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Why the United States Entered World War I

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Why the United States Entered World War I

World War I began in 1914 and lasted until 1918. It started as a local European war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. "On June 28, 1914, a young Serbian nationalist named Gavrilo Princip killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand" ( Princip killing Ferdinand started the war. It was not until three years after the assassination, that the United States declared war on April 16, 1917. The United States entered World War I with the Allies because of propaganda, social, and political conflicts.

Politically, the United States entered the war because of unrestricted submarine warfare from Germany that affected exports to Britain. "In May 1915, a German U-boat sunk the British passenger ship Lusitania off the coast of Ireland. Over 1,000 passengers were killed, including 128 Americans." ( Two months later another U-boat sank another British liner, the Arabic, drowning two Americans. After these two liners sank, Germany agreed not to sink any more. In March 1916, Germany broke its promise and torpedoed the Sussex, a French passenger steamer killing 80 passengers, including Americans.

Socially, the United States entered the war in response to the intercepted Zimmerman Note sent from Germany to Mexico in January 1917. The Zimmerman Note was the spark that caused America to lose its neutrality. The telegram was an indirect invitation to Mexico to reconquer lost territory in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Americans also felt connected to England because of common ancestry, language and literature, and similar legal systems. There were accusations of industrial sabotage, poisoning water supplies, kidnapping individuals, and engaging in spying within American labor unions by Germans to keep the United States busy on the home front.

The rumors

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