When World War 1 first initiated in Europe

When World War 1 first initiated in Europe in 1914 with the European nations battling against each other, President Woodrow Wilson declared that the United States would remain neutral. However, after German U-boats began attacking and sinking American and other neutral countries vessels carrying innocent passengers and supplies, President Wilson urged Congress in his address to declare war. Wilson expressed that his decision was not based on revenge or demonstration of strength since “property can be paid for while lives of innocent people cannot be,” but President Wilson wanted to vindicate human rights and bring democracy and peace to the world that was under autocratic authority (Doc. 1). The United States must partner with democratic nations in the war to maintain justice and human liberties in the future by fighting any threats to this peace, including autocratic governments.

Overall, President Woodrow Wilson justified the American involvement in the war by arguing not only for self-dense but also peace and democracy around the world through his goals proposed in the Fourteen Points.In June 1918, Eugene V. Debs in Canton, Ohio expressed his opposition to the United States joining World War I. In document 2, Eugene V. Debs mentions leaders not listening to the American people challenging America joining the war.

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He exclaims “what humbug and false pretense” of aristocrats justifying the entrance to war through the idea of “making the world safe for democracy” (Doc 2). Moreover, Sam Johnson concurs that leaders articulate “patriotism as the last refuge to deceive and overawe the people” (Doc 2). Eugene compares American politicians to the feudal lords in the Middle Ages because the wealthy and powerful individuals only declare war and have nothing to lose while the poor and working class were the people actually sacrificing their lives fighting for the cause. There is an error in American education that falsely teaches that “it is their patriotic duty to serve the masters who declared war” without any opportunities to voice their opinions for war (Doc 2). Therefore, Eugene V. Debs in his anti-war speech stresses that the American citizens should be in charge of declaring war.The image reflects the idea that the autocratic governments of the Central Powers is a savage beast that does not consider human life and liberties since it is harming a possibly innocent woman.

It also draws the emotion of the American people to join the army because if they do not enlist in the military, the beast could stomp and encroach on American freedom and liberty. On the contrary view, this ironic picture symbolizes the free speech and democratic values of America being crushed. Since the beast is wearing a hat that says “militarism,” the true opponent for Americans may be the political leaders. The politicians are forcing militarism in America without considering the people’s opinion of remaining neutral, which causes the woman to seem distressed. This highlights Eugene Debs opinions that military leaders and politicians are eager for America to demonstrate its strength and weapons through war and are ignoring citizen’s opinions.

In conclusion, after the discovery of the Zimmermann telegram stating Germany’s intention for unrestricted submarine warfare and potential alliance with Mexico, President Woodrow Wilson recognized that entering the war was inevitable taken into the consideration the unjust killing of innocent Americans. Despite several dissentions from U.S. senators arguing against the war, Wilson’s address to Congress ultimately resulted in America joining World War I.


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