Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 7

Jake Shephard 3825

To what extent can USAs entry into WW1 be seen as a


key turning point in the USAs role in international
relations from 1879-1980?
The period of 1879-1980 saw major changes in USAs role in international
relations. The USAs entry into WW1, Korean War and the Cuban Missile
Crisis will be examined as the key turning points as to why the Cold War
happened and also carried on. From being an isolationist country, in a
relatively short space of time, they were then dropping bombs on many
different places and therefore very much involved with every power in the
world. Two events highlighted the Korean War and the Cuban Missile
Crisis both accentuate the battle between USA and USSR, even if it isnt
always on foreign soil, as shown in Korea. However, the way the USA riled
everyone - mainly USSR - in the world is the key turning point in this
situation. Therefore I feel the USAs entry into WW1 was the key turning
point in the USAs role in international relations from 1879-1980.
From this period, USA tended to keep themselves to themselves. It was
hard for a nation as big and as powerful as USA to stay quiet but they did,
with some difficulties. Between 1880 and 1920, a time of industrialisation,
America received more than 20 million immigrants. Furthermore, in 1898,
the USA went into war with the Spanish. As war raged in Europe, President
Woodrow Wilson argued that the United States should remain neutral in
this conflict, urging Americans to be impartial in thought as well as in
action. USA eventually decided to join the war in 1917, after President
Wilson had enough of Germanys rule. They also entered as Germany
began submarine warfare on them, so they had no choice but to fight
back. The US senate then agreed on this and they went into war.
USA entered the war in 1917. Geoff Lewis claimed Two crucial events
which made 1917 a turning point in world history were the US entry into
the war and the Russian withdrawal from the war.1 President Wilson
encouraged peace between Britain and Germany, however as this failed
he then took to being against the Germans and formed an alliance with
Britain.2 He started by entering the way saying all he wanted to do was
maintain Americas self interest, in wellbeing and trade. However,
Neiburg said Wilson did not want to take the nation to war in large part
because he believed that only as a neutral statesman could he bring the
two sides to peace.3 Their entry into the World War was the end to
1 Geoff Lewis, War on the Western Front
2 Justus D. Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War: A New History of America's Entry
Into World War I, p98
3 Michael S. Neiberg, The Zimmermann Telegram and American Entry into World
War I

Jake Shephard 3825

isolationism4, and surprised many around the world. This made the entry
even more significant. In France, a lot of troops had flooded the place,
therefore stopping the Germans threat on Paris and filled German powers
with a sense of hopelessness, the American power was accentuated in this
instance. On June 26, the first 14,000 U.S. infantry troops landed in France
to begin training for combat. After four years of stalemate along the
western front, the entrance of Americas well-supplied forces into the
conflict marked a major turning point in the war and helped the Allies to
win. When the war finally ended, on November 11, 1918, more than two
million American soldiers had served on the battlefields of Western
Europe, and some 50,000 of them had lost their lives. This was completely
different to the ideology that Wilson hoped to keep, and despite lives lost,
Americas part in WWI was significant to the majority of European
countries.
There are few reasons as to why the USAs entry into WWI was not
significant. Firstly, after Wilson set up the League of Nations, the
republicans in congress then disallowed the USA to be in the League. This
ultimately led to USA not having any choices in the League itself. Also,
people may say that USA left joining the war until too late. Furthermore,
as the USA were only in the war for one year, people may say that France
and Britain could win the war on their own without USA. After the First
World War, USA immediately withdrew their troops from the USA and went
back into isolationism.5
In the period from USAs entry until the Korean War, many major things in
the Cold War happened that greatly affected International Relations. Pearl
Harbour then ended the second time the USA were in isolationism. The
USA were then almost forced to join World War Two. They then defeated
Japan in Germany, 1945, as this theme continued. This led to continued
Cold War hostilities with the Soviet Union, in the immediate after war
period. According to Thomas G. Paterson, he wrote that Soviet hostility
and U.S. efforts to dominate the post-war world as equally responsible for
the Cold War.
The Korean War was significant to International Relations because it was
the first instance where Communism was actively fought against by the
other powers. 6This was also the first war that used arms in the Cold War,
this led to a US rearmament7 for the first time. The involvement of China
in international conflict versus the USA was introduced. The war also
showed the active involvement of the US in Asia leading to the Vietnam
4 David Warren Saxe, Land and Liberty I: A Chronology of Traditional American
History, p34
5 J.A.S. Greenville, A History of the World, p110-113
6 ODD Arne Westad, The Global Cold War, p115

Jake Shephard 3825

War many years after. This war was also strange as the War was actually
Korea vs China, whereas it was actually USA vs USSR8. Historian and
Korean PoW General Sir Anthony Farrar-Hockley tells that if Stalin thought
that the Americans would intervene, [he] wouldn't have allowed the war
to be started at all. The major impact of this was it made the cold war
seem more serious to the US policy makers and to other non-communist
nations in Asia. 9This war pushed the USA into increasing their number of
active duty military personnel and also sent them more around the world.
This is taken from a book written by Arne Westad. Westad is a very
intelligent university professor and is spoken of as an expert of the Cold
War era. This information is therefore reliable as he is very informed in
everything in the cold war. They were also now more wary of helping out
other countries around the Asian area under the threat of communism. An
example of this was when they defended Taiwan and guaranteed its safety
against mainland china.
The Korean War was not so significant because Korea remained divided
between communist North and capitalist South. Despite American belief
that the Soviet Union was entirely behind the war, in fact Stalins
involvement was half-hearted and the American idea of Moscow at the
head of a global communist conspiracy was exaggerated. The war was left
as a stalemate, there was not a clear winner and everything stayed the
same afterwards in Korea. They didnt eradicate communism there and as
a result of this they seemed belittled and not as strong as everyone
thought.
During the period of The Korean War and the Cuban Missile Crisis, The
Warsaw Pact was formed. The first Summit Meeting was between
President Dwight Eisenhower and Premier Nikita Khrushchev. Soviets
seemed to lead the space race as they launched the first man made
satellite. Also, to do with the Cuban Missile Crisis, there were two major
things that maybe started it. Fidel Castro became the leader of Cuba and
then installs a communist government. Therefore, The USA funded The
Bay of Pigs invasion, to try and overthrow this new spread of communism.
The Cuban Missile Crisis was significant to International Relations because
it caused many treaties including, Nuclear Test Ban and SALT. It was a
massive nuclear standoff between the USSR and USA. It involved the
newly communist Cuba fighting against USA with both threatening
through huge nuclear means. In 1963, a telephone hotline was set up to
7 SparkNotes, 2012, Aftermath of the Korean War, Retrieved From:
http://www.sparknotes.com/history/american/koreanwar/section10.rhtml.
8 Study the past, 2008, Cold war science and technology, Retrieved From:
http://www.studythepast.com/vbprojects/cold_war_science_and_technology.htm.
9 ODD Arne Westad, The Global Cold War, p66

Jake Shephard 3825

give instant contact between the two leaders if there was a crisis. A
Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was signed. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
was signed - the superpowers promised not to supply nuclear technology
to other countries. The main lesson from the crisis for the USA is the
extent to which containment is terrifying for the country being contained.
Because the U.S. had been a global military superpower since the end of
World War II, it had never faced an existential threat close to its borders.
At the time, U.S. nuclear missiles were stationed in range of Soviet cities
as a means of containment but, for U.S. policymakers, it was
unthinkable that the U.S. could end up in a similar position. So, when the
USSR decided to raise the stakes by placing its own nuclear missiles in
range of American cities, U.S. policymakers were inclined to compromise
with the Russians on containment policy 10trading nuclear warheads in
Turkey for those in Cuba to diminish the direct military threat posed to
each nation by one another. According to historian Arch Puddington, this
also showed that communism could make any country powerful and being
on the brink of war could fall anywhere.11 This could be unreliable as
Puddington once worked in the US government so may try and make
Communism sound worse than it actually is. However, it could be useful
as he was very knowledgeable of the situation. Gaddis said that the
strategic arms race intensified in the wake of the missile crisis, but it was
conducted within an increasingly precise set of rules, codified in formal
agreements like the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.12 Gaddis is a
distinguished professor from Texas, USA and is a specialist in the Cold War
period. This leads us to believe his sources are very trustworthy. However,
being from the USA could lead to the impression of bias on some matters.
The Cuban Missile Crisis was not significant for international relations
because none of the Treaties or results of it worked or had an effect.
Speaking many years later, Khrushchev claimed that he had won the
Cuban missile crisis. He had achieved both his aims - America never
bothered Cuba again (which is still a Communist country) and the US
missile sites in Turkey were dismantled in November 1962. Cuba remained
communist and hostile towards the USA. The nuclear standoff between
the superpowers remained, there was yet again no clear winner. The arms
limitations treaties such as SALT in the 1970s actually did little to reduce
the build-up of nuclear weapons.
The replacement of Khrushchev by the supposedly more hard-line
Brezhnev did not perhaps see such radical changes in international policy
10 Arch Puddington, Broadcasting Freedom, p134
11 ODD Arne Westad, The Global Cold War, p168
12 John Lewis Gaddis, We Now Know, 1997, quoted in Steve Phillips A World
Divided: Superpower Relations, 1944-91, 2009, p113.

Jake Shephard 3825

Like Khrushchev with his New Way, Brezhnev in Dtente, initially


wanted better relations with the West. Like Khrushchevs crushing of the
Hungarian Uprising in 1956, Brezhnev stopped the Prague Spring in 1968
(leading to the Brezhnev Doctrine) and sought to defend communism
across the world, notably in Afghanistan which the Soviet Union invaded in
1979.
John Lewis Gaddis described the Cold War as Two superpowers
dominated the post-1945 world; each often acted in response to what the
other had done.13 After considering the effects of all the turning points
highlighted, the USAs entry into WW1 was the key turning point in
International Relations from 1900-1970. Despite the Korean War and
Cuban Missile Crisis having the threat of nuclear war, none of that
wouldve happened without the USA coming out of isolationism for WW1.
Also, if the US didnt help in WW1, the Germans would have destroyed
everywhere in Europe, and therefore taken over.

Bibliography:
Websites:
1. SparkNotes, 2012, Aftermath of the Korean War, Retrieved From:
http://www.sparknotes.com/history/american/koreanwar/section10.r
html.
2. Study the past, 2008, Cold war science and technology, Retrieved
From:
13 SlideShare, 2014, Cuba historiography, Retrieved From:
http://www.slideshare.net/jubileecoast/cuba-historiography

Jake Shephard 3825

http://www.studythepast.com/vbprojects/cold_war_science_and_tech
nology.htm.
3. Slide Share, 2014, Cuba historiography, Retrieved From:
http://www.slideshare.net/jubileecoast/cuba-historiography
Books:
1. Justus D. Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War: A New History of
America's Entry Into World War I, p98
2. David Warren Saxe, Land and Liberty I: A Chronology of Traditional
American History, p34
3. J.A.S. Greenville, A History of the World, p110-113
4. ODD Arne Westad, The Global Cold War, p115
5. ODD Arne Westad, The Global Cold War, p66
6. Arch Puddington, Broadcasting Freedom, p134
7. ODD Arne Westad, The Global Cold War, p168
8. John Lewis Gaddis, We Now Know, 1997, quoted in Steve Phillips A
World Divided: Superpower Relations, 1944-91, 2009, p113.
9. Geoff Lewis - War on the Western Front
10.
Michael S. Neiberg - The Zimmermann Telegram and American
Entry into World War I

GCE History Coursework


Resource Record Sheet
Centre Number: 64785
Candidate Number: 3825

Jake Shephard 3825

Candidate Name: Jake Shephard


Coursework Programme Title: CW40: 20th Century International Relations, 1879-1980
Assignment Title Part B:
Issue

Sources

Comments

Cuban Missile
Crisis

http://www.slides
hare.net/jubileeco
ast/cubahistoriography

Slide show about the Cuban Missile


Crisis.

Korean War

ODD Arne Westad,


The Global Cold
War.

Book written by a professor


specialising in the Cold War.

John Gaddis

http://history.yale
.edu/people/johngaddis

Website about what the historian


John Gaddis does and where he
works.

Cuban Missile
Crisis

Arch Puddington,
Broadcasting
Freedom, p134

Teachers
comments if
appropriate

Teachers
initials and
date