US History II
15 October 2018
World War 1: Isolationists VS Internationalists
World War 1, also known as the Great War, began in Europe on July 28, 1914 and lasted until November 11, 1918. During this war, there were two main alliances, the Central Powers and the Allies. The Central Powers consisted of Britain, France, Russia, and later the United States. The Allies consisted of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey. The war started when Austria-Hungary invaded Serbia. When the war began it had an enormous impact on the United States. Usually, a war will bring a country together, but during World War 1 Americans were divided into two political camps: Isolationists and Internationalists.
Most Americans were against intervening with foreign affairs and saw no point in concerning themselves with other nations’ problems. President Wilson did not want the United States to get involve with the European war, but eventually had no other choice. Germany provoked the United States by sinking the Lusitania on May 7, 1915, and by sending the Zimmerman Note to Mexico. During this time the American Isolationism movement began in the United States.
Woodrow Wilson was the President during World War 1, and he urged Americans to stay neutral at the time which is what the American Isolationists wanted. He stated, “There is such a thing as a man being too proud to fight.” (Kennedy 672). There were several reasons as to why Wilson did not want the United States to intervene in the war. First Wilson knew it would be a long and costly war. At the time, America was at the edge of a depression, but fate would have it that the war would bring America back to prosperity. The second reason Wilson did not want to enter the war is because the United States had international trade set up with both alliances. Lastly, the United States had no interest concerning the war. The war was occurring on another continent and in no way was affecting our nation. Unfortunately, during this time Germany destroyed the Lusitania killing 128 Americans with it and sent the Zimmerman telegram to Mexico proposing a secret alliance. In the end, Wilson could not ignore all of Germanys indiscretions and had no other choice but to ask congress to declare war.
American Isolationism is the belief that the United States should stay out of foreign affairs. Senators Henry Cabot, William Borah, and Hiram Johnson considered themselves to be Isolationist or “Irreconcilables”. The Isolationist wanted to keep the United Sates out of other nations’ indiscretions as well as economic and political alliances. They believed that America’s priority should be to...