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Debate: Was the US right to enter World War 1?

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Background and context

World War I, also known as the First World War, the Great War and the War To End All Wars, was a global military conflict which took place primarily in Europe from 1914 to 1918. Over 40 million casualties resulted, including approximately 20 million military and civilian deaths.

The Entente Powers, led by France, Russia, the British Empire, and later Italy (from 1915), and the United States (from 1917), defeated the Central Powers, led by the Austro-Hungarian, German, and Ottoman Empires. Russia withdrew from the war after its revolution in 1917.

The fighting that took place along the Western Front occurred along a system of trenches, breastworks, and fortifications separated by an area known as no man's land. These fortifications stretched 475 miles (more than 600 kilometres)and defined the war for many. On the Eastern Front, the vast eastern plains and limited rail network prevented a trench warfare stalemate, though the scale of the conflict was just as large as on the Western Front. The Middle Eastern Front and the Italian Front also saw heavy fighting, while hostilities also occurred at sea, and for the first time, in the air.

The war caused the disintegration of four empires: the Austro-Hungarian, German, Ottoman, and Russian. Germany lost its colonial empire; Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland gained independence, while the Kingdom of Yugoslavia came into existence as a successor to the Kingdom of Serbia. The cost of waging the war set the stage for the breakup of the British Empire as well and left France devastated for more than a generation.

World War I marked the end of the world order which had existed after the Napoleonic Wars, and was an important factor in the outbreak of World War II.


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Was it necessary for America to enter the WWI?

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Yes

There were numerous reasons for America entering World War I. The first and foremost reason would be the sinking of the Lusitania, a British cruise/transport ship, bound for Britain from New York. The German U-boat ring sought to sink all supply ships headed for Britain in order to starve the island. It sank the Lusitania as part of its efforts. 1195 people died, including 128 Americans. This was caused by unauthorized German submarines along the US East coast. Germany's resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare in the spring of 1917 provided the final straw for US politicians, and America justifiably declared war. American allies were the target of imperial warfare by Germany. America had no choice but to defend the allies.



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No

It was not necessary for America to become involved with the European world. Germany's creation in 1871 and subsequent rise to power alerted many opposing European politicians and citizens. Germany did not increase their millitary out of aggression, they increased it because of a rising threat from Russian invasion. Therefore Germanys fears were justifiable. America's justification for entering the war - Germany's sinking of ships was ludacris. Americans were well aware that ships slipping into war zones in the vicinity of Britain inherently had the risk of being sunk. In fact, the only people justified attacking were the Germans. The American ship, the Lusitania, possesed weapons aboard bound for Britain. The Germans had no choice but to sink it.


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Was World War I beneficial for the US economy?

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Yes

The U.S. had huge economic investments with the British and French. If they were to lose, then they would not be able to pay the U.S. debt back (amounting to about two billion dollars while Germany only borrowed a mere 27 million). Furthermore, France and England were financing their war with US loans. Examples of this include buying massive amounts of arms from the US on credit. The US wanted to make sure that it got paid back. Therefore, America protecting their allies was not only a moral obligtion but also an economic obligation.

If the Allies (French and British) were not able to pay back all the loans made to them by the American bankers, the US's economy could collapse. Thus causing economic chaos in America.


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No

The cost of going to war did not improve America financially . In fact, part of the reason America and other countries were in such economic crisis by the time World War II rolled by was because of World War I. Even if America were to have lost the $2 billion in loans, it does not outweigh the price of going to war. America spent well over $500 million and the blood of many innocent American soldiers.

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Yes

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No

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