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U.S. Soldiers' Perspective of the Western Front during World War 1


Firstly, it is necessary to provide an outline of the background to America's intervention in World War 1.Wilson, the American president had recently been elected, partially on a ticket of non-intervention in the European conflict. Wilson was a clear-headed leader. He was essentially a man of peace, but not at any cost. He was strongly anti-imperialism but he was also a man of real character, vision and principles who lead the U.S.A. until the spring of 1917 as a non-interventionist and neutral country. However, by this time he knew such policies were unsustainable. If he had to carry congress with him he had to demonstrate, apart from the military dangers to the country had to show a moral and humanitarian duty to become involved as well as protecting democracy throughout the world.

At the outset of his speech on the American position, immediately prior to their entering World War 1, Wilson stressed that the previous stance of neutrality could not continue. This was no “war provoking” speech. He took great steps to emphasis the solemnity a seriousness of the occasion. He knew that if other democracies were in danger then so ultimately could the U.S.A.

He emphasized the entry into the war was about peace and justice throughout the world were the common aim of all democracies. He considered the current actions of the German government were a menace and referred to the “autocratic” nature of the Kaiser which was alien to all those countries striving to be democratic and therefore a potential danger to the whole world of which USA was part. The Kaiser was the supreme leader of the German Empire and effectively answered to no-one and any humanitarian shortcomings or physical brutality to other nations could not be checked.

Wilson painted a fine and inspiring picture of the world's free people and a common interest in mankind which he wanted shared throughout the world. The U.SA. was to an extent a fledgling democracy, but it was growing in prosperity, power and influence. It was therefore right in Wilson's view to enter the war as a strong nation defending democracy. This was, of course, a strong moral and humanitarian argument decrying that it was not simply about defeating the Central powers and making the world a better place for all.

In conclusion, there can be little doubt that the U.S.A. acted correctly in terms of it's conceived moral obligation to the world. Had she not intervened it could be reasonably argued that had the Central powers won the Great War then the democracies of Great Britain, France and Italy could have been seriously undermined perhaps as part of a new German Empire. Had the USA not chosen the path of war who knows what would have happened? There would be only two main powers left in the world Germany and the USA and the latter's role as a morally based leading democracy would have died forever, it may have prospered in isolation very well but at what a cost to its honor?


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