Which had the greater effect on the course of the war, the withdrawal of Russia or the entry of the USA?

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Which had the greater effect on the course of the war, the withdrawal of Russia or the entry of the USA?


    On the 11th of November 1918 at 11o’clock the armistice to cease war was signed at Versailles. But what brought around the agreement to end the war, what caused it? In years since, historians argue two main points amongst other small issues of how the Great War ended. The Great War as it was named was the war to end all wars, in hindsight we now see that there was a Second World War and thus the Great War becomes the First World War. The main points which historians are split over are; was it the USA’s entry or the withdrawal of the USSR that brought around the end of the war? There are other issues that historians and the general public discuss and argue over, the British blockade and the tank are two of those. I will be discussing and evaluating these factors.

    In April 1917 the USA entered the war, after a length of time officially staying out of the war. The USA had not been involved in the war that they called senseless and was none of their own making. The Americans didn’t see why American husbands and sons should die in a war that was petty squabbling. However the Americans favoured the allies and sold war ammunition and contributed to the allies in ways other than fighting. Although America was not in the war it joined on the 6th April 1917. Looking back with hindsight we can see that this time was very near to the end of the war. Thus the reason so many people ask themselves if America actually had an influence over the end of the war.

     Many reasons enticed the Americans to join the war against the Triple Alliance. Belgian atrocities had shocked the Americans. Belgian women had said to be molested and their children maimed, this stirred and put the American public opinion of the Germans into disarray. In January 1917 Hitler agreed to the free and ruthless use of unidentifiable U-boats against any ship found near British or French waters. It was a large gamble and in the end was one of the reasons that the USA entered the Second World War. The Germans had sunk a passenger ship the Lusitania, by German U-boat and over 100 Americans died. The execution of Edith Cavell, a British nurse who helped wounded allies to escape was a deeply concerning issue with the Americans and they joined in the appeal to save her life but to no avail. These events helped to confirm that the stories about German brutality were true. The final straw to the entry of the USA in the war was the Zimmerman telegram. Intercepted by British forces the Zimmerman telegram showed an apparent German alliance with Mexico suggesting that the Germans would later help the Mexicans claim American land back. With the anti-German mood there was nothing else to do but enter the war.

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The entrance of America into the war boosted the moral of the Triple Entente as the world’s most powerful country had entered the Great War. America’s presence was not felt though until June 1918, a full year and 2 months after declaring war on the Triple Alliance. In hindsight we see that the war was now drawing to an end, did the Americans make a difference? Did they speed it along, or do nothing to help? I believe they did make a difference although I believe their entrance only caused the Germans to panic and the British moral to be ...

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