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WWI and Wilsonian Ideals.docx

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Political Science
POLI 346
Mark Brawley

World War I & Wilsonian Ideals Explaining Entry into the War  neo-classical realist: responding to the threat by external balancing  analytical liberal approach: domestic groups preferred joining allies  constructivism: “the „right‟ thing to do” American Interests & the War  had avoided commitments and entanglements with Europe - Teddy Roosevelt had already been arguing that the US had interests far outside its borders and they had to be politically involved there - engage in economic activity, not political; had been the predominant approach  resulted in the undeclared war with France  approach had its flaws  Europeans tied together in alliance, which are activated in 1914  everyone is committed to help someone if conflict breaks out  waterfall effect starts from a small conflict in the Balkans - the US had managed to remain outside these entangling alliances  what was the buffer between the US and the other great powers? - the Atlantic Ocean  controlled by the British Royal Navy - the Americans are threatened with the fear that someone else will gain control of the Atlantic  the Royal Navy is important, not necessarily the distance  Germany challenged Britain‟s position  arms race Wilson and Neutrality  Wilson hoped to use American diplomacy to end the war – so he held the US impartial  trying to be different, American Exceptionalism  superiority, moral high ground  Wilson wanted the US involved (but thought „carrying a big stick‟ was not necessary)  in fact, in 1915 Wilson was angered to see press reports that US General Staff had prepared plans for a possible war with Germany - undermines Wilson‟s position that the US is better Provocations  Wilson spends 1914-1915 saying the US is neutral and different, will continue trading with everybody  Britain and Germany are both fighting a naval war - Britain laid bombs not just to stop the Germans but the neutrals as well - Germany relied on submarines  to sink merchant ships they would battle on the surface as they couldn‟t carry many torpedoes  so there was guns put on merchant ships  things are being influenced by technology - Americans suffer from the blocked trade – Wilson responds on legal grounds o prior to entry into the war, the US lost 6 merchant ships, plus 4 damaged, due to submarines – only 3 Americans killed o 176 had died on foreign ships - laws of warfare on the high seas outdated  the American position was highly dubious - the Americans sided with the democracies  Presidential election in 1916 - Zimmermann telegram sent January 1917 o Germans sent to Mexico o warned that the Americans may join the triple entente, in which case the Mexicans
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