Thanks to skillful agitation, the US population as a whole was opposed to Germany. By the end of the second year of the war, experts checking the country's public opinion noted that the majority of the population was opposed to Germany, but only a minority favored US participation in the war.
Therefore, in the presidential campaign of 1916, both major parties took peaceful positions. Although the leadership of the Democratic Party talked about the need to participate in the war in the middle of 1915 year. A month after the death of “Lusitania”, pacifist Bryan was replaced as a minister of foreign affairs by a supporter of the war with Germany, Lansing. The government and the American elite were generally inclined toward the US entering the war on the side of the Entente. At the start of 1916, President Wilson and the Democratic leaders agreed in principle to the war. However, they could only express their opinion in narrow party and diplomatic circles, since, in general, the Americans were against the US participation in the war.
Leaders of the Republican Party openly advocated war. Former President Theodore Roosevelt accused Wilson of “opposing the policy of blood and iron to the policy of water and milk”. However, when the election platform was set up at the National Convention in Chicago in the summer of 1916, Republicans preferred a more cautious position in order not to scare off voters. Workers and farmers were against the war. The 1916 year was marked by numerous conflicts in the industry: 3789 strikes and lockouts covered more than 2,2 million workers. Railway workers threatened to stop traffic on major highways in the United States. In September, Congress was forced to adopt the act of Adamson to reduce working hours and increase wages on the railways. At the same time began the movement of farmers who opposed the predatory procurement campaigns. State and private officials complained about the systematic deterioration of the financial situation. Due to rising prices, the real wages of some of the employees by the end of 1916 were lower than ever during 50 years. It is clear that in such conditions it was impossible to agitate for joining the USA in the war, the people would not understand this. Therefore, both Republicans and Democrats in the 1916 elections of the year did not dare to make a call for war.
Democrats have hidden their desire for war calls to give humanity "eternal and sustainable peace." However, they didn’t say that for this, the United States should enter the war and act as a umpire at the peace conference, granting the right to build a post-war world order. Wilson was convinced that his main task was “the problem of world peace.” In June, the Democratic Party pre-election platform was adopted at the National Convention with Len Louis. She reflected the views of Wilson. She declared that “in our interests and the interests of mankind, we must help the establishment of peace and justice in the whole world.” The chairman of the national convention, Senator James of Kentucky, described Woodrow Wilson as a peacemaker, and former Secretary of State Brian assured from the tribune of the convention: "... we have a president who restrained — and who will keep — us from war." With the slogan "he will keep us from the war," the Democrats dispersed to the states. The special election promise of the democratic party said: “You work, you do not fight. You are alive and happy ... If you want war, vote for Hughes (Charles Hughes is a candidate for the Republican party. - Author), if you want peace and further economic prosperity, vote for Wilson. ”
US preparation for war
In fact, it was a big hoax. The top of the United States has long decided to participate in the war. At the same time as the election campaign, where voters were promised peace, the whole country was forced to prepare for war. Special military propaganda organizations were created in the states: National Defense League, American Defense Society, and Marine League fleet"Etc.
Washington forced the formation of a world-class army and fleet. When the war began, the entire US federal army numbered just over 80 thousand, poorly armed and trained. Of these, 27 thousand people carried garrison service in the colonies, 25 thousand people served coastal defense. The National Guard, which represented essentially poorly prepared territorial units of individual states, recited more than 127 thousand people. That is, the US could put a little more than 200 thousand people, poorly technically equipped and poorly trained. Just a few years, everything has changed radically. The United States received advanced military forces.
From the very beginning of the war, General Leonard Wood led the military movement. He organized military training for students at universities. In the state of New York, a special camp was established in which high-ranking officials were trained. At the end of 1915, the congress adopted a large-scale maritime program, which included bringing the naval forces of the United States to a level that did not tire the navy of the advanced naval powers for three years.
The American president said that "you cannot lose a single day in preparation for defense." Under the slogan "Prepare for Defense" military demonstrations were held in major cities. So, 13 May 1916, 125 Thousands of people marched through the streets of New York. 63 columns with 200 orchestras marched down Broadway. The largest column was organized by Wall Street bankers. A separate column went New York clergy. June 14 60-thousandth military demonstration was held in Washington. Ahead of the column was President Wilson. In June, 1916 of the year, the congress decided to increase the size of the regular army, put the territorial units of individual states under the control of the federal government, strengthen the military training of civilians, and create a national defense council.
In November, presidential elections were held. At first it was not clear who was elected - Wilson or Hughes. The Republican candidate did not have enough 12 electors. In the beginning, everyone was sure that Yuz had won. For him, with the exception of two states, the entire industrial Northeast and Midwest voted. All the agrarian states west of the Mississippi and south of Ohio followed Wilson. California was traditionally a Republican state and gave votes to the 13 electors. But the internal struggle in the local republican organization allowed the Democrats to win with a minimum margin of 0,4%. Wilson stayed in the White House for another 4 year. Both victories of Wilson were considered by many to be a random course of circumstances. In reality, he represented the interests of "financial international".
Soon, Washington received an iron reason to enter the war. January 31 1917 Berlin announced that “from February on 1, merchant shipping will be suspended in the blockade zone by any available weapons, without any further warning. ” Germany decided on an unlimited submarine warfare, hoping to force England to negotiate. The United States was "allowed" to send a passenger ship to England once a week, subject to several rules. It is clear that Washington took it as an insult to the great American power. In the United States, they wrote and said: "Our country received an order ... We are once a week licensed to have one ship ... As if the German armies owned our entire territory from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean."
3 February 1917, Wilson informed the Congress about the severance of diplomatic relations with Germany. German Ambassador Bernstorf was given his passport. February 14 from the United States sent the entire diplomatic corps of Germany (German 149). Ten days later, Wilson received an important report from the US ambassador to London, Page. The British intercepted and deciphered a curious German telegram. It was the so-called. “The telegram of Zimmerman, where Germany proposed a military alliance to Mexico. The Germans promised the Mexicans to return the previously lost lands (seized by the Americans) - Texas, New Mexico, Arizona. February 28 American newspapers published this telegram. It disarmed opponents of the war in Congress.
Two weeks later, the German ships sank three American ships. The American President convened an extraordinary congressional session on April 2. Wilson said the United States declares war on Prussian militarism and Kaiser autocracy. As usual, many lofty words were said: “The world must be saved for democracy ... We do not want any gains, no territories. We will not demand any material compensation for the sacrifices that we voluntarily make. We are only one of the detachments of the army of fighters for the freedom of mankind. " Four days later, on April 6 1917, the congress declared war against Germany by a majority (almost 90%). In the US, few dared to object to this decision. But many understood that the interests of the American people were sacrificed to big capital, who entered the imperialist war for the sake of their predatory, predatory interests. Elections were held just a few months ago, and many remembered the Democratic slogan - “He kept us from the war.”
Mobilization of the country
Wilson, as usual, made loud promises. "The war will put an end to the war," the president assured in his message to Congress and the people. " The opposition Republican Party, which had long advocated war, supported the presidential course. Even the leaders of the isolationists supported the president. Brian, still at the beginning of 1917, who fought for the preservation of US neutrality, asked to be enlisted in the army as a volunteer. However, there was a strong opposition in Congress that did not want the active participation of the United States in the war. When the question of US participation in the war was discussed in the Senate and House of Representatives, the government only talked about the official financial and material support of the Allies. The situation was different when they started talking about the mobilization of soldiers for war. 18 May 1917, almost half of the congressmen (for - 199, against - 178) voted against compulsory military service.
Mobilizing human and material resources for a big war in Europe was a very difficult task for the United States. The country with its small armies was not ready for a big war. In the USA, there was no trained reserve, reserve command personnel for the formation of new units, a stock of weapons not only for artillery, but also for new infantry formations. Recruits for military classes in 1917, used wooden rifles and guns. but The energy of the Americans, their organizational skills directed in the right direction, were quickly created and adjusted, using the rich resources and capabilities of the country, a powerful world-class military machine. For the leadership of the colossal military mechanism, America has put forward talented organizers such as Baruch, Creel, Hoover, Newton Becker, etc.
Before World War I history The United States government only once tried to mobilize soldiers on a compulsory basis — this happened in the third year of the Civil War and led to a series of insurrections. Not surprisingly, almost half of the congress opposed universal conscription. And the ruling elite in the South demanded that blacks not be trained in military affairs. Therefore, in 1917, Washington feared mobilization and tried to soften its introduction. War Minister Newton Becker secretly prepared the mobilization apparatus for two months. 18 May 1917, the Congress passed a law on the registration of all men between the ages of 21 and 30. Registration took place at polling stations and was like an election campaign. Of the 9,5 million registered 500 ths., By lot, 20 July 1917 was called up for military service. For recruits staged banquets and balls. As a result, mass unrest was avoided. However, during the entire war, according to the US military ministry report from 18 in May 1921, out of every 100, on average, 11 deserted into the army.
Within three months, 200 thousand workers built 16 military camps. Each town was designed for 40-50 thousand people. In each town there were 1000-1200 one- and two-story long wooden buildings. They accommodated more than 700 ths. Recruits. The military camps had hospitals, shops, shooting galleries, sports grounds, water supply, sewage, electric lighting, etc. In addition, in the south, where climatic conditions made it possible to live in tents all year round, 16 camps were set up in 700 thousand people.
It is worth noting that at first in Washington they hoped that the Allies would do without a large American army and the war would soon end. Therefore, the Americans were not in a hurry with the transfer of large units of the American army to Europe. The main attention in the United States was given to the organization of the military-industrial complex, the mobilization of material resources. The US government has established the 6 military economic agencies: the military-industrial council and special committees on fuel, railways, transport, shipbuilding, food and commerce.
The difficult task was solved by the military-industrial council. He was led by New York millionaire Bernard Baruch. Baruch Council gained control over the entire industry of the United States. He decided which factories should be supplied with fuel, raw materials and labor. The Military-Industrial Committee not only regulated, but also imposed mandatory maximum standardization of production in order to save resources and labor. He controlled the vast US industry with 184, thousands of local military industry councils. At the same time, the production of some goods completely turned off. All funds were directed to the implementation of military orders. In particular, for the US Army, which by the end of the war had grown to 3,5 million, 720 million m of cotton fabrics were purchased and 35 million pairs of shoes were ordered.
Timely execution of military orders was difficult due to lack of fuel. Due to the lack of fuel at the end of 1917, the 37 ships loaded with military materials were stuck in the port of New York. In order to save fuel, in January 1918, an order was issued to stop on 5 days all factories and plants located east of Mississippi, except for those who worked in the defense industry. It was then forbidden to work in civilian factories on Mondays for 9 weeks. Temporarily in the industry, including the military, was established 5-day work week. In the northeastern states in 4 hours of the evening, and in other parts of the country 2 evenings in the week of the city and villages are not covered.
The country's railways, which belonged to private campaigns, were put under the control of the government. Finance Minister MacAdu was appointed general manager of railways. He reduced passenger traffic to a minimum. The cargo was divided into various categories, primarily the transportation of military cargo was provided.
Workers strikes were a big problem. There were more of them in the 1917 year than even in the 1916 strike year. However, in 1918, the strike movement was reduced. At the beginning of 1918, the Military Labor Council was created. The council was headed by representatives of entrepreneurs and the American Federation of Labor. The promise to establish a minimum wage in industry, an increase in wages on railways and military factories made it possible to solve the problem of reducing strikes.
Vigorous activity launched a military food department. His career was linked to the career of Herbert Hoover (the future US president). This outstanding organizer had to solve the task of creating a large food fund for the uninterrupted supply of not only the US armed forces, but also the armies of the allies. 27 April 1917, the American ambassador in London, Paige, informed Wilson that food supplies in England would be enough for a maximum of 2 a month. At the end of 1917 and the beginning of 1918, the British Minister of Food repeatedly informed Hoover that England could lose the war due to lack of bread. Ships from Australia could not bring wheat in time due to the actions of the German submarine fleet. All hope was in the USA. In America, the slogan was put forward: "Food will win the war." Americans were offered to consume more corn and less wheat, save fats and sugar. In January 1918, Hoover issued a directive on the removal of wheat bread from consumption on Mondays and Wednesdays, the cape on Tuesdays, and pork on Thursdays and Saturdays. In February, 10 weeks banned the consumption of chicken meat. In the future, followed by new restrictions. In particular, the bakeries had to bake bread from a mixture containing no more than 80% wheat flour. Wheat acreage increased from 45 million acres in 1917 to 59 million acres in 1919.
The Food Savings Campaign promoted the adoption of a “dry” law. By the start of World War I, alcohol consumption was banned in 14 states. Back in 1913, congress banned the transport of alcohol from wet to dry states. After the United States entered the war, about ¾ of all the states were considered “dry”. True, the 12 states that remained “wet” represented industrialized areas and accounted for more than half of the country's population. To the religious and public anti-alcohol propaganda was added to the military. The main argument about crime and the non-patriotic nature of the conversion of bread to alcohol at a time when the authorities demanded maximum food savings from all citizens was reinforced by the fact that most of the brewing and alcoholic institutions in the United States belonged to the Germans. In addition, industrial concerns interested in the growth of labor productivity (and alcohol led to an increase in accidents of material losses, etc.) supported the anti-alcohol campaign. As a result, the existence of a “dry” law in most states helped Congress to move towards national legislation without much difficulty. In December 1917, both houses of congress adopted the 18-th addendum to the constitution.
To be continued ...