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Current time:0:00Total duration:7:05
KC‑7.3.II.A (KC)
Unit 7: Learning Objective F
WOR (Theme)

Video transcript

despite the fact that Wilson had just won re-election in 1916 based on a platform of keeping the United States out of war by April by April of 1917 the administration had decided that Germany had gone too far and in particular had gone too far with the unrestricted submarine warfare so this right over here is a picture of President Wilson on April 2nd 1917 giving a war message to Congress as to why the US needs to declare war on Germany and April 4th Congress passes the resolution to declare war and then the president approves it on April 6 so by early April the United States was at war with Germany which is a good time to start thinking about why did all of this happen now the things that are typically cited and these are the things that are inflamed public opinion in the US and that many of which were cited by President Woodrow Wilson and in this tutorial that this is part of on khanacademy.org I put the entire text of his speech which I highly recommend reading to see all of the things that President Wilson cited in his speech but just as a summary of that that things that tend to get cited most often are the unrestricted submarine warfare on the part of Germany unrestricted submarine warfare and particular cases or the most cited example of that is the sinking of the Lusitania the Germans had stopped doing that for a little under two years but then as we enter into into 1917 they began doing it again and it also made the Americans quite angry to realize that the Germans were trying to incite the Mexicans against them so you have the Zimmerman you have the Zimmermann telegram Zimmermann telegram is also a reason that the Wilson administration and why the why people in general were fairly angry about things now on top of that there were there were atrocities committed by the Germans in their march through Belgium as they were trying to execute on this leaf and plan so Belgian Belgian atrocities and these were an earlier in the war 1914 which immediately made any Americans kind of not like what's going on Belgian atrocities and to put on top of that the you the British were able to leverage the Belgian atrocities to do to fairly to execute a fairly effective propaganda campaign in in America now on top of that and this is something that Wilson speaks very strongly about in a speech is the notion of fighting for democracy fighting for fighting for democracy and what you have here in firt in the first world war the Central Powers if we talk about the German Empire you're talking about the austro-hungarians these are monarchies these are emperors who are controlling it and even though the UK the United Kingdom was nominally a kingdom it was really a democracy at least for those who could vote we're not talking about the entire British Empire so UK is functionally a democracy democratic and so was the third French Republic and so was and so was fans so there's this argument that the u.s. is fighting for the represent the representation of people now there is a more cynical argument that some people have made and I think it's reasonable to give that do time and one of the cynical arguments or more cynical arguments is that the US had close financial and trade ties to Britain not to mention cultural ties financial ties to the British on top of that you had very successful British propaganda the one talking about the atrocities in Belgium which did actually happen but the British were able to exploit this as a propaganda machine successful propaganda but they also spread rumors that after the sinking of Luce of the Lusitania that the Germans had their schools children celebrating and these were all made up propaganda proper propaganda and then cynical zat's in a more kind of cynical view of why the u.s. entered the war and this is true of probably most Wars is that there was a lot of lobbying on the part of war profiteers war profiteers in fact in Little Orphan Annie Daddy Warbucks the name reason why his last name is Warbucks is because he made he made his fortune as a war profiteer during World War one in war profiteers these are people who might be selling arms to the Allies or who might sell arms to the US government if the US were to get into a war that might somehow supply the troops and it includes potentially folks in wall street there was significant lending to the Allies and mainly the Allies not the not the central power and so the view is that the Allies win those loans are going to be made good and I have the entire text of the speech from senator senator George Norris who was one of five senators or sorry one of six senators to vote against the resolution to go to war there were 50 represent 50 representatives who also voted against it this is a little excerpt but also in this tutorial I have the full text of a speech and I highly highly highly recommend reading that along with Wilson's text of his speech to Congress in his war in his war message but I'll just read this part because it does I think point out that the u.s. from the beginning did have biases that were more Pro British and so this is part of his Beach the reason given by the President and asking Congress to declare war against Germany is that the German government has declared certain war zones within which by the use of submarines she sinks without notice American ships and destroys American lives the first war zone was declared by Great Britain she gave us and the world notice of it on the fourth day of November 1914 the zone became effective November 5th 1914 this saw this zone so declared by Great Britain covered the whole of the North Sea the first German war zone was declared on the fourth day of February 1915 just three months after the British war zone was declared Germany gave 15 days notice of the establishment of her zone which became effective on the 18th day of February 1915 the German war zone covered the English Channel and the high sea waters around the British Isles it is unnecessary to cite authority to show that both of these orders declaring military zones were illegal and contrary to international law it is sufficient to say that our government has officially declared both of them to be illegal and officially protested against both of them the only difference is that in the case of Germany we have persisted in our protest while in the case of England we have submitted I encourage you once again to read to read the text of both Wilson's speech and and and senator norris's speech and come up to your with your own decisions and it might be a little bit of both