The Americans lost their lives when German submarine warfare declared the “sinking of ships tradition”. The most hurting was the attack on May 7, 1915 against Lusitanian ship when 128 Americans perished. This broke the relationship between the Americans and Germans. One of the factors that led to joining in this war was President Wilson’s idealism. He persuaded the congress to declare war on Germany . He argued that western civilization could be destroyed or hampered thus his announcement “war to end wars” This was taken to mean that his intention was to create a ground for peace building and prevention of catastrophic future wars.
According to Wilson, the way out to resolving these disputes could only be attributed to issues like ,general association by nations that would form international associations of nations to preach peace for example the league of nations, The Turkish People of Ottoman empire were to become a sovereign. He also looked forward to seeing integrity being granted to Romania, Montenegro, Serbia and Balkan states at the same time Serbia to be given the freedom to use the Adriatic Sea. He wanted the freedom to the seas and free trade. The Italian borders were to be redrawn on lines of nationality.
Wilson wanted the abolishment of secret treaties . Another key factor for joining the war was the economic interests. As these conflicts went on, the Americans were eying on it. It was becoming clear that the British-French alliance was at the verge of loosing the war to the Germans. Their anxiety was attributed to the fact that the Americans were fully involved in financing them. As observed earlier, the turning point for waging war on the Germans was when they declared the “unrestricted warfare on submarines” in January 1917. The trading business ties between the Americans and other central powers had a negative impact.
It was at this point that Americans declared war but there was nothing to do with naval policy as perceived to be. It was about the safe guarding of their economic investment and trade rather than protecting the poor Americans. In another perspective, due to Americans neutral stand, their businessmen were in a position to trade with both sides and got large profits. They were trading with both the Germans and other super powers like the British and French. (Vincent Joseph 2003) As the war went on and continued the private European business and the British government and its allies bought more and more American weapons and non-military goods.
To pay for them, they had to borrow money from American financiers since they had exhausted their resources. This made them earn lots of wealth. Before the World War 1, majority of the American exports went overseas in foreign ships. Unfortunatery when British entered into war, the British navy blocked German ships from conducting and engaging in international trade. The German Navy also halted the British and allied from shipping. This resulted to decrease in the number of ships available for freight and consequently increase in cost of shipping goods.
This made American exporters find it difficult to conduct their business as usual . They reiterated by joining the war with an aim of ending this stalemate. (Allan R Millet2001) America was also influenced to join the war against the Germans by pressure from domestic propaganda campaigns. This was executed by a committee on public information. These propagandas were being conducted by many government committee community leaders who were giving pro-war speeches in many public gatherings. There were private and government vigilante groups that were involved like; the American Protective League.
There was a general harassment and repression on those opposed to Americans joining the war. There were also other forms and means of propagating propaganda and among them were; large print posters, photos, newsreels, magazines and newspapers among other methods. Americans were also influenced to join in the war due to the issue of German Naval policy. In 1917 Germany returned to the policy of unrestricted warfare on submarine. This policy was first introduced in 1915. This naval policy declared the area in the British Isles a war zone.
This meant that the ships trading along these waters and those of neutral states would be attacked by the naval. There were chains of attacks on ships that led to the sinking of the British ship,Lusitania by a German U_boat. Despite the fact that this ship was carrying military equipment and was rather meant for passengers only did not hider the then president of America Woodrow Wilson to declare war on Germany in 1917(Allan R Millet ,2001) In conclusion, the German Naval policy stipulated that, whenever an American ship was found on the Atlantic Ocean and be suspected to be providing military equipment to the British would be destroyed.
The economic interest of the American was to open the trade-links especially in Europe. However, this could not happen because the German U-boats were destroying ships including the Lusitanian which made America join the war. Work cited Allan R Millet, Military effectiveness in First World War, Oxford University Press. (2001) Albert Edward, McKinley World War I McKinley Publishers, London (2002) Vincent Joseph, A concise History of World War I, Oxford University Press, London, (2003).