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Humpday History Highlight

By Wyatt Earp | August 4, 2010

August 4, 1914 – U.S. Proclaims WWI Neutrality

Yeah, President Wilson, how did that work out for us?

As World War I erupts in Europe, President Woodrow Wilson formally proclaims the neutrality of the United States; a position a vast majority of Americans favored. However, Wilson’s hope that America could be “impartial in thought as well as in action” was soon compromised by Germany’s attempted quarantine of the British Isles. Britain was one of America’s closest trading partners, and tension arose between the United States and Germany when several U.S. ships traveling to Britain were damaged or sunk by German mines.

In February 1915, Germany announced unrestricted warfare against all ships, neutral or otherwise, that entered the war zone around Britain. One month later, Germany announced that a German cruiser had sunk the William P. Frye, a private American vessel that was transporting grain to England when it disappeared. President Wilson was outraged, but the German government apologized and called the attack an unfortunate mistake.

Being a spineless coward, Wilson accepted the apology. The Americans started shipping war material to Britain, but it took three years and the sinking of the Lusitania to push Wilson into action. The war declaration was ratified on April 6, 1917.

Topics: HHH | 8 Comments »

8 Responses to “Humpday History Highlight”

  1. lergnom Says:
    August 4th, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Heinlein(or his characters) called Wilson “that pusillanimous presbyterian parson”

  2. Robert B. Says:
    August 4th, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Had the US stayed out of “The Great War,” the Europeans may have fought themselves to a standstill in a short time. And, after tired of a stalemate and the loss of so many on both sides, negotiated a more equitable peace treaty than the one imposed upon the Germans at Versailles. And That may have prevented Hitler from rallying the Germans to his brand of socialism. Coulod have prevented WWII.

    Just some food for thought (and, knowing our group of commenters, some heated discussion). Dig in…

  3. deadcenter Says:
    August 4th, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Wilson did quite a bit of work behind the scenes to make sure we were ready to join that war the instant there was sufficient provocation.

  4. Simon Oliver Lockwood Says:
    August 5th, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Wilson did quite a bit of work behind the scenes to make sure we were ready to join that war the instant there was sufficient provocation.

    You mean like forbidding the Army from making any contingency plans? That would have been un-neutral behavior!

  5. Veeshir Says:
    August 5th, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Interesting Robert B. considering I had an interesting idea last night.
    I was watching Futurama last night, they were time travelling by Nazi Germany when the Professor shot Hitler.

    I was thinking that Hitler was a symptom, not the disease and that shooting Wilson would have done a better job of stopping WWII than shooting Hitler.

  6. Wyatt Earp Says:
    August 5th, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Lergnom – Hold on, I’m getting my dictionary . . .

    Robert B. – Well, at least in Europe. Japan probably would have still attacked Pearl Harbor.

    Deadcenter – With a little help from Teddy Roosevelt and his Great White Fleet.

    Simon – I’m no fan of Wilson, but I don’t decry him as much as others did. His biggest failing, in my opinion, was the League of Nations. Not that the UN isn’t any better . . .

    Veeshir – Of course, if the German populace wasn’t so easily swayed by Hitler – and woke up soon enough – it may never have happened, either.

  7. Robert B. Says:
    August 5th, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Wyatt, Perhaps Japan would have thought twice about it, had the US government been less involved (Lend-Lease comes to mind) with the european conflict.

    But, IMHO, the real cause of the US being attacked was the downsizing of our military after WWI. We were seen as being weak and uncommitted, willing to acquiesce to a stronger foe’s demands. (Sound like history or the present?)

  8. Wyatt Earp Says:
    August 6th, 2010 at 12:21 am

    Robert B – Yup. Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet was about 40 years old, and while the Arizona, et al, were nice battleships, they were not the Iowa class juggernauts.