Social Studies - 2019-20

USII.5c - World War I

The student will apply social science skills to understand the changing role of the United States from the late nineteenth century through World War I by

c) evaluating and explaining the reasons for the United States’ involvement in World War I and its international leadership role at the conclusion of the war.

Adopted: 2015


Numerous factors contributed to the rise of the United States as a world power. Debates over the United States’ role in world affairs increased in response to overseas expansion and involvement in World War I.  United States participation in the war had important effects on American society. 

What forces shaped American foreign policy?

How did America change socially, politically, and economically in the early 1900's?


The United States’ involvement in World War I set the stage for it to emerge as a global superpower later in the twentieth century.


Reasons for the United States’ involvement in World War I

 Inability to remain neutral

 German submarine warfare (sinking of the Lusitania)

 United States economic and political ties to Great Britain

 The Zimmermann Telegram

Major Allied Powers

 British Empire

 France

 Russia (until 1917)

 Serbia

 Belgium

 United States

Central Powers

 German Empire

 Austro-Hungarian Empire

 Bulgaria

 Ottoman Empire

United States leadership as the war ended

 At the end of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson prepared a peace plan known as the Fourteen Points that called for the formation of the League of Nations, a peacekeeping organization.

 The United States Senate did not ratify the Treaty of Versailles because of a desire to resume prewar isolationism. The United States did not become a member of the League of Nations.


Updated: Jul 12, 2019