“With a profound sense of the solemn and even tragical character of the step I am taking and of the grave responsibilities which it involves, but in unhesitating obedience to what I deem my constitutional duty, I advise that the Congress declare the recent course of the Imperial German Government to be in fact nothing less than war against the Government and people of the United States; that it formally accept the status of belligerent which has thus been thrust upon it, and that it take immediate steps not only to put the country in a more thorough state of defense but also to exert all its power and employ all its resources to bring the Government of the German Empire to terms and end the war.”—President Woodrow Wilson, from a message to Congress, April 2, 1917
a. Briefly explain the point of view about U.S. entry into World War I expressed by the author.b. Briefly explain ONE development in the period 1914-1917 that could be used to support the point of view expressed by the author.c. Briefly explain ONE development in the period 1914-1917 that could be used to challenge the point of view expressed by the author.
a. The point of view expressed by President Woodrow Wilson in this statement is that the United States should enter World War I and declare war on the German Empire. He sees the recent actions of the German government as tantamount to an act of war against the United States, and he believes it is the constitutional duty of the Congress to respond accordingly. Wilson acknowledges the seriousness and gravity of this decision but believes it is necessary to defend the government and people of the United States.
b. One development that could be used to support Wilson’s point of view is the unrestricted submarine warfare carried out by Germany. In 1915, Germany began sinking merchant ships without warning in the waters surrounding the British Isles, which resulted in the loss of American lives and the destruction of American property. The sinking of the British ocean liner RMS Lusitania in May 1915, which resulted in the deaths of 128 Americans, was a particularly significant event that inflamed public opinion and increased calls for U.S. involvement in the war.
c. One development that could be used to challenge Wilson’s point of view is the concept of American neutrality and the desire to stay out of the European conflict. Prior to the U.S. entry into World War I, there was a strong sentiment among some Americans, including Wilson himself, to remain neutral and avoid becoming entangled in the war. Supporters of this viewpoint argued that the war was a European conflict and did not directly threaten U.S. interests. They believed that the United States should focus on its own affairs and refrain from involvement in foreign wars.