Lusitania And America Opinion Essay

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Lusitania and American Opinion
Although the United States was a neutral country in 1914, when German U-boats sank the British passenger ship the Lusitania, the American public began to increasingly disapprove of German actions and began to sympathize with the British and her Allies. The United States’ isolated history with Europe prior to World War I encouraged the country to remain neutral during most of the war. Although World War I started in July 1914 when Serbian nationalists assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the United States did not enter the war until April 1917. The Lusitania, a British passenger liner taken down by the German U-boats in May 1915, caused war sentiment in America to change, which eventually leads to
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This event, and long time tension in Europe, caused a chain reaction involving alliances and ending with World War I (Pendergast 1). Although the United States remained neutral through much of World War I, their ties with the countries involved, especially the Allies, trace back throughout history. America’s relationship with England began when the United States was the thirteen colonies. England was dependent on the colonies to support their empire. However, after a short history of oppression, America declared war and separated from England. Tensions arose again when the War of 1812 breaks out and the British burn the White House. At the time of World War I, the relationship between England and the United States had normalized due to the Great Rapprochement (“American History”). The Great Rapprochement was the union of political, military, and economic ideas between the United States and England. The two countries’ evolving foreign policies reflected each other’s interest. According to Steward Ross, “the East Coast establishment, with powerful cultural, racial, and emotional links with the Anglo-Saxon world, was strongly sympathetic towards the democratic governments of Britain and France” (Ross 37). This natural preference for English ways leads to a stronger support for the Allies from the American people. The British and Americans also had similar culture …show more content…
President Woodrow Wilson called on all people to “be neutral in fact and name” (“World War I: Origins of American Intervention”), but the United States unofficially favored England and her allies. In fact, “the majority of Americans, including president Wilson, sympathized with the Allied cause” (Bosco 20). For example, America reacts differently to the blockades. As neutrals, they could not supply any countries with soldiers but “had a legal right to conduct business with whomever they liked” (Bosco 18). The blockades interrupted American business. Because of the blockades, “the most immediate effect of the war on the United States was the disruption of international trade” (Bosco 18). Because England had the strongest navy in the world, they were able to maintain a blockade against Germany and had greater access to American markets. They tolerated the British blockade against Germany but regarded Germany U-boat attacks as a threat to maritime law, or “laws governing the behavior of ships at sea” (Pendergast 133). This favoritism revealed the nation’s sympathies and ties to Great Britain. English ships interrupted American shipping to Germany, but the nation promised to pay for lost goods with war orders. American banks made loans to Allied governments and England was America’s number one trading partner. As a result of this and the blockade around Germany, the Allied

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