Why the US was justified in entering WWI
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The events leading up to April of 1917 left the United States no choice but to enter the war against Germany. The United States had every intention to maintain its neutrality throughout the European conflict but Germany’s actions pulled them into fighting. Germany’s submarine warfare, threats to democracy, and contacts with Mexico threatened the security and honor of the United States and could not be tolerated.
The creation and deployment that Germany made of the submarines caused great havoc in the Atlantic Ocean. Germany was attempting to try and blockade Britain just as Britain had done to them. German U-boats, however, would attack any ship they believed to carry war supplies. As a result, many innocent ships were sunk without warning, regardless of the flag they carried. Officials in Berlin simply labeled these instances as “mistakes” (American Pageant, 699). The treacherous sinking of the Lusitania proved to be the last straw in provoking the American government to war. The attack came without any warning, which led to the deaths of over 1,500 people, including 150 Americans. There is no justification to sinking passenger ships or cargo ships carrying medical supplies to the European countries (Viewpoint 1, 105). Germany’s blockade of Britain is, in reality, also blockading the United States.
Britain is a very large and important trading partner with the United States and the German U-boats are preventing our neutral ships from reaching the European ports. “There has been no discrimination” when it comes to sinking ships, as ships from other neutral countries have been destroyed in the same manner that has been done to American ships (Viewpoint 5, 87). It is clearly seen that Germany has no intention in trying to correct their “mistakes”. Even when Germany agreed to Sussex pledge, following the sinking of a French passenger ship, the conditions they required the United States to meet were impossible to follow through on. Germany agreed to not sink passenger and merchant ships without giving a warning if the United States would help modify the blockade that the Allies placed around Germany. The United States of course could not modify the blockade since they were still neutral and would not want to get involved in a dispute with the Allies (American Pageant, 700). Actions must be taken by the United States to insure the safety of all merchant and passenger ships in the water.
Regardless of whether or not the United States were to enter the war against Britain, it is evident that Germany was trying to persuade the neighbors and enemies of the United States in an attempt to threaten the security of the our country. The Zimmerman note, which was intercepted and decoded by the United States, proposed an alliance between Mexico and Germany against the United States (Viewpoint 5, 91). The threat of Mexico raised a question to Washington, how can we maintain our neutrality when our borders are in jeopardy and countries are plotting against us? Mexico was a threat to national security since they shared our southwestern borders. If the United States were not to prepare for war, they would be a sitting duck, ripe for the taking.
The United States must fight for the principles that it believes in, just like it has throughout history. Liberty, freedom, justice, and democracy have helped set us apart from all others and contain an immeasurable value to the people of the United States. Conquest is not part of the plan for the United States, but the purpose of fighting is to be able to secure the rights of our nation. Germany is infringing upon the beliefs and freedoms of other European countries, with an attempt to employ their ways upon the conquered. This must not take place in a world that must be made safe for democracy (Viewpoint 5, 92). It is the United State’s duty to help countries in need, which is why we must side with the Allies and declare war upon Germany. It is the only practical solution.