What Was The Impact Of World War I On America?

Authors Avatar

What Was The Impact Of World War I On America?

World War I, from 1914 to 1918, began as a local European war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia on July 28 1914; and was soon transformed into a European war against Russia on August 1 1914.  Eventually, it became a global war involving 32 nations. Twenty-eight of these nations, known as the Allies included Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, and the United States.  The opposition (known as the coalition or Central Powers), consisted of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria.

The causes of World War I were the intense nationalism that infused Europe throughout the 19th Century and into the early 20th century.  The political and economic rivalry among the nations, and the establishment and maintenance in Europe after 1871 contributed to the conflict.

When World War I broke out, Woodrow Wilson, the American President at the time, declared America neutral – which many Americans agreed with, despite the vast number of anti-British and pro-German views.  As America didn’t have an ‘individual’ identity, it would have been very difficult for the Government to support one side over another without causing a conflict in society.  Although, America was neutral, they sent money, munitions and food supplies to Britain and France.  It was economically and financially rewarding for America to remain out of the War, as munitions and food were bought from them – improving their economy.

The United States made a formal declaration of war on April 6 1917 against Germany.  Many men in the United States volunteered for the military service soon after this declaration of war.  America chose to join the War for a number of reasons; for example, due to the number of U-boat attacks on Atlantic shipping, public opinion in America turned against Germany.  Also, the death of 128 Americans by the sinking of the Lusitania passenger liner on 7 May 1915, made Americans feel hostile to Germany.  War may have arisen also because Wilson’s sympathy lay with Britain and a German victory would have been very damaging financially.  By 1917, $2 billion from the USA had been leant to the Allies and American factories were dependant on purchases of war equipment, so America was biased towards supporting the Allies.  

Join now!

Although the majority of Americana did support War, not all did and there was still opposition.  

The War forced many people to go and fight (the first United States troops arrived in France on June 27 1917), whilst others, namely women, went to work in large factories producing ammunition and other war related goods.  Typical day-to-day life was put on hold for the War and it overtook the lives of all completely.  Children were left without their fathers, as most went to fight abroad, whilst mothers were left without their husbands.  This caused grief and sadness for ...

This is a preview of the whole essay