Ap Us History Dbq

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At the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914, president Woodrow Wilson promised to the U.S a position of noninvolvement. This stance was evident when Wilson delivered his declaration of Neutrality to the U.S Senate in 1914. This position was very popular and widely supported by Americans due to the substantial distance between America and the war as well as the lack of threat posed by the Germans. Over time however, a variety of incidences forced a change in the American isolationist position on the war to one of radical support for involvement. The conditions leading to the shift in position regarding the war were marked by two main events, the sinking of the Lusitania and the American interception of the Zimmerman Note. The Americans had an agreement that they wouldn’t export weapons or ammunition to any of the major powers, however, as the chart shows in Document C, Britian the largest importer of American goods. Because of this, the German submarines in the Pacific had a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare, or sinking anything they deemed necessary for the war effort. The Germans did this under the pretense that British ships were supposedly waving the American flag as a ruse to avoid detection by German Subs, highlighted in President Wilsons first warning to the Germans in Document H. The German sinking of the ship Luisitana, a passenger ship containing more than 100 Americans, sparked an American demand for an end to unrestricted submarine warfare by the Germans. This demand can be seen in the letter sent by Secretary of State Lansing to the U.S ambassador to Germany. Despite this and a mandate by President Wilson to end attacks on passenger boats, Germany resumed the policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. The Lusitania's sinking was the primary influence on the American decision to enter the war. The Germans were not solely responsible for this chaos
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