In 1914, all of Europe was thrown into war, while Woodrow Wilson, President of America, decided to take a stand. He took a neutral stand point along with his fellow Americans. The basic response of the American President was mainly influenced with the aspect that the American opinion about the war was mixed at that point of time and there were no eminent threats of America from the war due to geographical reasons.
The speaker Jennifer Keene (2005) has really emphasized on America’s path to the war, and how the stance of America changed and ultimately it became a clash between America and Germany. Initially America had alienated itself from the war, both economically and militarily and they also banned private loans to different allocations at that point of time. But the decision could not be prolonged as there were indications of a recession in the year 1915 and it were literally then the War started to come into the American shores. At that point of time both Britain and Germany were trying hard to disrupt the trade links of both the countries and USA hoped to break into the situation at the Western front.
Stanbridge (2002) noted that Britain at that time had blocked the Northern Sea and American ships were not being able to continue trades with Germany, hence the American capitalists were only trading with Britain and other allied countries. It prompted Germany to try to disrupt all the trade links between America and Britain and they started to use their U-boats successfully. Wilson wanted that Germany should follow certain guidelines in the aspect of submarine warfare. The speaker said that Wilson said that it was important for Germany to follow the international rules, which is while attacking a ship they would have to make them known to the enemy and give the crew adequate time to evacuate the ship and only after that they could sink the cargo of the ship.
However, according to Rath (2002), at that point of time the U-boats were not as strong at it later became, they were fragile vessels and if they initially gave away their presence, it was easy for the ships to fire upon these U-boats and sink them into water. So the talks of Wilson did not work. At 1915, Lusitania, a British passenger ship was sunk near the coast of Ireland. In the tragedy, one hundred and twenty eight Americans lost their lives. Here Germany emphasized a fact that the ship was carrying ammunitions and it was not really good to put women and children in front of these ammunitions. It was the cue for Wilson to stand away from his idea of neutrality. Historically this was the event that prompted America into the War and ultimately confronted Germany in the World War I.
The speaker, Jennifer Keene (2005) pointed out that the war was not only about clearing the barriers of trading only; it was about the rights of neutrals. The neutrals, in the time of war can go any where they want or trade with any one they wish. But Germany never respected those aspects and hence the sinking of Lusitania happened. After that Germany involved into a number of pledges and they said that they would not be part of any controversial sinking, they said that they would not attack any other merchant or passenger ships. The situation got changed in 1917, when Germany decided to go for unconditional submarine warfare. It was the final cause of the confrontation between USA and Germany. Here the speaker also mentioned the importance of the ‘Zimmerman Telegram’ which was intercepted by the British forces. Wilson got hold of it and he understood that their national honor was at stake as Germany had decided to violate the national rights in the case. In 1917 he finally went to the Congress and ultimately declared war on Germany and United States became actively involved in World War I.