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The United States initially wanted to remain "neutral" while profiting off of the war through trade with the triple entente and the triple alliance. Both sides of the war fought for American trade through propaganda and control of the Atlantic (which was SUPPOSED to be free international waters).
Both Germany and Britain tried to control the Atlantic trade while England was far more successful as they eliminated all trade to Germany with the exception of the North Sea. In response, Germany resorted to unrestricted submarine warfare, following the invention of the U-boat as trade between Germany and the US diminished.
The US repeatedly warned Germany against harming american merchants and citizens as Germany would first comply, then continue to sink American ships anyway. It wasn't until shortly after the Sussex Ultimatum was neglected that President Woodrow Wilson began to hold Germany accountable.
The Sussex Ultimatum warned Germany not to sink unarmed vessels or America would break diplomatic relations with Germany. Initially, Germany had complied, then resumed unrestricted submarine warfare again. However, Wilson still did not ask congress for a declaration of war, claiming that Germany had still not committed any "actual overt acts" that required military involvement.
April 2nd 1917, President Woodrow Wilson declares war on Germany as the struggle for neutrality becomes unfeasible. The 3 main causes of America entering the Great War were Germany's continued unrestricted submarine warfare, the sinking of the Lusitania (due to a submarine), and the Zimmerman Telegraph intercepted by America proposing a German-Mexican alliance
Propaganda run by the Creel Committee, food/industrial conservation such as "meatless Mondays", the Sedition and Espionage acts restricting opposition of war effort, and Unions promising to not strike (with one exception), fueled the American war effort on the Western Front of Germany until November 11,1918 when the War finally ended.
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