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Why did the United States abandon its neutrality and enter World War 1 in 1917?

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Newell Kautzer eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The United States's motivations to break the declaration of neutrality and enter World War I were rooted in economic and strategic motivations. The United States had given several Allied countries huge financial loans, and as events progressed, the United States became more concerned with ensuring the success of the Allied countries and their abilities to pay back the loans. The United States also had a vested interest in the ending of the war, as Britain and France had enacted a trade blockade against several Baltic and mid- or Eastern European neutral countries. This move by the Allied countries angered US merchants, but US public sentiment was generally much more sympathetic to the British and French than to Germany, Austria-Hungary, or Turkey.

In 1915, a merchant ship that left from New York, the Lusitania, was sunk by German submarines. Public opinion in the United States became even more hostile toward the Central Powers and more drawn to the idea of US military involvement. In 1917,...

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