Do you know what's going on in Europe? Do you think we'll join the war?
Yes I heard. I think we'll stay neutral.
German Occupation of Belgium
The Belgium's have to stick together if they want to keep the German's out.
Sinking of the Lusitania
To Germany: If you sunk our submarine without cause we will have no choice but to cut our ties with you.
President Woodrow Wilson formally proclaimed the neutrality of the United States. Britain was one of America's closest trading partners, but tension arose between US and Germany when several US ships going to Britain were damaged or sunk by German mines. Germany announced that a German cruiser had sunk a private American vessel that was transporting grain to England when it disappeared. President Wilson was outraged. Germany apologized and called the attack an unfortunate mistake.
Germany had declared war on Belgium, so to avoid the French fortifications along the French-German border. The troops had to cross Belgium and attack the French Army by the north. Belgians refused to let them through, so the Germans decided to enter by force and invaded Belgium.
Unrestricted Submarine Warfare
Yes I did. The submarine was called Lusitania. It was a British submarine.
On May 7, 1915, a German U-boat torpedoed the British-owned luxury steamship Lusitania, killing 1,195 people including 128 Americans. Thus, straining relations between Germany and the still neutral United States. President Wilson warned Germany that if it was determined they’d sunk the ship without cause, the United States may cut diplomatic ties and enter the war.
US Economic Interests
The value of our exports has grown so much since the start of the war.
I know. The total value of our exports grew from $2.4 billion in 1913 to $6.2 billion in 1917.
After the sinking of the Lusitania Britain intelligence intercepted a telegram from German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman to the German Minister to Mexico Henrich von Eckhardt. On April 2, 1917, President Wilson abandoned his policy of neutrality and asked Congress to declare war against Germany and the Central Powers. The United States would cast its lot with the Allies four days later.
We have intercepted a note from Germany.
We are now joining the war.
On February 1, 1917, Germany returns to the policy of unrestricted submarine warfare it had previously suspended in response to pressure from the United States and other neutral countries. The Lusitania was a British ship and it was carrying a supply of ammunition. Germany said it was principally a passenger ship, and the 1,201 people who drowned in its sinking included 128 Americans.
Did you hear Germany sunk more submarines, including one that was carrying a lot of ammunition?
World War I was the first modern mechanized war, requiring vast amounts of resources to equip and provision massive armies and provide them with the tools of combat. During the first 2 ½ years of combat, the U.S. was a neutral party and the economic boom came primarily from exports. The total value of U.S. exports grew from $2.4 billion in 1913 to $6.2 billion in 1917. According to a 1917 study, exports of metals, machines, and automobiles rose from $480 million to $1.6 billion. Food exports climbed from $190 million to $510 million. Gunpowder sold for $0.33 a pound to $0.83.