U.S. Involvement in World War I

Anti-German Propaganda
Imperial War Museum, London
Event Date Location Significance 
Archduke Ferdinand assassinated June 28, 1914 Sarajevo, Bosnia Unsteady alliances erupt into war as Russia, Serbia's ally, begins to mobilize
Germany declares war on Russia and France August 1, 1914 Although guaranteeing Belgian neutrality, Germans march through Belgium into France.
Nations align for war August 1914 Bulgaria and Turkey join Germany and Austria-Hungary in the Central Powers. France, England, Russia (later Japan and Italy) join the Allied Powers
Wilson declares U.S. neutrality August 4, 1914 Washington, D.C. Reflecting strong public opinion, Wilson states that U.S. will not join the war
Germany declares waters around British Isles a war zone February 15, 1915 Neutral vessels are warned of potential u-boat attacks. Wilson warns Germany that it would be accountable for any loss of American life
Lusitania sunk by Germans May 7, 1915 Off coast of Ireland Torpedoed without warning, the Lusitania sinks in 18 minutes, killing 1198 (128 Americans)
Arabic Pledge September 1, 1915 Berlin Germany promises not to sink unarmed liners following sinking of British liner Arabic
Sussex Pledge May 31, 1916 Berlin Following sinking of French steamer Sussex, Germany again agrees to "visit and search" rules, but insists that Great Britain should also agree to obey international laws regarding freedom of the seas
Wilson wins 1916 presidential election November 1916 U.S. Declaring "he kept us out of war," Wilson and Democrats barely defeat Hughes and Republicans (277 to 254 in electoral college)
Wilson calls for "peace without victory" January 22, 1917 Washington, D.C. Frustrated with his efforts to mediate a peace, Wilson becomes convinced that both sides needed to cease hostilities
Germany resumes unlimited submarine warfare January 31, 1917 Berlin Confident that U.S. help would be too late, Germany seeks to starve England into submission
Zimmermann note discovered February 1917 Berlin to Mexico City Foreign minister Zimmermann asks Mexico to join Germany in exchange for return of southwest U.S. British intercept message
Wilson asks Congress for greater powers February 1917 Washington, D.C. Senate, led by La Follette of Wisconsin, refuse to grant Wilson power to wage an undeclared naval war
Russian Revolution deposes Czar Nicholas March 15, 1917 Russia Instability in Europe encourages Wilson to act
Wilson asks for declaration of war April 2, 1917 Capitol Building, Washington, D.C. "The world must be made safe for democracy," Wilson insists
Food Administration formed May 1917 Washington, D.C. Herbert Hoover heads effort to conserve food and boost agricultural output
Creel Committee issues official propaganda May 1917 Washington, D.C. Daily "Official Bulletins" seek to convince Americans of the crusade for freedom and democracy and the bestial nature of the "Huns"
War Industries Board created May 1917 Washington, D.C. Led by Bernard Baruch, the WIB set prices and determined what goods should be produced by private industry
Selective Service Act passed May 28, 1917 Washington, D.C. Nearly 10 million men are listed and a lottery chooses first 687,000 to serve. Eventually 3,000,000 men serve as draftees in the war
14 Points declared January 1918 Capitol Building, Washington, D.C. Wilson lists his goals for a war-free world, including a League of Nations
Cantigny May 28, 1918 North of Paris First victory for American troops
Chateau-Thierry May 1918 France French and American troops block German advance
Belleau Wood June 1918 France American forces suffer heavy losses but defeat Germans
Second Battle of the Marne July 1918 France Allied forces defeat Germans who begin retreat east
Meuse-Argonne September to November 1918 Eastern France Gen. Pershing loses 120,000 men (10%) of his troops in heavy fighting
Sedan October 1918 Eastern France American troops cut German supply lines 50 miles behind German front
Germans surrender, expecting a peace drawn up under Wilson's generous 14 Points November 11, 1918 Compiegne, France Worst war in world history is over. 10 million soldiers killed, 10 million civilians die from disease and starvation
Treaty of Versailles signed June 28, 1919 Versailles, France Germany signs treaty drafted by "Big Four" which includes huge reparation demands

 Please cite this source when appropriate:

 Feldmeth, Greg D. "U.S. History Resources"
http://home.earthlink.net/~gfeldmeth/USHistory.html (31 March 1998).

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