Armed Hostilities

American Neutrality and Contribution in the Great War


The Great War is an important event, which influenced the flow of the history Nonetheless, a combination of the factors such as the development of nationalism, militarism, and imperialism in Europe and establishment of the alliance system could be regarded as the critical drivers for the advancement of the Great War. As for the United States of America, despite its neutrality in 1914-1917, the country was able to change the flow of events in the world history and contribute to the end of the war and defeat of the Treaty of Versailles.

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Nationalism, Imperialism, and Militarism as the Key Drivers

Firstly, the rise of nationalism, imperialism, and militarism in the European states can be regarded as the core definer of the development of the Great War. One of the examples of the changes in Europe is Pan-Slavism, as it has a perception of the necessity of unity of the Slavic nations while increasing the power of this ethnic group (Murray, 2013). In turn, this movement was also aiming at the recognition of the Slavic nation in the world while combining nationalistic features (Murray, 2013).

Meanwhile, the nationalistic movement was gaining popularity in Germany, and it combined the principles of militarism and imperialism. Nonetheless, the critical goal of Germany was to increase its recognition in the world while expanding its territories and prioritizing its nation (Rosenthal & Rodic, 2015). It could be said that Pan-Slavism and German nationalism were the powerful ideologies, which gained control of the population in Europe. In this instance, a combination of the aspects mentioned above contributed to the rise of the forces while uniting the exceptional characteristics of each movement and was a primary cause of the introduction of the military actions while prioritizing the representatives of one nation only.

Alliance System and the War

Meanwhile, the alliance system had a high contribution while being able to alter the flow of events in the Great War. The creation of treaties was one of the causes of the development of the conflicting sides, as it tended to unify the nations with similar opinions regarding nationalism, imperialism, and militarism. In this case, the presence of the parties with different perceptions about the political regime and social structure assisted in the rise of conflict. Nonetheless, Germany defined the actions of the alliance while modifying the system, gaining support for its activities, and strengthening its supremacy globally (Hamilton & Herwig, 2003). Consequently, the alliance system was a contributor to the growth of nationalistic Germany in power with the simultaneous escalation of the conflict.

Factors that Drew the USA in the War

As for the United States of America, the country did not participate in the war at the beginning, but there is an extended variety of factors, which could be regarded as the drivers for the involvement in the process. Its participation is defined by the violation of the agreement by Germany while sinking American submarines (Zieger, 2001).

This event not only caused damage to the country but also questioned whether the United States of America made the right decision to use the isolationism and neutrality as the critical strategies. In turn, another aspect is highly related to the event described above, as it questioned the safety and security of the United States of America due to the possibility of the development of further attacks in the recent future (Zieger, 2001). The overall economic and social stability of the country was in danger while affecting the trade relationships and it was essential to change the attitudes regarding the involvement of military action to shorten the war.

American Neutrality

Nonetheless, the American neutrality has to be explained, as, otherwise, the rationale for avoiding the war is unclear. Firstly, the United States did not want to participate in World War I and maintained isolated at the beginning, as the war requires a significant investment and tends to disturb the life of the civilians (Carey, 2012).

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Furthermore, the rapid advancement and positive changes in the American industry contributed to the necessity to remain isolated to encourage economic growth. Secondly, the politics of multiculturalism and the intercultural construction of the social segment could be viewed as another factor for neutrality (Doenecke, 2010). In this case, it was difficult to determine the potential definers of selecting sides, as a variety of the representatives from the different countries made the decision-making impossible. In this case, the United States of America had to continue its development and trade and wait for the appearance of the event as a catalyst to select the right side.

America’s Contribution to the War

Despite the remaining neutrality at the beginning, America affected the flow of the war substantially while using effective tactics. The unexpected joining of the American army had a shocking impact on Germany’s allies (Zieger, 2001). This event led to the demobilization of the German Army and the shortening of the war. Nonetheless, it has to be mentioned that the United States’ contribution was not limited to the militaristic support since the country provided its allies with nourishment, intellectual help, and financial support (Doenecke, 2010). In this instance, the role of the United States of America cannot be underestimated, as it increased the probability of success and improved the conditions of the countries while offering assistance and monetary funding.

Conclusion: Reasons for Defeat of the Treaty of Versailles and Role of the United States of America

In the end, the sophisticated strategies of all participants led to the defeat of the Treaty of Versailles. In this case, the failure of the functioning of the Treaty occurred due to the several reasons including the underestimation of the power of the opponents, the establishment of League of Nations, the lack of unity among the allied countries, inability to prevent the World War II, and unfair conditions for different nations. In this case, the presence of these matters is defined by the incapability of the countries to follow the rules and the lack of actions to minimize the power of Germany (Anievas, 2014). In turn, Germany continued the violation of the statements while continuing the occupation of the neighboring countries due to the lack of the enforcing mechanism (Anievas, 2014). The Treaty of Versailles was another event, which played the role of the catalyst for the Second World War and defined the power of Germany.

Meanwhile, the role of the United States of America cannot be unnoticed, as the country was a substantial player in history and shortened the war while introducing the importance of peace. President Wilson played a considerable part in the history while affecting the involvement of the United States of America in the war. Meanwhile, he established the League of Nations, which had a positive influence on the cultivation of the importance of peace in the world (Anievas, 2014; Doenecke, 2010). On the other hand, it could be considered as a primary cause of the Treaty’s failure due to the lack of support from the United States (Anievas, 2014). In the end, despite the politics of isolation at the beginning, the United States of America was able to influence the flow of the war in a positive direction while limiting the power of Germany.


Anievas, A. (2014). International relations between the war and revolution: Wilsonian diplomacy and the making of the Treaty of Versailles. International Politics, 51(5), 619-647.

Carey, C. (2012). Mr. Wilson’s war: Peace, neutrality, and entangling alliances in Hemmingway’s In Our Time. The Hemmingway Review, 31(2), 6-26.

Doenecke, J. (2010). The will to believe: Woodrow Wilson, World War I, and America’s strategy for peace and security. Journal of Interdisplinary History, 41(2), 321-323.

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Hamilton, R., & Herwig, H. (2003). The origins of World War I. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Murray, C. (2013). Encyclopedia of the romantic era, 1760-1850. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group.

Rosenthal, L., & Rodic, V. (2015). The new nationalism and the First World War. The American Historical Review, 120(2), 763-764.

Zieger, R. (2001). America’s Great War: World War I and the American experience. Oxford, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

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