Influence of German Naval Policy
Assess the relative influence of three of the following in the American decision to declare war on Germany in 1917. German naval policy, American economic interests, and allied propaganda The American decision to declare war on Germany was influenced by several factors of varying degrees. To a great extent, the aggressive German naval policy contributed to the involvement of the United States in World War I. A secondary influence on this decision derived from U. S. economic interests abroad and on the homefront. Another influence leading to America’s entrance into war was the use of Allied propaganda.
Therefore, the combination of German naval policy, American economic interests, and allied propaganda influenced to the American decision to declare war on Germany. The stimulus of the German naval policy was arguably the most impactful on the decision of the U. S. to declare war on Germany. Though the U. S. had been established with neutrality, American trade with countries at war was unhindered. As the war progressed the Central power of Germany became depleted of resources due to a blockade of highly advanced fleet of war ships.
U. S. became involved in a conflict when Germany threatened our trade with Great Britain. Several German U-boats began sinking ships that were sailing for either the transportation of people or goods and arms.  Wilson viewed these actions as “wanton act[s],” and after a particular ship called the Lusitania was torpedoed by German U-Boats in 1915, the U. S. threatened to retaliate with military intervention against Germany. By this point the American population exhibited a growing resentment toward the German regime.
Although the German government agreed first to restrict their submarine warfare via the Arabic pledge by sending a warning before taking aggressive naval action, but later changed to a new restriction via the Sussex which restricted this warfare by targeting only enemy military ships. Wilson, who strived for “peace without victory,” struggled morally because of the force that Germany used against the U. S. Four days after Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare, Wilson broke all diplomatic relations with Germany in 1917 which was his last attempt to achieve what his slogan for the 1916 election entitled: “He kept us out of the war. As well as being a profound advocate for lasting peace, Wilson also pursued his foreign policy of “Moral Diplomacy” with unabated hope and patience although this hope was never fulfilled. Though he possessed such versatility, the greater part of his moral struggle was the decision to declare war on Germany. A less powerful sway on the American decision to declare war on Germany was U. S. economic interests. The development that occurred from WWI was one of the greatest economic booms in the nation’s history. Because of the status of neutrality, the U.
S. had the right to continue trade with belligerent countries, and since there was a need for its general use, metal was the most profitable trade with nations at war. Not only did this benefit the recipient’s economy, but the U. S. economy benefitted greatly from it as well. When the War Industries Board instigated the immediate production ammunition and armor, businesses in industry welcomed the guaranteed business and carried out the request. Trade between the U. S. and Germany diminished to 90% because of extensive, supreme blockade of German ports.
The supplies sent on ships such as the Lusitania were considered contraband which was illegal to trade to these countries in Europe at the time. This led not only to the sinking of many merchant ships but to the deeper resentment of Germany. This economic fueling of the England and France with huge amounts of arms, grain, cotton, and clothing brought the U. S. closer to the side of the Alliance in Europe. These countries looked to American bankers for loans in order to pay for American resources, and by 1917, loans to Allied governments exceeded $2 billion while German loans reached $27 million. Trade and loans brought the U.
S. even closer to the Allied cause, and because of the extensive investments placed on these belligerent countries, the U. S. would do no good to remain neutral for as long as the war promoted a distinct winner. Wilson often protested English naval policy that involved American goods and money, whereas Germany’s submarine policy threatened American lives. Therefore, Wilson’s strengthened resentment toward Germany was an ancillary influence leading to U. S. decision declaration of war on Germany. A minor influence on the U. S. decision to declare war on Germany was with the use of Allied propaganda.
To utilize the concept of “preparedness,” the army was regulated by the Selective Service Act of 1917 in which the 2nd draft was formed with an age limit of 18-45 years. The results of the draft concluded with 24 million registered men but only 3 million were drafted along with 2 million volunteers. This amount was achieved by the use of propaganda used to target the emotions of all who see it. Famous British war propaganda for draft recruiting aimed to invoke fear and the desire for revenge on Germany which was depicted as a Hun, ape, or some killing machine.
Collectively, the propaganda was used for nationalistic purposes which made the U. S. more in agreement that the war was and needed to happen; however, the population did not how involved the U. S. would get in the war. World War I pulled the U. S. into the unrest of Europe by the ropes of several significant factors. The most effectual influence was the crisis with Germany and their dreaded U-boats which was a hindrance to U. S. keeping a neutral status and pursuing economic interests. Though this economic interest was of lesser influence than the German navy, the effect of propaganda on the U.
S. decision about the war had even less power to influence this historical decision that changed the entire war up to its end. Trying to influence the Congress to pass the declaration of war, the multifaceted possibilities collectively created far-reaching results that may have prevented Europe from its eventual end