Sunday, March 1, 2009
The US's role in WWI
On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Autrian-Hungarian throne, was assasinated. This marked the begining of WWI between the Central Powers and the Allied Powers. Initially the US wanted to maintain a neutral position, but after the uncovering of the Zimmerman telegram President Wilson felt the need to take part in the conflict. The telegram was basically an offer from Germany to Mexico, to attack the US which would result in Mexico gaining the southern states of Texas and New Mexico, to name a few. This not only outraged the American public but it was a slap in the face to President Wilson who resisted involvement at al costs. The use of sonar technology was a great advantage in combating the Germans who had developed the submarine; this gave them the advantage of covert attacks on marine vessels. The US warships began to guard the British merchant and civilian ships while also destroying many U-boats. This war was the first total war for the US. Total war; this means that all of the country's resources were funneled into production geared for war industries. A new sense of patriotism and racism also emerged. German books and goods were burned and banned while German Americans were targets of the frustrations of the American people. Now that the US was so focused on the war and it's efforts, this gave African Americans the ability to gain new jobs and fight in the war. Even though African American troops were hailed for their bravery in countries like France they were still treated like 2nd class citizens in the US.