INTRODUCTION In 1914 World War I, or the Great War, as it was known then, began when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated and Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. In the war, there were two main alliances fighting against each other. On one side was the Central Powers which included Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire. Fighting against them were the Allied powers; Great Britain, France, Russia, and in 1915, Italy. After three years of fighting, but keeping a stalemate where neither side gained much territory, Russia signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk excluding them from the war. Finally, in 1917 President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war on the Central Powers for a number of reasons, not realizing how the war would effect the American general public.
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There are several reasons why the US entered the war on the allied side. First, the Germans had utilized unrestricted submarine warfare. They used U-boats to torpedo opposing naval ships. Germany also sank the British passenger ship, The Lusitania, killing 128 Americans on board. This riled public opinion in the US against Germany, but President Wilson refused to declare war. Two years later the British intercepted a German telegram that was sent to Mexico asking them to go to war with The United States, hoping that it would distract the US from entering the war. This became known as the Zimmermann Telegram because it was sent from the German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann to the German Minister in Mexico, Heinrich von Eckhardt. Germany later announced it would continue to use full unrestricted submarine warfare. This together with the Zimmermann Telegram pushed the US public opinion over the tipping point, and on April 6th 1917, the United Sates Congress granted President Wilson’s request to declare war on Germany.
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The United States also entered the war due to
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Entering World War 1 had numerous effects on the home front. One of the first effects was mobilizing the economy and society for war. A massive propaganda campaign was set up throughout the country to encourage citizens to participate in the war effort. Four minute men spoke at local theaters about topics inspiring civilians to join the war effort. Also, posters persuaded citizens to take several actions. Some posters made Germany look like the “bad guy” and raised anti-German feelings. Other posters encouraged people to buy liberty bonds to help pay for the war. Even more posters created by the Food Administration convinced people to go without certain foods such as “Meatless Mondays” and “Wheatless Wednesday”. In response to the war effort, many families and farmers grew “victory gardens” to support the soldiers. Celebrities took different actions. Some wrote