The United States and World War I Research Paper



Between 1914 and 1941 the United States was divided between getting involved in international affairs and staying out of them. These two different groups were called isolationism and internationalism. The isolationism is the want to remain independent or apart from other groups. While internationalism was the want to get involved with international affairs such as worldwide trade and other worldly affairs. Their different standings many things difficult for the U.S when deciding important matters.  

An important matter that isolationism and internationalism was whether to enter World War 1. The Isolationist wanted to stay out of the war while the internationalist wanted to go into the War. There were many reasons why the internationalists wanted to go into the war and the isolationist eventually did because of the opposing sides actions. When the Germans invaded the neutral country of Belgium many Americans opinions swayed. The German soldiers marched through Belgium killing civilians and destroying towns. British journalists wrote about Germans actions and this put into perspective for Americans the human cost of the war. President Wilson at the time was also an internationalist and he wanted peace around the world. he was hesitant to join into the war at first. When Germany started sinking their boats though America was infuriated. Germany promised to stop sinking United States passenger ships, but they broke the promise after they sunk the unarmed passenger ship Sussex. Finally, the Zimmerman note was sent to Mexico saying that if they were to go against the U.S in the war Germany would give them land from America. This was the final thing that made Americans join into World War One.  

Another event that the isolationist the internationalists had opinions on was the Great Depression. The Great Depression started in 1929 and was when American economy was at the lowest. During this time the economy faltered, and the unemployment rates were very high. during this time many bank failures occur across the nation. this also happened 2 many American businesses.  The decreases of demand, the stock price is collapsing, and reduced consumer spending this all had very bad effects on American business.  The Great Depression influenced whether America wanted to join World War Two. The isolationists didn’t want to join because of the economic situation at the time. 

World War Two was an event that isolationists and internationalists debated on. The public opinion at the time of World War Two supported isolationism. As stated, the Great Depression had a big effect on whether to join the war or not which made many public people not want too. To keep from making the mistake again Congress passed the Neutrality Act of 1939. This put in place a cash and carry act which ended up having a better effect for the Allies due to British's navy's control of the seas. Many people thought that Roosevelt’s open support of the Allies broke the Neutrality Act. Isolationists claimed that doing this was automictically harming the Axis powers and would be like the U.S being involved. The United States eventually put in place the Lead-Lease Act which helped the Allies a lot.  This act was when America sending military help to its allies. They ended up giving around 40 billion dollars of help to the Allies. As the Isolationists predicted Germany found out and sent U-boats to attack American ships. This made war seem inevitable with Germany. 

The isolationists and internationalists had different views on the events that occurred between 1914 and 1941. These events had a very similar beginning. In both wars, a series of events caused by the opposing powers caused both internationalists and isolationists to agree that going to war was necessary. These two sides both gave vital views on World War 1 and World War 2 and helped weigh the costs and causes for war.