Module 12: The American Entry

Why did America declare war on the Central Powers in 1917?


  • Strachan, The First World War, TBD

Watch the following YouTube videos:

  • The PBS documentary, part 1

  • The PBS documentary, part 2

Participate in the Discussion Forum:

  1. List three salient facts that you learned from your reading and viewing of the material above.

  2. Read this text of the Zimmerman Telegram and Zimmermann’s confirmation of the telegram’s authenticity. Does this sound like a causus belli (reason for war) to you?

  3. Read Woodrow Wilson’s response to the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare. How does it figure in with his address to Congress two months later requesting a declaration of war?

  4. On my Great War blog, do a category search for the term “American Entry” and read the posts that come up. Comment on something from one of the posts that strikes you as interesting.

  5. After you have completed all the activities in this module, post to the “What I still have questions about” link. (You can find my responses to the questions from Module 11 here.)

View my lectures: 

  • Why did America enter the War? (pdf)

  • Building the AEF (pdf)

Write a brief reflective essay on one of the following:

  • What reasons have been given for the American entry? Which makes sense to you?

  • How was American mobilization similar to that of the other Powers and how was it different?

  • What was involved in creating an American army?

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