On April 6, 1917, the United States joined its allies, Great Britain, France, and Russia, and fought in World War I. The U.S. army was under the command of General John J. Pershing. More than 2 million U.S. soldiers battled and fought on France battlefields during this war. When World War 1 began in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson pledged neutrality (the United States would not support or take part in World War I) for the United States. Many U.S. citizens supported Wilson’s pledge and did not agree with the idea of the U.S. joining World War I and were quite shocked when they did.
Tension and conflict arose between the United States and Germany when the latters attempted to isolate the British Isles. Great Britain and the United States were great trading partners, so this led the United States to join World War I. German mines damaged and even sunk several U.S. ships traveling to Great Britain. In February 1915, Germany declared unrestricted warfare (a type of warfare in which submarines sink ships used for trading) against all ships, involved in the war or not, that entered any war zone around Great Britain. One month later, on January 27, 1915, Germany announced that the German Cruiser sunk the William P. Fyre, which was an American Merchant ship used for shipping. The ship was named after Maine senator from 1871-1881, William P. Fyre. President Wilson was furious, but the German government had apologized and said the attack was an unfortunate mistake.
On May 7, 1915, Great Britain’s Lusitania ocean liner was attacked and sunk by Germany in the Celtic Sea, just off the coast of Ireland. There were 1,959 passengers on the ship, 1,198 people were killed, 128 Americans were killed. The German Government later said that the Lusitania was storing military weapons and ammunition. However the U.S. was furious and demanded German reparations and an end to their attacks on merchant ships. 4 months later, in August, Germany promised to see the safety of the passengers on these ships before attacking and sinking them. However, in November of that year, Germany sunk an Italian liner with no warning or concern for the safety of the passengers. 272 passengers were killed, 27 of them were American. Not only did Germany break their promise to the United States, but they also killed 155 Americans during both attacks. These attacks caused the United States to have negative opinions toward the German government and army and lead them to join World War I.
In February of 1917, Germany was determined to eliminate the allies and continued the unrestricted warfare policy. After this, the U.S. decided to break every relation and involvement with Germany. That same day, the American liner Housatonic, an American cargo ship, was sunk by a German U-boat. This also lead the United States to join World War I. On February 22, 1917, Congress passed a $250 million bill to help the U.S. army prepare for war. In March 1917, Germany sunk 4 more U.S. ships, and this was the last straw that had lead the United States to join World War 1.
On April 2, 1917, President Wilson came before Congress and requested that the United States go to war against Germany. 4 days later, Congress accepted his request and the United States had yet to prepare for World War I. The United States would be part of the Allies during this war. On June 26, 1917, the first 14,000 American troops arrived in France to begin training for battle. On May 28, 1918, the U.S. fought in their first battle of World War I, the Battle of Cantingy against the German army which took place in Cantingy, France. During this battle, the U.S. army suffered 7 German attacks and nearly 200 U.S. soldiers were killed and 200 were weakened by German gas attacks. However, the U.S. had won this battle, this was great for the Allies. By the time this battle was over, nearly 1,000 American soldiers were injured and killed.
After 4 years of war, beginning on July 28, 1914, and ending on November 11, 1918, the Allies, which included the United States, gained the victory of World War I.
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