(AP) America and the Great War p. 583-612

AP Chapter 21 Study Guide

Following two and a half years of pro-Allied "neutrality," the United States entered World War I because of economic and cultural factors, as well as German submarine warfare. The armies and civilians of Europe had already suffered mightily by the time the United States finally entered. American forces, initially at sea and then on land, proved the margin of victory for the Allies. To mount its total effort, the United States turned to an array of unprecedented measures: sharply graduated taxes, conscription for a foreign war, bureaucratic management of the economy, and a massive propaganda and anti-sedition campaign. Women entered the work force in record numbers and the hopes of African Americans were raised by military service and war-related jobs in the North. President Woodrow Wilson formulated American war aims in his famous Fourteen Points, but he was unable to convince either Europe or the United States to accept them fully as the basis for peace. By 1920, the American people, tired from nearly three decades of turmoil, had repudiated Wilson's precious League of Nations in favor of an illusion called "normalcy."

Brinkley, Alan (2007). American history: A survey. New York, New York: McGraw Hill.

War, Prosperity, and the Metropolis: 1914-1929

1914 Slav nationalist assassinates Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary.

1915 German submarine sinks the Lusitania. Ku Klux Klan reorganized in Georgia.

1916 General Pershing pursues Pancho Villa into Mexico. Wilson wins reelection.

1917 Zimmerman telegram. Congress declares war. Russian Revolution.
Espionage Act passed.

1918 Daylight saving time introduced. Wilson advances his "Fourteen Points."
Armistice in Europe.Spanish influenza kills thousands.

1919 Eighteenth Amendment ratified. Treaty of Versailles signed, but fails in Senate. Seattle general strike. Race riots in Chicago and other cities.

1919-20 Palmer raids.

1920 Congress passes the Volstead Act. Nineteenth Amendment ratified.
Harding wins presidency. Nation?s first radio station (KDKA in Pittsburgh) goes on the air. Sinclair Lewis publishes Main Street.

1921 Margaret Sanger founds the American Birth Control League.

1921-22 Washington Arms Limitation Conference.

1923 Harding dies in office; Coolidge becomes president.

1924 Teapot Dome scandal. Coolidge wins reelection.
National Origins Act restricts immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe.

1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald publishes The Great Gatsby. Alain Locke publishes The New Negro. Scopes Monkey Trial.

1926 NBC established.

1927 Coolidge dispatches U.S. troops to Nicaragua. Advent of motion picture "talkies." Charles Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic.
Execution of Sacco and Vanzetti.

1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact outlaws war. Herbert Hoover defeats Al Smith for president.

1930 Smoot-Hawley tariff raises rates to historic highs.

 War and Diplomacy:
World War I transformed America's relationship with the world. The outbreak of war in Europe in the summer of 1914 initially seemed to have little to do with the United States. However, economic ties to Great Britain and France, the sympathies of various ethnic groups, and President Wilson's desire to protect American neutral rights all made it difficult for the United States to remain truly neutral. By early 1917, Wilson sought to use the influence of the United States to fashion a new world order based on the principles of free trade, self-determination, and collective security. His efforts to fashion a just and lasting peace met opposition from America's allies and from congressional leaders who feared the potential for the United States to be dragged into foreign conflicts.

The United States had been gradually moving away from its policy of political isolation from world affairs since the 1890s (and arguably before). American economic interests abroad grew significantly during the war through sales of munitions and other goods to the Allies, and by the end of the war the United States was the world's leading creditor nation. The nation debated greater political involvement through the League of Nations at the conclusion of the war. Although this course was rejected, American commercial interests continued to grow during the postwar period, leading to a growing imbalance between the nation's significant economic influence abroad and its limited political role.

Economic Transformation: Wartime mobilization facilitated significant economic growth for the United States and also transformed the relationship between business and government, cementing a close alliance between the two that continued into the postwar period. While workers, farmers, and minority groups (particularly African Americans) benefited from the wartime boom, significant inflation and a deep postwar economic downturn erased the gains that they had made and left many worse off than they had been before. These groups by and large continued to struggle throughout the largely prosperous 1920s and into the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Politics and Citizenship:
The search for social unity following American entry into the war in the spring of 1917 had important and far-reaching consequences for American society. The Wilson administration's propaganda efforts expanded beyond their original intent and in many cases became a mechanism for suppressing dissent and persecuting suspected radicals, members of minority groups, and others who did not fit the ideal of "100 percent Americanism." This ugly atmosphere continued into the postwar period and to some extent throughout the 1920s, as civil liberties frequently came under attack and those who questioned American institutions and ideals were labeled as unpatriotic (and worse).

George, J. & Brown, J. (2007). AP achiever: Advanced placement american history exam preparation guide.  McGraw Hill.

Digital History

America at War: World War I
The Associated Press ranked World War I as the 8th most important event of the 20th century. In fact, almost everything that subsequently happened occurred because of World War I: the Great Depression, World War II, the Holocaust, the Cold War, and the collapse of empires. No event better underscores the utter unpredictability of the future. Europe hadn't fought a major war for 100 years. A product of miscalculation, misunderstanding, and miscommunication, the conflict might have been averted at many points during the five weeks preceding the fighting. World War I destroyed four empires - German, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, and Romanov - and touched off colonial revolts in the Middle East and Vietnam. WWI shattered Americans' faith in reform and moral crusades. WWI carried far-reaching consequences for the home front, including prohibition, women's suffrage, and a bitter debate over civil liberties. World War I killed more people (9 million combatants and 5 million civilians) and cost more money ($186 billion in direct costs and another $151 billion in indirect costs) than any previous war in history.

Triggered by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, World War I began in August 1914 when Germany invaded Belgium and France. Several events led to U.S. intervention: the sinking of the Lusitania, a British passenger liner; unrestricted German submarine warfare; and the Zimmerman note, which revealed a German plot to provoke Mexico to war against the United States. Millions of American men were drafted, and Congress created a War Industries Board to coordinate production and a National War Labor Board to unify labor policy. The Treaty of Versailles deprived Germany of territory and forced it to pay reparations. President Wilson agreed to the treaty because it provided for the establishment of a League of Nations, but he was unable to persuade the Senate to ratify the treaty.

1. Nearly 10 million soldiers died and about 21 million were wounded. U.S. deaths totaled 116,516.

2. Four empires collapsed: the Russian Empire in 1917, the German and the Austro-Hungarian in 1918, and the Ottoman in 1922.

3. Independent republics were formed in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and Turkey.

4. Most Arab lands that had been part of the Ottoman Empire came under the control of Britain and France.

5. The Bolsheviks took power in Russia in 1917, and fascists triumphed in Italy in 1922.

6. Other consequences of the war included the mass murder of Armenians in Turkey and an influenza epidemic that killed over 25 million people worldwide.

7. Under the peace settlement, Germany was required to pay reparations eventually set at $33 billion; accept responsibility for the war; cede territory to Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, and Poland; give up its overseas colonies; and accept an allied military force on the west bank of the Rhine River for 15 years.

Lecture Outlines

World War I 1914-1918

Aftermath of World War I

Chapter Notes

Foreign Policy 1865-1919 Notes


World War I 

PowerPoint Presentation

World War I (1914-1918)