World War I.

Analyze how the forces of nationalism, imperialism, and militarism irrevocably led to World War I. Pay particular attention to the rise of Pan-Slavism in Eastern Europe and the corresponding rise of nationalism in German-speaking states. Analyze how the alliance system contributed to the ultimate outbreak of war.

*analyze the events that drew the United States into World War I.
*Clearly discuss why America first remained neutral between1914-1917.
*What role did ethnicity play in America’s neutrality?
*Then identify and analyze the specific events that led to America’s entrance into the war. *Evaluate America’s contribution to the war effort and to what extent America’s entry contributed to the end of the war. A
*Analyze the events that led to the defeat of the Treaty of Versailles. What effect did this have on America’s role in the world during the 1920s and 1930s? Pay particular attention to the role of President Woodrow Wilson both during and after the war, in particular, his efforts to establish the League of Nations

World War 1


World War 1 was a huge conflict that occurred in 1914 and lasted in 1918 (Mulligan, 2016). The war was among the Allies and the Central Powers who were the greatest powers at that time. A chain of events which consisted of strategic features such as alliances, imperialism, nationalism, and growth of militarism evoked the war. The paper, therefore, presents an analysis of how nationalism, militarism, and imperialism contributed to World War 1, actions that propelled the United States into World War 1 and why America was not taking sides between1914-1917. The paper further analyzes the role that ethnicity played in America’s neutrality, and the actions that resulted in the collapse of the Treaty of Versailles.

How World War 1 was propelled by Nationalism, Imperialism, and Militarism

Nationalism is a situation where citizens of a country place the interests of their nation above other nations’ interests (Campbell & Hall, 2015). Before war broke out, people gained extreme confidence in their governments and militaries. Nationalism assured them that their countries were righteous and fair. On the other hand, nationalism demonized rival countries, and perceived them as uncivilized and deceitful. Many citizens were convinced that their nations were being threatened by the rival nations.

Furthermore, in Eastern Europe, Pan-Slavism, the belief that Slavic people ought to have their country, was an influential. Pan-Slavism was opposed to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and its control. Young Serbs joined radical nationalist groups like the Black Hand as they were provoked by Vienna’s invasion of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The alliance anticipated to drive Austria-Hungary from the Balkans and create a Greater Serbia, a united nation for all Slavic societies. The pan-Slavic patriotism stirred the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914, an occurrence that resulted in the eruption of the First World War (Murray, 2015).

In regards to imperialism, France and Britain had the massive empires. However, Germany persistently attempted to become stronger and bigger. Germany specifically wanted to enlarge its power, wealth, and international image. Besides, the quest for respects, power, larger markets, raw materials, and new territories created tensions and rivalry among European powers. European states started to attain colonies in Africa, Pacific as well as in Asia. The imperialistic expansion reached its climax between 1895 and 1905 (Bath, 2015). The colonial competition resulted in tensions amongst the Europeans. With the exception of Austria and Russia, other European states had established colonies in Africa. As a result, Germany, France, Italy, and Britain started to clash with each other, which eventually led to war.

Concerning militarism, there emerged competition for weapons after 1870 all over Europe (Halperin, 2004). Although the weapons were intended for the security of the nations, the high demand resulted in suspicions, fear as well as hatred among nations. Furthermore, France and Germany strived to establish superior armies since Britain had a strong navy. As a result, countries started to build massive armies secretly. The secret plans provided an incentive for intelligence activities, which subsequently led to more fear as well as hatred. The tension between Britain and Germany intensified which resulted in the outburst of World War 1.

Events That Drew the United States into World War 1

The US made efforts not to participate in the war as it viewed the war as an affair of the European nations. However, in 1917, President Woodrow Wilson’s policy as well as the opinion of the public resulted in the US to enter into the war due to some reasons.

First, it was due to the German atrocities in Belgium. Stories emerged that defenseless citizens were being killed in Belgium by the German soldiers. Even though some of the stories were British propaganda, they created anti-German sentiments amongst Americans, which contributed to America joining the war.

Second, the businesspeople of America wanted the Allies to succeed in the war since many of them funded British and French with bonds and loans. The defeat of the Allies meant that the lenders would not be able to regain their money. Therefore, many businessmen campaigned for US to assist the Allied forces.

Also, when the Germans sunk the Lusitania ship, US was provoked to join the war. Germans sunk a British passenger ship off the coast of Ireland which led to the death of hundreds of Americans. As a result, Americans became enraged which amplified anti-German emotions in America. Moreover, Germany refused to end the attacks on allied ships, and thus violated the policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. As a consequence, the US public opinion encouraged Congress to declare war on Germany.

Another event that made the US participate in the war is the receiving of the Zimmerman telegram. In 1917, Arthur Zimmermann, who was the German Foreign Minister sent a telegram to Mexico which proposed that should the US declare war on Germany, Mexico should declare war on the US. As an outcome, Mexico would regain the territory that it lost in the Mexican-American War. The telegram was intercepted by the British and handed it to the Americans. Even though Mexico lacked the intention to declare war on the US, the telegram mobilized Americans against the Central Powers.

Why America First Remained Neutral Between1914-1917

When the First World War broke out, the United States chose to remain neutral since entering into the war would be contradictory to the predominant progressive spirit of that time since America had a tradition of staying away from fights that involve European nations. Another significant reason for the neutrality was the fact that the United States wanted to remain in a position to continue trading with European countries (Taylor, 2009). Trade was a critical aspect of the US economy since losing European trade would result in the loss of a great deal of money.

 Role That Ethnicity Played in America’s Neutrality

America consisted of European immigrants, and also a good number of American citizens were children of the European immigrants or had been born in Europe. Therefore, they wished to remain neutral, while some sympathized with the Allies. Specifically, the ethnic groups had poetical loyalties to Europe, especially the German Americans and the Irish Americans.

America’s Contribution to World War 1

The entry of America into World War 1 contributed greatly to the end of the war. The U.S. contributed by offering money, raw materials as well as supplies. Furthermore, the US mobilized military personnel who greatly assisted the Allied armies to strengthen their strategic positions and in boosting their morale.

The Collapse of the Treaty of Versailles

President Woodrow Wilson was the driving force behind the League of Nations. As the war neared its end, Wilson looked forward for peace. Wilson suggested for the establishment of an international organization that would serve as a forum for preventing the escalation of conflicts. While other participants of the treaty embraced the League, America’s seclusion tradition repressed the treaty.

Wilson encountered intense antagonism. Henry Cabot Lodge who was the Republican leader of the Senate doubted both Wilson and the treaty (Powaski, 2017). The League of Nations article X required the US to respect territorial integrities of other members. Besides, Lodge viewed the League as a multinational administration that would limit US’s power from establishing its own undertakings. Also, other Americans thought the League was an entangling alliance the US had evaded. Therefore, Lodge sabotaged the League agreement as he declared the US exempted from Article X. He demanded amendments and reservations to the treaty (Wertheim, n.d). At that time, Wilson was bedridden and could not accept the alterations. Wilson asked Senate Democrats not to vote in favor of the Treaty of Versailles unless the reservations demanded by Lodge were dropped. None of the sides budged, resulting in the defeat of the treaty.


Various factors led to the outbreak of World War 1. Such factors include militarism, imperialism, and nationalism. The United States did not take sides during the war from 1914 to 1917 mainly because it wanted to remain in a position to continue trading with European countries. However, it joined the war due to the German atrocities in Belgium, American businessmen had many interests in the Allied victory, and many of them funded British and French and wanted to recover their money. Also, the sinking of the Lusitania ship, Germany’s violation of unrestricted submarine warfare, and receiving of the Zimmerman telegram contributed to America joining the war.




Bath, B. (2015). Imperialism. International Encyclopedia of the First World War.

Campbell J. & Hall, J. (2015). Small States, Nationalism and Institutional Capacities: An Explanation of the Difference in Response of Ireland and Denmark to the Financial Crisis. European Journal of Sociology, 56

Halperin, S. (2004). Dynamics of Conflict and System Change: The Great Transformation Revisited. European Journal of International Relations, 10(2), 263-306.

Mulligan, W. (2016). The Historiography of the Origins of the First World War 1. International Encyclopedia of the First World War.

Murray, J. (2015). Tuberculosis and World War I. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 192(4).

Powaski R.E. (2017) Woodrow Wilson Versus Henry Cabot Lodge: The Battle over the League of Nations, 1918–1920. In: American Presidential Statecraft.

Taylor, S. (2009). A Comparative Study of America ‘s Entries into World War I and World War II.

Wertheim, S. (n.d). The League That Wasn’t: American Designs for a Legalist-Sanctionist League of Nations and the Intellectual Origins of International Organization, 1914–1920. The Journal of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

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