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Why did the U.S. finally enter WWI?

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meepashh | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 26, 2013 at 9:01 PM via iOS

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Why did the U.S. finally enter WWI?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 26, 2013 at 9:13 PM (Answer #1)

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There are two main factors that led the United States to enter World War I after having stayed neutral for so long.

First, there was the fact that the Germans had resumed unlimited submarine warfare.  This had been a point of contention between Germany and the US for most of the war.  The Germans had stopped using the tactic for a time, but started up again in January of 1917.  A number of American ships were sunk in March of that year, leading to the declaration of war in April.   The US felt that this type of warfare was illegal and inhumane.  The government also did not like the fact that it reduced American trade with Britain.

The other immediate cause was the Zimmermann Telegram, which tried to persuade Mexico to enter the war so as to keep the US tied down at home and unable to help the Allies in Europe.  This angered many Americans.  Americans were particularly angered by the fact that the Germans offered to give Mexico land that the US had taken from it in the Mexican-American War. 

These two factors led to the end of US neutrality in this war.

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