The War to End War, 1917–1918
00001PART I: Reviewing the Chapter
00001A. 0Checklist of Learning Objectives
After mastering this chapter, you should be able to:
10. Explain what caused America to enter World War I.
20. Describe how Wilsonian idealism turned the war into an ideological crusade for democracy that inspired public fervor and suppressed dissent.
30. Discuss America’s mobilization for war and its reliance primarily on voluntary methods rather than government force.
40. Explain the consequences of World War I for labor, women, and African Americans.
50. Describe America’s participation in the War, and explain why its economic and political importance exceeded its military contribution to the Allied victory and German defeat.
60. Analyze Wilson’s attempt to forge a peace based on his idealistic Fourteen Points, the political mistakes that weakened his hand, and the compromises he was forced to make by the other Allied statesmen at Versailles.
70. Discuss how Lodge and others resisted Wilson’s League of Nations, how Wilson’s total refusal to compromise doomed the Treaty of Versailles, and why Harding’s victory in the election of 1920 became the final death sentence for the League.
To build your social science vocabulary, familiarize yourself with the following terms.
10. isolationism In American diplomacy, the traditional belief that the United States should refrain from involvement in overseas politics, alliances, or wars, and confine its national security interest to its own borders (sometimes along with the Caribbean and Central America). Internationalism or Wilsonianism is the contrasting belief that America’s national security requires involvement and sometimes diplomatic or military alliances overseas. “But their obstruction was a powerful reminder of the continuing strength of American isolationism.”
20. collective security In international affairs, reliance on a group of nations or an international organization as protection against aggressors, rather than on national self-defense alone. “ . . . an international organization that Wilson dreamed would provide a system of collective security.”
30. mobilization The organization of a nation and its armed forces for war. “Creel typified American war mobilization. . . .”
40. pardon The official release of a person from punishment for a crime. “. . . presidential pardons were rather freely granted. . . .”
50. ration A fixed allowance of food or other scarce commodity. “He deliberately rejected issuing ration cards. . . .”
60. conscientious objector A person who refuses to participate in war on grounds of conscience or belief. “. . . about 4,000 conscientious objectors were excused.”
70. Bolshevik The radical majority faction of the Russian Socialist party that seized power in the October 1917 revolution; they later took the name Communist. (Bolshevik is the Russian word for “majority”; their rivals for power were Mensheviks, or minority.) “The Bolsheviks long resented these ‘capitalistic’ interventions. . . .”
80. salient A portion of a battle line that extends forward into enemy territory. “. . . nine American divisions . . . joined four French divisions to push the Germans from the St. Mihiel salient. . . .”
90. parliamentary Concerning political systems in which the government is constituted from the controlling party’s members in the legislative assembly. “Unlike all the parliamentary statesmen at the table, [Wilson] did not command a legislative majority at home.”
100. protectorate In international affairs, a weaker or smaller country held to be under the guidance or protection of a major power; the arrangement is a weaker form of imperialism or colonialism. (A colony is a territory owned outright by a more powerful nation.) “. . . preventing any vengeful parceling out of the former colonies and protectorates of the vanquished powers.”
110. trustee A nation that holds the territory of a former colony as the conditional agent of an international body under defined terms. “The victors would . . . receive the conquered territory . . . only as trustees of the League of Nations.”
120. mandate Under the League of Nations (1919–1939), a specific commission that authorized a trustee to administer a former colonial territory. “Japan was conceded the strategic Pacific islands under a League of Nations mandate. . . .”
130. self-determination The Wilsonian doctrine that each people should have the right to freely choose its own political affiliation and national future, e.g., independence or incorporation into another nation. “Faced with fierce Wilsonian opposition to this violation of self-determination....”
140. reservation A portion of a deed, contract, or treaty that places conditions or restrictions on the general obligations. “. . . he finally came up with fourteen formal reservations. . . .”
150. demagogue A politician who arouses fervor by appealing to the lowest emotions of a mass audience, such as fear, hatred, and greed. “ . . . a debacle that played into the hands of the German demagogue Adolf Hitler.”
00001PART II: Checking Your Progress
Where the statement is true, circle T; where it is false, circle F.
10. T F Germany responded to Wilson’s call for “peace without victory” with a proposal for a negotiated settlement of the war.
20. T F Wilson’s proclamation of the war as a crusade to end all war and spread democracy around the world inspired intense ideological enthusiasm among Americans.
30. T F Among Wilson’s Fourteen Points were freedom of the seas, national self-determination for oppressed smaller nations, and an international organization to secure peace.
40. T F The Committee on Public Information used varied forms of propaganda to stir fervent American patriotism and support for the war.
50. T F The primary targets of prosecution under the Espionage and Sedition Acts were German and Austrian agents in the United States.
60. T F Even during the war mobilization, Americans were extremely reluctant to grant the federal government extensive powers over the civilian economy.
70. T F Despite bitter and sometimes violent strikes, American labor made economic and organizational gains as a result of World War I.
80. T F War-inspired black migration into northern cities led to major racial riots in 1917–1919.
90. T F America’s granting of women’s right to vote under the Nineteenth Amendment represented the first breakthrough for women’s suffrage in the world.
100. T F One of the few major instances of using coercive power during the war was the federal government’s seizure and operation of the nation’s railroads.
011. T F The arrival of the main force American troops in May 1918 came just in time to block the last German offensive and turn the tide toward Allied victory.
120. T F When Woodrow Wilson first arrived in Europe, the European public hailed him as a hero and a peacemaking savior.
130. T F Wilson successfully thwarted other Allied nations’ attempts to make imperialistic gains from the war.
140. T F Wilson’s unwillingness to compromise or accept any Republican reservations to the Treaty of Versailles guaranteed that the whole treaty would go down to defeat.
150. T F In the election of 1920, Republican Harding supported the League of Nations, while Democrat Cox tried to straddle both sides of the issue.
00001B. 0Multiple Choice
Select the best answer and circle the corresponding letter.
10. The immediate cause of American entry into World War I was0
a0. German support for a possible Mexican invasion of the southwestern United States.
b0. Germany’s resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare.
c0. the imminent danger of a French surrender to Germany.
d0. desire of the American munitions makers to gain larger profits.
e0. Wilson’s recognition that German militarism threatened the ideals of American democracy.
20. Wilson and his administration aroused the still-divided American people to fervent support of the war by0
a0. seizing control of the means of communication and demanding national unity.
b0. declaring the German people to be immoral Huns and barbarians.
c0. proclaiming the conflict an ideological war to end all war and make the world safe for democracy.
d0. proclaiming the war a religious crusade to save Western, Christian civilization
e0. asserting that a victorious Germany might well attack or invade the United States.
30. The capstone Fourteenth Point of Wilson’s declaration of war aims called for0
a0. the establishment of parliamentary democracies throughout Europe.
b0. guarantees of basic human rights for all people in the world.
c0. an international organization to guarantee collective security.
d0. freedom of travel without restrictions.
e0. a severe limitation on all nations’ military forces and armaments as soon as the war ended.
40. George Creel’s Committee on Public Information typified the entire American war effort because it0
a0. maintained respect for American ideals of free speech and dissent even as it promoted the war.
b0. effectively used statistics and scientific information to enable the government to mobilize for war.
c0. relied more on whipped-up patriotism and voluntary compliance than on formal laws or government coercion.
d0. brought all the resources of private business into support of the war effort.
e0. used the constant threat of government takeover to force business and labor to support the war.
50. The two key laws aimed at enforcing loyalty and suppressing antiwar dissent were the0
a0. War Mobilization Act and the National Defense Act.
b0. Selective Service Act and the Public Information Act.
c0. Eighteenth Amendment and the Anti-German Language Act.
d0. Espionage Act and the Sedition Act.
e0. War Industries Act and the Council of National Defense authorization law.
60. Two groups that experienced the most direct attacks and suppression during the war were
a0. German Americans and socialists.
b0. communists and labor leaders.
c0. Mexican Americans and immigrants.
d0. African Americans and feminists.
e0. conscientious objectors and draft dodgers.
70. The immediate postwar passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, granting American women the right to vote
a0. was the breakthrough that opened the door to worldwide women’s suffrage.
b0. enabled women to consolidate the permanent economic gains they had made during the war.
c0. came in the face of continued opposition by President Wilson.
d0. reflected the general American belief that the war should really lead to an expansion of democracy.
e0. followed similar adoption of suffrage in many Western nations.
80. Particularly violent strikes erupted during and after World War I in 0
a0. the shipping and railroad industries.
b0. the steel industry.
c0. the textile and clothing manufacturing industries.
d0. factories employing women war workers.
e0. Chicago and East St. Louis.
90. The major result of the substantial wartime migration of blacks to northern cities was
a0. a growing acceptance of the idea of a strong black presence in the military.
b0. federal government efforts to block further black migration from southern farms.
c0. a growing agitation by blacks and northern liberals for racial integration.
d0. the incorporation of blacks into the major industrial unions.
e0. a series of vicious race riots in northern cities.
100. A major difference between the World War I Selective Service Act and the Civil War draft was that in World War I0
a0. women as well as men were drafted.
b0. there was no provision for conscientious objection as there had been during the Civil War.
c0. draftees were sent immediately into front line combat.
d0. draftees received the same training as professional soldiers.
e0. it was not possible to purchase an exemption or to hire a substitute as during the Civil War.
110. American soldiers were especially needed in France in the spring of 1918 because0
a0. the Allied invasion of Germany was stalling and in danger of failing.
b0. the Italian front was about to collapse and permit the Austro-Hungarians to join German forces in France.
c0. the British were in danger of starving due to German submarine warfare.
d0. the Russians had left the Allied war effort and were threatening to switch to the German side.
e0. a renewed German offensive was threatening to break through to Paris and force France to surrender.
120. The major American military contribution to Germany’s decision to give up fighting was
a0. American armies’ victories in a dozen critical battles during 1918.
b0. the U.S. Navy’s successful destruction of most German submarines.
c0. the prospect of endless supplies of future, fresh American troops to fight the war.
d0. General Pershing’s brilliant strategy that final broke the stalemate of trench warfare.
e0. the effective use of new American military weapons like the tank and the airplane.
130. Wilson blundered badly when leading the American peace delegation to Paris by
a0. failing to develop any set of clear diplomatic goals for the peace treaty.
b0. refusing to include any Republican senators in the American delegation.
c0. not consulting with his key allies, Britain and France, about their war aims.
d0. suggesting that he would abandon his idealistic Fourteen Points in order to appease the Allies.
e0. believing Senator Henry Cabot Lodge when he said he supported Wilson one hundred percent.
140. The European Allied powers and Japan were able to undermine Wilson’s goal of a nonimperialistic peace treaty partly because0
a0. they regarded his proposed League of Nations as largely a useless symbol.
b0. American ethnic groups were working for imperialistic goals of their own.
c0. they knew he could not promise continuing American aid and involvement in European affairs.
d0. Germany’s constant threat to resume fighting made them insistent on harshly punishing the war’s loser.
e0. Republicans were forcing Wilson to change the League of Nations covenant to guarantee the Monroe Doctrine and other American interests.
150. Wilson bore considerable responsibility for the failure of the United States to join the League of Nations because he0
a0. linked the League too closely to European politics.
b0. ordered Democratic senators to defeat the pro-League treaty with the Lodge reservations.
c0. failed to take the case for the League to the American public.
d0. had agreed that America would pay most of the cost of the League.
e0. failed to effectively campaign for pro-League Governor James Cox in the 1920 election.
Supply the correct identification for each numbered description.0
01. __________ Message sent to Mexico from the German foreign minister proposing a secret German-Mexican alliance and possible support for Mexico’s recovery of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona
02. __________ Wilson’s idealistic statement of American war aims in January 1918 that inspired the Allies and demoralized the Germans
03. __________ American government propaganda agency that aroused zeal for Wilson’s ideals and whipped up hatred for the Kaiser
04. __________ Radical antiwar labor union whose members were prosecuted under the Espionage and Sedition Act
05. __________ Originally weak wartime agency that gradually expanded the federal government’s power over the economy by setting production quotas and allocating natural resources.
06. __________ Constitutional revision endorsed by Wilson as a war measure whose ratification finally achieved a goal long sought by American women
07. __________ Treasury Department bond-selling drives that raised about $21 billion to provide most of the funds to finance the American war effort
08. __________ Popular term for American soldiers during World War I
09. __________ Collective term for the major powers that dominated the Paris Peace Conference—Britain, France, Italy, and the United States
010. __________ Wilson’s proposed international body that constituted the key provision of the Versailles treaty
011. __________ Controversial peace agreement that compromised many of Wilson’s idealistic Fourteen Points but retained his cherished League of Nations among its provisions
012. __________ Senatorial committee whose chairman used delaying tactics and hostile testimony to develop opposition to Wilson’s treaty and League of Nations
013. __________ A hard core of isolationist senators who bitterly opposed any sort of league; also called the “Battalion of Death”
014. __________ Amendments to the proposed Treaty of Versailles, sponsored by Wilson’s hated senatorial opponent, that attempted to guarantee America’s sovereign rights in relation to the League of Nations
015. __________ Wilson’s belief that the presidential election of 1920 should constitute a direct popular vote on the League of Nations
00001D. 0Matching People, Places, and Events
Match the person, place, or event in the left column with the proper description in the right column by inserting the correct letter on the blank line.
10. ___ George Creel
20. ___ Eugene V. Debs
30. ___ Bernard Baruch
40. ___ Herbert Hoover
50. ___ John J. Pershing
60. ___ Alice Paul
70. ___ Franklin D. Roosevelt
80. ___ Kaiser Wilhelm II
90. ___ Woodrow Wilson
100. ___ Henry Cabot Lodge
110. ___ Georges Clemenceau
120. ___ William Borah
130. ___ James Cox
140. ___ Calvin Coolidge
150. ___ Warren G. Harding
a0. Inspirational leader of the Western world in wartime who later stumbled as a peacemaker
b0. Senatorial leader of the isolationist irreconcilables who absolutely opposed all American involvement in Europe
c0. Exciting vice-presidential candidate from New York in the losing Democratic campaign of 1920.
d0. The “tiger” of France, whose drive for security forced Wilson to compromise at Versailles
e0. Head of the American propaganda agency that mobilized public opinion for World War I
f0. Folksy Ohio senator whose 1920 presidential victory ended the last hopes for U.S. participation in the League of Nations
g0. Hated leader of America’s enemy in World War I
h0. Head of the Food Administration who pioneered successful voluntary mobilization methods
i0. Leader of the pacifist National Women’s Party who opposed U.S. involvement in World War I
j0. Defeated Democratic presidential candidate in the election of 1920
k0. Commander of the overseas American Expeditionary Force in World War I
l0. Massachusetts governor and Warren G. Harding’s vice presidential running mate in the election of 1920
m0. Wilson’s great senatorial antagonist who fought to keep America out of the League of Nations
n0. Head of the War Industries Board, which attempted to impose some order on U.S. war production
o0. Socialist leader who won nearly a million votes as a presidential candidate while in federal prison for antiwar activities
Put the following events in correct order by numbering them from 1 to 5.0
01. __________ Germany’s resumption of submarine warfare forces the United States into a declaration of war.
02. __________ The Senate’s final defeat of the Versailles treaty and a Republican election victory end Wilson’s last hopes for American entry into the League of Nations.
03. __________ The United States takes the first hesitant steps toward preparedness in the event of war.
04. __________ The effectiveness of American combat troops in crucial battles helps bring about an Allied victory in World War I.
05. __________ Wilson struggles with other Allied leaders in Paris to hammer out a peace treaty and organize the postwar world.
00001F. 0Matching Cause and Effect
Match the historical cause in the left column with the proper effect in the right column by writing the correct letter on the blank line.
01. 0___ Germany’s resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare
02. ___ Wilson’s Fourteen Points
03. ___ The wartime atmosphere of emotional patriotism and fear
04. ___ Women’s labor in wartime factories
05. ___ The migration of African Americans to northern cities
06. ___ American troops’ entry into combat in the spring and summer of 1918
07. ___ Wilson’s political blunders in the fall of 1918
08. ___ The strong diplomatic demands of France, Italy, and Japan
09. ___ Senator Lodge’s tactics of delaying and proposing reservations in the Versailles treaty
010. ___ Wilson’s refusal to accept any reservations supported by Lodge0.
a0. Led to major racial violence in Chicago and East St. Louis, Illinois
b0. Forced Democrats to vote against a modified treaty and killed American participation in the League of Nations
c0. Stopped the final German offensive and turned the tide toward Allied victory
d0. Allowed domestic disillusionment and opposition to the treaty and League to build strength
e0. Finally pushed the United States into World War I
f0. Weakened the president’s position during the peacemaking process
g0. Caused harsh attacks on German Americans and other Americans who opposed the war
h0. Lifted Allied and American spirits and demoralized Germany and its allies
i0. Forced Wilson to compromise his Fourteen Points in order to keep the League as part of the peace treaty
j0. Helped pass the Nineteenth Amendment but did not really change society’s emphasis on the maternal role
00001G. 0Developing Historical Skills
This exercise involves analyzing visual propaganda designed to make emotional appeals on behalf of a cause. In this case, the propaganda was designed to enlist the American public’s support for the war effort against Germany. The kinds of propaganda used on behalf of a cause can tell the historian a great deal about what issues were perceived to be at stake and what public values were being appealed to.
Answer the following questions about the cartoons and drawings in this chapter.
10. Anti-German Propaganda (p.749): How do the words and image of this poster work together to persuade an American audience to buy liberty loans? Besides the specific message, what general portrait of Germany, the war, and America’s reasons for fighting are conveyed?
02. Patriotic Persuasion (p. 749): How does this army recruitment poster convey the idea that both patriotism and social solidarity can be served by joining the military? At what social class of young man is the poster evidently aimed?
30. Food for Thought (p. 755): How does this poster visually make the connection between the patriotic war effort and gardens? What specific words or phrases create the link between women’s food-growing effort and military service on fields of combat? What specific appeal is this image making to women?
10. What caused American entry into World War I, and how did Wilson turn the war into an ideological crusade?
20. What did American women gain from their participation in the war effort? What did they fail to obtain?
30. What was America’s military and ideological contribution to the Allied victory?
40. How were the goals of the war presented to the American public? Did these lofty and idealistic goals eventually contribute to the deep American disillusionment at the conclusion of the war? Why or why not?
50. How was Wilson forced to compromise during the peace negotiations, and why did America, in the end, refuse to ratify the treaty and join the League of Nations?
06. Do you agree that despite Wilson’s failure to obtain all his goals, he made the Versailles Peace Treaty much better than it would have been had he not been in Paris? Why or why not?
70. Apart from such immediate factors as the Lodge-Wilson antagonism, what general features of earlier American history worked against American involvement in European affairs and participation in the League of Nations?
80. Do you agree that the final responsibility for the failure of America to join the League of Nations lies with Woodrow Wilson rather than with his opponents like Henry Cabot Lodge? Why or why not?
09. What really caused the overwhelming Republican victory in the election of 1920?
100. Ever since World War I and its aftermath, many of the fundamental debates about American foreign policy have been defined by whether the United States should pursue Wilsonianism or not. Using the account of Wilson’s policies in the text and “Varying Viewpoints,” outline the essential principles of Wilsonianism and explain why they have been so powerful and yet so controversial in American history.
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