US History Preparation for War World War I was a major war that began on 28 July 1918 in central Europe and lasted until 11 November 1918. Unlike other wars that had been fought before, World War I involved the world’s superpowers, who assembled into two opposing sides: the Central Powers and the Triple Entente. It is argued that this war was one of the largest and most destructive warfare in world’s history. Although the immediate cause of this war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo, Bosnia, the massing of armies, militarism, nationalism, alliances, and imperialism made the war almost necessary. While Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were in Sarajevo, Bosnia, a Serbian nationalist assassinated them. It is believed that the Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated by the Serbian nationalist in protest of Austria-Hungary’s intentions of having control of this region (Stokesbury, 2003). It was argued hat Serbia wanted to take over Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a result, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. When this war began, different countries started to support their allies in the war. Due to its close ties with Serbia, Russia began to mobilize resources and manpower to help Serbia. As a result, Germany, whose ally was Austria-Hungary, also started to mobilize manpower and other resources in aid of its ally (Keegan, 2000). As the war progressed, different countries all over Europe made mutual defense agreements with each other that pulled then into war. This means that when one country was attacked, all her allies would rally behind her in defense. Even before the World War had begun, an arms race was already underway in different countries in Europe. It is argued that Germany and Great Britain had made significant improvements in their armies. As a result, this military buildup influenced public policies. It is claimed that these countries compelled themselves into this war to showcase their military might (Keegan, 2000). An increased desire and competition to conquer more land and amerce more wealth also led to this war. Before this war, parts of Asia and Africa elicited fierce rivalry among many European countries. Stokesbury (2003) contends that these confrontations helped push these nations into war. Nationalism also played a big role in sparking off this war. This can be attributed to the fact that Slavic people living in Bosnia and Herzegovina wanted to be part of Serbia rather than Austria-Hungary and this elicited rivalry between the two sides. The United States of America was not interested in taking part in this was because of several reasons. First off, America was in the middle of a great depression at the time of this war and therefore, the country did not want to add more problems by going to war. Additionally, most Americans were of German and Italian decent whose attitude was that America should concentrate on its problems rather than getting involved in European politics. Another reason as to why America was neutral in the initial phase of this war was that the country wanted to keep the Atlantic open for trade. Nevertheless, it reached a point where America was compelled to join this war. America joined the war as a result of the Lusitania and submarine warfare. During the war, the Germans had an unauthorized access to the U.S. East Coast. The unrestricted submarine warfare that was sparked by German in the spring of 1917 compelled America to declare war. Moreover, the Germans sank the Lusitania, which was a British cruise ship that was headed to Great Britain from New York killing 1195 people, including 128 Americans. Wilson wanted the Senate to declare war because of several reasons. First off, the president saw the submarine warfare as warfare against humanity. He was of the opinion that by going into war, America would make the world a good place for democracy to thrive. Moreover, he wanted America to go into war to ensure the liberties and rights of small nations are sustained, democracy, and the establishment of an international body that would end war forever (Zieger, 2001). Most Americans did not support WWI. A majority believed that they were living in a new world that was free from corruption and old fashioned ideas like nationalism, communism and imperialism. After the war, over 100,000 American soldiers had died and Americans could not see why their sons, daughters, brothers and sisters had died keeping peace elsewhere.
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