World War I

The Great War was responsible for the deaths of more than nine million soldiers and many more civilians.  Before its end, billions of dollars of property would be destroyed, and it would account for the complete reorganization of multiple international power structures.  A precarious balance of power and economic resources in Europe crumbled when Gavrilo Princip shot and killed the heir to the Hapsburg throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife, Sophie, on July 28, 1914.

Soon Europe was divided between the Allied Powers (Britain, France, Russia, the Serbian Kingdom, and later joined by Italy) and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire).  As the European houses fell toward total war, the United States President Woodrow Wilson quickly issued a proclamation of neutrality, urging Americans to be “impartial in thought as well as in action.”  Wilson offered to mediate a speedy conclusion to the conflict.

With the terrifying technological advances utilized in this conflict, such as advanced artillery, the newly invented machine gun, trench tactics, poison gas, submarines, airplanes, and tanks, a speedy conclusion would have been desirable, but the war raged on.  In April 1917, America declared war on Germany after its refusal to stem unrestricted submarine warfare: Germany sunk several American naval vessels and the Lusitania, a British passenger liner, carrying two hundred American civilians.  America issued a strong and immediate war effort, and by September 1918, Allied forces had pushed Germany beyond the Hindenburg Line, the starting point of the German advance.


did you know?

Wilson was president throughout World War I. He attempted to keep America out of the war and even won reelection with the slogan "He kept us out of war." Nonetheless, after the sinking of the Lusitania, continued run-ins with German submarines, and the release of the Zimmerman Telegram, America became involved. with the Lusitania, the continued harassment of American ships by German submarines, and the release of the Zimmerman Telegram meant that America joined the allies in April, 1917.

Woodrow Wilson was President when the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920 giving women the right to vote.

Wilson piloted the ship that brought America onto the world stage. He made the first steps of leading us out of isolationism, violating Washington's tenet of avoiding foreign entanglements.

He led America during World War I. His fervent hope was for the US to join a League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations.

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "Life does not consist in thinking, it consists in acting."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "The Constitution was not made to fit us like a straitjacket. In its elasticity lies its chief greatness."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "I believe in democracy because it releases the energies of every human being."

The Seventeenth Amendment was formally adopted on May 31, 1913. Wilson had been president for almost three months at the time. The amendment provided for the direct election of senators. Prior to its adoption, Senators were chosen by state legislatures.

Wilson was the first president to receive a PhD which he got in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University. He had received his undergraduate degree from the College of New Jersey, renamed Princeton University in 1896.

Woodrow Wilson could not read during the first decade of his life. Though undiagnosed, he may have suffered from a learning disability

Woodrow Wilson was known as "Tommy" until his college years.

Woodrow Wilson during his boyhood, helped establish the "Lightfoot Baseball Club" with his friends. Wilson played second base and was an avid sport fan throughout his adult life.

Woodrow Wilson was the first president to attend the Major League Baseball Fall Classic. He saw the debut of a young 20 year old pitcher by the name of George Herman "Babe" Ruth.

Woodrow Wilson was a graduate of Princeton University and Johns Hopkins University and the only president to hold an earned doctoral degree.

Woodrow Wilson image is on the $100,000 bill although it is no longer in circulation