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How the War was Won

I came across an interesting take on the First World War recently. It discussed why the United States entered the conflict in 1917. Now, if the USA had been genuinely democratic there is no way it would have joined the British. The nationalist myths necessary to create a country meant that most US kids were taught to distrust, if not hate, the British, who had had to be driven out of their country in a war which lasted from 1776 to 1783. Throw in the massive German and Irish immigrant vote and add the number of isolationists who wanted nothing to do with a conflict in far away Europe and I doubt there was a majority in favour of intervention on the side of Britain and France. So, why did America enter the war? Simply, the Germans made the mistake of pissing US industrialists off. The British had been very careful not to economically blockade Germany too thoroughly prior to 1917. American manufacturers had little real difficulty shipping goods to German customers via middlemen in the neutral Scandinavian countries and Holland. The same neutral middlemen, by the way, also shipped British goods to Germans. The British knew better than to interfere too much with American pursuit of the Mighty Dollar.The Americans were also making a fortune from selling to the British and its war effort became increasingly dependent on American arms and goods. The Germans decided to gamble in 1917 on severing Britain's trans-Atlantic lifeline through unrestricted submarine warfare. They hoped the British would collapse before the Americans could effectively react to their golden goose being throttled. They lost that gamble. America's war millionaires resented the interference with their right to make money from European folly. Germany must be punished for meddling too efficiently in free trade. Faced with the threat of large numbers of US troops being thrown into the fight on the Western Front, the Germans gambled on a massive spring offensive in 1918 and lost again. Its battered armies collapsed during the British-French-American offensives of late summer and autumn. And of course following America's entry into the war the British could finally take the gloves off when it came to an economic blockade of Germany. Germany's defeat owed more to brutal economic realities than to much belated Allied military brilliance.  It's an interesting take that merits further study and proper consideration. 


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