Think Learn & Perform (TLP)

The Only Dedicated Platform for UPSC Mains Answer Writing

Day 31 – Q 2. Why did the US stay away from World War I initially? What led them to enter it later? Explain.

2. Why did the US stay away from World War I initially? What led them to enter it later? Explain.

शुरुआत में प्रथम विश्व युद्ध से अमेरिका क्यों दूर रहा? उसे बाद में प्रवेश करने के लिए किन कारकों ने प्रेरित किया? स्पष्ट करें।


The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 set off a chain reaction within the alliance system that resulted in the World War I. Though started off as a European conflict, it soon engulfed the entire world into it.


USA stayed away from the war till the very end due to the following reasons:

  • Isolationist policy- Policy of USA to stay away from the affairs of Europe and vice versa.
  • Autocratic Czar- USA did not want to side with the autocratic Russia of the time, that was against its own democratic policies.
  • No stakes- USA at that time did not have any stakes in the war; no USA interest was being harmed.
  • Focus on development- USA was focused on internal development and participating in a war could have jeopardized that.
  • Economic benefits- USA provided war support and loans to both sides and thus helped boost its own economy while Europe was fighting.

Factors that forced USA into the war:

  • Sinking of Lusitania- In 1915, a German U-boat had sunk British passenger ship, leaving 128 U.S. citizens dead.
  • Unrestricted submarine warfare- In 1917, the Germans announced that their submarines would sink without warning any ship in the waters around Britain. It led to sinking of three American ships.
  • Zimmermann Telegram- In 1917, a German telegram was intercepted, with a plan to help Mexico “reconquer” the land it had lost to the United States if Mexico would ally itself with Germany.
  • Common bonding- England and USA shared a common ancestry and language, as well as similar democratic institutions and legal systems.
  • Economic interests- The government of USA and businessmen had provided huge loans to British and French governments to help in their war efforts, defeat of allied powers would have meant huge losses to America.
  • Atrocities by Germany- German war atrocities, especially in neutral state of Belgium, led to a strong anti-German feeling in USA.


Entry of USA into the war, on the side of Allies, changed the entire course of it and the outcome. It not only positioned USA as a great global power, but also prepared grounds for future war through harsh treaties like treaty of Versailles.

Best answer: SASenapati

Print Friendly, PDF & Email