submarines to help guard convoys. Several regiments of U.S. Marines were also dispatched to France. The British and French wanted U.S. units used to reinforce their troops already on the battle lines and not waste scarce shipping on bringing over supplies. The U.S. rejected the first proposition and accepted the second. General John J. Pershing, American Expeditionary Force (AEF) commander, refused to break up U.S. units to be used as reinforcements for British Empire and French units. As an exception, he did allow African-American combat regiments to be used in French divisions. The Harlem Hellfighters fought as part of the French 16th Division, earning a unit Croix de Guerre for their actions at Chateau-Thierry, Belleau Wood, and Sechault. AEF doctrine called for the use of frontal assaults, which had long since been discarded by British Empire and French commanders because of the large loss of life.

Impact of US forces on the war

On the battlefields of France in spring 1918, the fresh American troops were enthusiastically welcomed by the war-weary Allied armies in the summer of 1918. They arrived at the rate of 10,000 a day, at a time that the Germans were unable to replace their losses. After the Allies turned back the powerful final German offensive (Spring Offensive), the Americans played a central role in the Allied final offensive (Hundred Days Offensive). Victory over Germany was achieved on November 11, 1918 after German morale had collapsed on both the Western and Home Fronts