Were the reasons which brought the US into war with Germany justifiable?Were the reasons which brought the US into war with Germany justifiable?

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The United States entered the war with Germany because Germany attacked our allies, specifically Great Britain. We intended to remain isolationist, so we did not directly attack in Europe until the Japanese, allies of the Germans, attacked us in 1941.
pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I assume that you are asking about WWI since in WWII it was Germany that declared war on the US.

I would argue that, among the US's reasons for going to war with Germany, there were reasons that were justifiable and reasons that there were not justifiable.

The most justifiable reason was the reason of German submarine attacks on neutral shipping.  It makes sense that America would have been upset by German actions that led to the deaths of American citizens.  It is true that the British also prevented American ships from having freedom of the seas, but they did so with surface ships and therefore did not kill anyone.

The less justifiable reason has to do with money.  A major reason why the US took the Allies' side was that the Allies owed the Americans much more money than the Germans did.  Therefore, the US had a financial interest in having the Allies win.  This seems like rather a mercenary and unprincipled reason to go to war.

A reason that was more in between was the Zimmermann Telegram.  It was certainly provocative for the Germans to make that offer to Mexico.  However, the US could easily have ignored it because it was not likely ever to happen.

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