Having entered the First World War later than all the great powers, the USA suffered the least losses in it and received huge benefits from its outcome.
Way out of crisis
Although by the beginning of the twentieth century, the United States owed different countries about 7 billions of dollars, by that time they were ahead of the whole world in industrial production, becoming the leading industrial power in the world. By 1913, the US produced more iron, steel, and mined more coal than England, Germany, and France combined. However, in 1914, the American economy was hit by a crisis. Steel production fell by half. A strong decline occurred in other industries. Just started in the summer of 1914, the world war opened up opportunities for the United States to revive economic activity.
The war led to a sharp reduction in US trade with Germany and other Central Powers (from 169 million dollars in 1914 to 1 million in 1916 year), but trade with the Entente countries grew over these years from 824 million to 3 billion dollars. Barbara Tuckman, author of the widely known World War I Cannon Book, wrote: “American business and US industry produced goods to meet the needs of allies. In order for them to pay for American supplies, the Allies were granted American credit. Ultimately, The United States has become a pantry, an arsenal and a bank of allies, and in fact has become a contributor to the victory of the Allies. " Until April 1917, the Entente countries received about 2 billions of dollars from the United States, and Germany only about 20 million dollars.
Industrial production in the US grew by leaps and bounds. Steel production in 1916 amounted to 180% of the year’s 1914 level. The chemical industry of the country, engaged in the production of explosives and toxic substances, was developing at a fantastic pace.
If in 1913, Du Pont’s powder factories produced about 500 thousand pounds of explosives, in 1915-1916. they produced about 30 million pounds monthly.
The course of hostilities was largely ensured by the supply of explosives and chemicals from the United States. After the war, its participants from the armies of different European countries left eloquent testimony to how weapons unprecedented mass destruction of people. War veteran Erich Maria Remarque described one of the chemical attacks: “Deaf claps of chemical shells are mixed with the roar of gaps. Between the gaps, the alarm bell is heard; gongs and metal rattles proclaim far around:“ Gas, gas, gas! ”... To these the first few minutes the question of life and death is solved: is the mask airtight? I remember terrible pictures in the infirmary: gas poisoned, which are dying of suffocation and vomiting for a few more long days, screaming out burned lungs in pieces ... My head in a gas mask rings and hums, it as well Xia, is about to burst easily handle a heavy load:. they have to breathe all the same hot, have repeatedly visited their air, the veins in his temples swell little more, and I probably suffocate. ".
Another participant in the war, the English writer Richard Aldington, told the following about the artillery preparation before the attack: “Everything that happened was beyond description — a terrifying spectacle, a grandiose symphony of sound.
The devil-director of this performance was a master, in comparison with which all the other creators of the magnificent and terrible were just babies.
The roar of the guns surpassed the rest of the noise - it was full of powerful, rhythmic harmony, super-jazz of huge drums. It was a "flight of the Valkyries", filled with three thousand guns. The intense crash of machine guns led the accompanying melody of horror. It was too dark to see the advancing troops, but Winterbourne understood with horror that each of these awesome vibrations of sound meant death and destruction. "
The battles on the European battlefields fabulously enriched the United States. American historian W. Foster wrote: "The flows of blood shed during the First World War created fertile ground for the prosperity and growth of US industry in the war and post-war period." Located thousands of kilometers from the front lines, the Americans in those years ate the fruits of the industrial boom. Americans acquired amenities that were not available even to the poorest people in European countries. Arriving in the USA at the end of 1916, LD Trotsky, who had lived for several years in the capitals of different countries of Western Europe, was struck by the unprecedented comfort that surrounded him in his new apartment in New York for middle-income people: European manners: electricity, gas stove, bathroom, telephone, automatic feeding of food upstairs and the same descent of the waste box down. " A growing number of Americans acquired cars. While in Russia 18, the number of cars did not exceed 1914 thousands, in the USA there were more than 25 million.
Historians Byrd wrote that during the years of the First World War in the United States, the number of wealthy and very rich people increased about three times.
They noted: "By the end of the war for democracy in America, there were 42 554 millionaire."
"America is too proud to fight"
But the United States did not intend to enter the "war for democracy". Their rulers wanted to derive maximum benefits from the war, without suffering serious human or material losses. 18 August 1914, US President Woodrow Wilson made a statement in which he urged his compatriots "to be neutral in deeds and words, to be impartial in thoughts and actions." He argued that the goal of neutrality is to allow the United States "to speak at peace meetings" and "play the role of impartial mediator." In a subsequent statement, he expressed the hope that in the European conflict the United States would fulfill the mission of a "moral judge." He announced that he would like to "serve humanity ... with moral force", that "the New World is ready to save the Old World from its folly" and, based on "standards of righteousness and humanity", bring peace through mediation under the flag, which is "not only the flag of America, but of all mankind. "
Even the attacks of the German submarines against American ships did not force the US government to abandon neutrality. When in the summer of 1915, the Germans sank the passenger ship Lusitania, which resulted in the death of 1198 people, of whom 128 Americans, the US did not break off relations with Germany.
The American press claimed that the Lusitania was carrying peaceful cargoes. In fact, on its board were 1248 crates with shells, 4927 crates with cartridges, 2000 firearms. After the death of Lusitania, Woodrow Wilson sent an indignant protest to Berlin, but soon declared that "America is too proud to fight."
The US government "proudly" refrained from breaking with Germany even after German submarines sank the Arabic and Sussex steamers, on which the Americans were stationed. “Proud” non-intervention in the war responded to the mindset of most Americans. For the overwhelming majority of US citizens, the war in Europe seemed distant and alien. Although the newspapers wrote indignantly about the sunk ships, they also knew about the military cargo that they carried. Germany did not attack their country and many young Americans did not want to risk their lives in the name of goals they did not understand. Therefore, in the 1916 presidential election of the year, Democratic Party candidate Woodrow Wilson was re-elected for a second term under the slogan "He saved us from the war."
Americans are sent to the front
However, the "proud" abstinence of the United States from the war did not continue until its end.
As they approached the final of military operations, the US rulers began to worry that by the time peace was concluded they would not invite winners to the feast.
Wilson's campaign promises to abstain from war were combined with the deployment of military preparations. In August 1916, the U.S. Congress increased military spending by adopting a naval reinforcement program. fleet. The National Defense Council was soon created. Former US President Theodore Roosevelt began to create military camps for young people. The current US president, Woodrow Wilson, marched through the streets of the American capital at the head of the march, which was to demonstrate "the mobilization of America to resist the enemy."
The continuing attacks of German submarines on American ships became a convenient excuse for refusing non-intervention in the war. 1 February 1917, Germany declared an unlimited submarine war. On the same days, a message was received that Germany was allegedly preparing an attack by Mexico on the United States. February 3 Wilson announced the severance of diplomatic relations with Germany. On March 18, German submarines reported that three more American ships were sinking. On March 20, the US government decided to go to war, and on April 6, the corresponding resolution was passed by the US Congress.
According to the plans of the Ministry of Defense, 1 a million people were to serve in the armed forces. However, after the announcement of recruitment to the army, only 73 thousands of people joined its ranks. In the US, a Public Information Committee was created. He hired 75 thousands of speakers made 750 thousands of four-minute speeches in 5000 cities and villages of the country, urging Americans to go to Europe to "defend democracy."
These arguments did not find mass support. The situation has not changed after the announcement of mass mobilization. By the end of the summer, about 330 thousands of recruits evaded attendance at conscription points. 65 thousands have announced that they refuse to serve because of their religious beliefs and have been sent to forced labor. Severe repressions descended upon draft evaders. Yet gradually, the US government managed to recruit about 4 millions of people into the army.
In the spring of 1918, 10 of thousands of American soldiers were crossing the Atlantic Ocean daily to Europe.
Since by this time the human reserves of the Entente countries on the Western Front were almost completely exhausted, the leadership of Great Britain and France asked the United States to send American soldiers immediately to the battle with the soldiers of France and England. However, the commander of the American Expeditionary Corps, General John Pershing, categorically objected to this, arguing that you must first assemble a large, purely American compound.
By this time, the possibilities of Germany were exhausted. Her human reserves did not exceed 100 thousand people. The material stocks of the Reich also declined. During the war, imports of goods decreased by almost 10 times. An acute shortage of strategic materials arose: non-ferrous metals, manganese, liquid fuels, lubricants, Robbery of the occupied territories (primarily Ukraine and the Baltic states) did not allow compensating for the reduction in imports due to the increasing resistance of the local population of the occupied lands. Rail and road transport in Germany was extremely worn out. The number of horses was sharply reduced in the army, and the cavalry units had to hurry. The lack of raw materials did not allow providing the army with the latest military equipment, first of all tanks and airplanes. Under these conditions, the German military leadership decided to launch a "decisive offensive" on the Marne River, declaring it a "battle for peace." It was to ensure the defeat of the Entente and the victory of German arms.
15 July, 1918, the German offensive began. The British Expeditionary Force was abandoned to help the 24 defended French divisions. In addition, for the first time in the fighting took part 8 American divisions, the number in 85 thousands of people. During the stubborn battles that lasted until August 5, the German troops were thrown back to their former positions, and the Allied counterattack faded. The French have lost 95 thousands killed and wounded. The loss of the British corps was 16 thousands killed and wounded. Nearly half of Americans who fought on Marne (about 40 thousand) were killed or injured.
12 September 1918. For the first time, Americans became the decisive force in the course of a relatively small operation to master the so-called Sao Miyel projection on the front line south of Verdun. The 1-I US Army commanded by General John Pershing as part of the 12 divisions took part in this operation. Army were given two French divisions. The attackers had 2900 guns, 1100 aircraft and a 273 tank. However, one day before the beginning of the offensive of the Entente troops, the Germans issued an order to withdraw their troops from a vulnerable bulge.
Although the Americans and the French managed to capture 16 thousand German soldiers and capture 443 guns, the vast majority of German troops safely left the San Mielle ledge. Military experts later wrote that the management of the operation was not flexible enough. As a result, the interaction between the infantry: tanks and aviation, and therefore it was not possible to surround the bulk of the enemy. In these battles, which lasted until September 15, the Americans lost about 7 thousand killed and wounded.
Since the United States entered the First War at the very end of it, their casualties - thousands of killed 53 - were significantly less than those of other major countries: Russia lost 2 million 300 thousands of soldiers, Germany - 2 million, Austria-Hungary - 1 million 440 thousand, France - 1 million 583, England - 744 thousand, Italy - about 700 thousand.
Although in this war many more American soldiers died from diseases, mainly from the "Spaniard" - the virus flu, than in the battles, the USA had never before suffered such losses in military operations outside of its own country history.
Later, than their English and French allies, as well as German opponents, the American soldiers were personally convinced of the inhumanity of the war and the falsehood of the "war for democracy" slogan. Shortly after the end of the war in the United States, books appeared written by its American participants. According to their descriptions and estimates, they were consonant with the anti-war novels of Remarque, Aldington, Barbusse.
In the Dos Passos novel “Three Soldiers”, the hero, who is expecting an enemy invisible to him every second, repeats the political slogan “Make the world safe for the triumph of democracy”, and these words sound like a grotesque nonsense in battle ...
America is trying to rule the world
The Americans who died in Europe, and the Europeans who were killed on the battlefields of American explosives and American gases, were the victims of the business people who had profited from the war. As the war ended, these people thought about how to maximize the benefits in the post-war world. January 8, 1918, V. Wilson addressed the congress with a message that listed 14 points with the terms of the world. There were many lofty words typical of American political rhetoric. Wilson proposed to create after the war the League of Nations - an international organization that was supposed to monitor the observance of world peace. Then, for the first time in the USA, the slogan that the country had entered the war began to sound in order to "put an end to wars forever."
In addition, Wilson proposed to liberate and restore Belgium, return Alsace and Lorraine to France, withdraw the German troops from the various countries occupied by them, provide Serbia with access to the sea, restore Poland, open the Black Sea straits for both civil and military courts. These and other proposals of Wilson testified that the United States intends to take control of the post-war world. Explaining why the United States did not make territorial claims to other countries, the famous American historian L. Denny wrote:
"Our government was reason enough not to pursue territorial or mandated acquisitions as a result of the war, knowing that our growing invisible economic empire was more powerful, profitable and less vulnerable than the outdated political empire of Great Britain."
Realizing the real weight of the United States in world affairs, which significantly exceeded their relatively modest contribution to the hostilities of World War I, German Chancellor Prince Max of Baden sent a request for a truce based on Wilson's 5 points on October 1918 on October 14. For some time, the US allies objected to negotiations with Germany on this basis. Then the US government threatened to sign a separate peace with Germany. Frightened by the withdrawal of American troops from the Western Front, the Allies agreed with Wilson. 11 On November 1918, a truce was signed in Compiegne (France).
Three months later, January 18 1919, a peace conference opened in Paris. The leadership was carried out by the leaders of the five great powers of the world: the USA, Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan. However, from the very first days of the conference, it became clear that US President Woodrow Wilson was intent on leading.
In his memoirs, British Prime Minister Lloyd George wrote: "I think that ... the president really looked at himself as a missionary whose mission was to save the poor European pagans ... Particularly striking was the explosion of his feelings when speaking of To the League of Nations, he began to explain the failure of Christianity to achieve lofty ideals. “Why,” he asked, “did not Jesus Christ make the world believe in his teaching? Because he preached only ideals, and did not show a practical way to achieve them. I propose a practical scheme to bring the aspirations of Christ to the end. "Clemenceau silently opened his dark eyes wide and looked around at those present."
Announcing his intention to correct the "omissions" of Christ, Wilson brought to the logical end the absurdity of America’s claims to the highest mission in world history.
However, the United States did not take into account that their increased economic weight did not allow them to dominate the world. During the Paris Peace Conference, US allies resisted their dictates.
Once, when asked by his adviser, Colonel House, how the meeting with Clemenceau and Lloyd George was held, Wilson replied: "Brilliantly, we dispersed on all issues." Ultimately, Wilson was forced to make a number of serious concessions to his negotiating partners. Despite the signing of a peace treaty at Versailles 28 on June 1919, the contradictions between the United States and Britain, the United States and Japan only escalated. The contradictions between Italy and the countries of the Entente were also aggravated. The Versailles world spawned the growth of the revanchist movement in Germany. Although it was assumed that the First World War was supposed to end forever the wars in the world, the Versailles peace created the conditions for new conflicts, fraught with their escalation into a new world war.
Versailles was not perceived as a triumph of American foreign policy and within the United States. A number of senators accused Wilson of violating the covenants of the first president of the country, George Washington, about non-interference in European affairs and rejection of the doctrine put forward by the fifth US President Monroe and forbidding the intervention of non-American powers in the affairs of the countries of the Western Hemisphere ("America for Americans"). Senators demanded the inclusion of a clause on the Monroe Doctrine in the statutes of the League of Nations. Wilson was criticized by those who believed that the United States has the right to impose its will on the whole world, regardless of the opinions of other countries and peoples. Criticizing Wilson and at the same time rejecting the charges of isolationism, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge said: "We want ... to be a free state without any restrictions on our actions, full of a revived spirit of nationalism. This is not isolationism, but the freedom to act as we believe necessary and fair, not isolationism, but simply unrelated and unhindered freedom of a great power to decide by itself which way to go. " The Versailles Treaty was rejected by the US Senate and the country was not included in the League of Nations, the creation of which Wilson so sought.
However, the United States did not abandon its hegemonic plans.
By the end of the war, the United States ended its recent financial dependence on other countries. The country turned concentrated 40% of the world gold reserves.
By November 1922, the total debt of foreign countries to the United States reached 11,6 billions in unpaid interest 4,7. Of these, the UK owed 3,8 billions of dollars, France - 1,9 billion, Italy - 0,5 billion, Belgium - about 20 billion. Together with other types of investment, economic support provided by the USA to European countries amounted to almost 3 billions of dollars. As noted in the 1945 volume of the History of Diplomacy, released in 400, “this huge debt of at least XNUMX million a year should have been stretched for decades. Thus, as a result of the war, the largest countries in Europe turned out to be tributaries of the United States at least two generations. "
Immediately after the end of the war, American tourists, taking advantage of a significant difference in exchange rates, filled the rich hotels of major European cities. In 1922, E. Hemingway wrote: "The foam of the New York quarter of Greenwich Village was recently removed by a large skimmer and moved to the quarter of Paris adjacent to the Rotunda cafe. Describing the pastime of representatives of the middle American society in Paris, Hemingway wrote:" The hawker requires that Paris be a super-Sodom and an ultra-Gomorrah, and as soon as alcohol weakens his innate constellation and tenacious grip on his wallet, he is ready to pay for the introduction to his ideal. "
While the Americans rushed to Europe, Europe, especially its young part, at that time tried to imitate America. American products, American films, American records with fashionable jazz melodies and popular songs then formed an Americanized lifestyle in many countries around the world.
Every American record sold abroad with a fashionable tune, every viewing of an American film, every Ford exported abroad, brought profits to American companies. The transformation of the American way of life into a model for imitation strengthened the role of the USA as a powerful magnet attracting young and energetic people to this country. The immigration quota system established in the US in 1921 created preferences for people from richer countries in Europe. America exported its consumer goods and crafts of mass culture, and imported non-poor people who were ready to give their physical and mental strength to their new homeland. Even then, a brain drain from the rest of the world in the USA began.
The enslavement of world mass consciousness by advertising the American way of life facilitated the enslavement of the planet by American capital.
Replacing Wilson, the leader of the Republican Party 29, US President Warren Harding, said: "We Americans have done more for human development over a century and a half than all the nations of the world together in their entire history ... We proclaim Americanism and welcome America." So the victors in the First World War, the US rulers made an application for world domination.