U.S. Neutrality in World War One
The United States remained neutral in World War One because they saw it in their best interest. At the time the war began, the U.S. industry was struggling. Staying out of the war was a way to boost the industry in America by utilizing trade with both the Ally and Central Powers. The U.S. also had no real reason to join the war. They had close ties with both sides. Some problems, however, would arise that would question the U.S. decision to remain neutral and sway their opinions to one side of the war.
Britain had an advantage over Germany in gaining the U.S. as an ally. Although the U.S. had as many as eleven million immigrants with blood ties to the Germans and Austro-Hungarians, they shared close culture, language, and economic ties with the British. The British were also in control of most of the transatlantic cables. Therefore, they had the ability to censor war stories, which hurt the British cause in the eyes of the U.S. They instead sent only the tales of German bestiality. Also, most Americans were anti-German from the beginning because it seemed as if their government was the embodiment of autocracy. Another disadvantage to the Germans was the British interception of a secretly coded message intended for Mexico. This message, when decoded by the British, asked Mexico to join the war on the Central side if the U.S. declared war on Germany. These actions all compiled into a list of reasons why the U.S. should enter the war in Ally support.
International law was also a big part of United States neutrality during the war. Germany and Britain each sought to end U.S. trade with the other. With a series of what Berlin called "illegal" blockades, Britain gained the upper hand, almost ending U.S. trade with Germany entirely. Americans protested this interference, but when German U-boats began to target U.S. merchant ships, once neutral opinions changed. According to international law, the Germans were authorized to search suspect ships for contraband, remove the passengers safely, and destroy the ship. The Germans, however, began sinking U.S. ships against the laws. They no longer searched ships they just hit them. They tried to reinstate relations with the United States by declaring that they would attempt to not sink neutral ships, but that mistakes may occur. Wilson decided to continue trade, but he warned Germany that...