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Blog Post 10/7

As the Crash Course video heavily argued, it is impossible to place the full blame on any one country. A Serbian shot Archduke Frans Ferdinand, but Austria-Hungary was the one to declare war on Serbia, but Germany gave Austria-Hungary a blank check, declared war on Russia and moved through Belgium (which brought Britain into the war), but Russia was the first to mobilize. The US was initially neutral, which is wildly uncharacteristic if you consider America’s global position later in the twentieth century. 

I don’t think that you can really blame anyone for World War I. The countries of Europe were itching to show off their military, form alliances, practice imperialism and boost nationalism. Apparently a war was the best way to do this. One of the most surprising things was how little the United States wanted to do with it at first. 

Zinn describes how President Woodrow Wilson had promised that the U.S. would stay neutral.  This changed when Germans sunk the Lusitania, which killed Americans, effectively bringing the U.S. into the war (even if the economics were more attractive than avenging the dead Americans). The war was not extraordinarily popular in the United States. W. E. B. Du Bois thought that America was exploiting the world. Most citizens were against the war as well, which prompted the U.S. to pass the Espionage Act (punishing anti-war speech), which more or less stepped on the First Amendment, despite arguments saying that it didn’t. 

The world was a mess when the war ended in November of 1918. The U.S. was no exception. Anti-Immigration sentiment was growing even more. A bomb set off in front of the Attorney General’s home only made matters worse, and prompted the government to deport immigrants that were for property destruction. Two Italian immigrants (Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti) were charged for a murder and executed, with their background (immigrants) leading to their accusation. The war may have helped the economy, but it did not help society.

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3 Comments

  1. William Coben William Coben

    To respond to your last point, I think it is much more complex than claiming the war helped the economy but was detrimental to society. You reference some good points that back the claim, but the lives of millions of Americans improved as a result of WW1, so it is difficult to say that the war was detrimental to society as a whole because that is untrue.

  2. Margot Roussel Margot Roussel

    I really enjoyed the crash course video because liek you said it is very difficult to place the blame on anyone. You can always keep tracing actions back and back to another source. I think this highlights how we are all connected and made me realize that there is no way to have any sort of conflict without it becoming an international problem. Especially today, any war that I see happening in the future I see more than one world power getting dragged into it because of how interconnected we are.

  3. Delaney Demaret Delaney Demaret

    To expand on your point on interconnectedness, I wonder if increased globalization may be used as a sort of protection against warfare scaled against the first two World Wars. Like both Zinn and Dr. Bezio explained, economic interests greatly influenced war-time decisions. Every year since the rise of new travel technology, global commercial interconnectedness has increased exponentially. War on a global scale is probably actively harmful to American economic interests overseas now more so than in the early to mid 1900s.

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