Sunday, February 17, 2008

DBQ: When World War I broke out, the United States declared its policy of neutrality. Was the United States ever neutral in the conflict, and if so...

Prior to World Was I, the United States was concerned with reform at home, and expanding beyond its borders. Domestic policy during this time called for fair treatment for labor and public. Yet at the dawn of World War I, this changed in order to accomodate foreign markets at war. The United States tried to stay out of war. However, doing so did not make them neutral. United States policy regarding the sinking of vessels, the protection of American travelers, trading and lending, and personal feelings show that the Unites States' "true spirit of neutrality" (Doc. A) was not very true after all.

The first sign showing America was not neutral is Wilson's reaction to the sinking of the Lusitania. Prior to the sinking, the Germans were already dealing with the British Blockade. Thus, enforcing unrestricted submarine warfare. After the sinking, President Wilson demanded reparations. Therefore, he dug the nation into further conflict, and was clearly gearing America towards war. So clear was his war encouraging reaction, that anti-war secratary of state Byran resigned.

Another sinking that eventually led to war was that of the Sussex. Upon this event, Wilson demanded ultimatum. Interestingly enough, Germany had warned travelers in the war zone to sail "at their own risk" (Doc. E). The United States had a fair warning. Therefore, they basically put themselves in danger because they wanted to.

Unrestricted submarine warface needed to be dealt with one way or another. The first option involved staying off foreign vessels, the second one called for United States entering World War I. Clearly, the United States wanted to be part of the war when the Grove-Melmore Resolution was not passed. This resolution would most likely have significally minimized the deaths of Americans because it would have penalized those who traveled on foreign vessels.

Aside from submarine warfare, the United States was involved in the war prior to officially entering it due to its trading decisions. United States economy boosted because America traded with both the Allies and belligerents. This is evident because the Lusitania had "5468 cases of ammunition" (Doc. F). In other words, the United States was selling arms to England. Any aid to either country at war voids neutrality. So, the United States did not follow its policy of neutrality.

The Zimmerman note brought about angry anti-German sentiments from the American public. However, the Wilson administration was already anti-German with pro-British feelings. Therefore, the Zimmerman nore was interpreted to shape these feelings. Germans wanted to keep "America neutral" (Doc. H). They clearly stated this in the Zimmerman note, which was wrongly used as another excuse to remain involved in World War I affairs.

Wilson cleverly convinced the public that entering the war was the only way to bring about peace. He claimed that the United States was being forced to "take this stand" (Doc. G). However, the Nye Commission later revealed that the doughboys were not the first Americans involved World War I. They uncovered that the American businesses were into the war prior to them.

President Wilson did a fantastic job at masking America's anti-neutrality. Yet, certain actions like the Gore-Melmore Resolution failure and trading with nations show otherwise. The United States was never neutral during World War I.

2 comments:

Mr. Brush said...

For your caliber of writing, I am pretty disappointed. Starting off a paragraph with a document is a no no but to not give substantial O.I. in a DBQ and simply connect the docs is weak for your writing capability. You should have ample space between docs with meaty discussions regarding O.I. I can see a doc in the middle of the first paragraph and not see one again until the third paragraph and so on. Your essay is also AGAIN too brief. Maybe its senioritis or maybe I've been too easy on you but you need to buck up and begin the process of earning grades in this class.

C/D (73)

ryan said...

Stfu doosh if you can write better than do so. @ Bush