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Woodrow Wilson and World War I

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Abstract

The United States declared war on Germany and entered World War I on April 6, 1917, but the crucial decision that led inexorably to that moment had been made two years earlier. In demanding that German submarines obey traditional rules of surface warfare, the Wilson administration turned over to the Germans the choice between war and peace. That policy was less the result of rational analysis of a particular challenge to American interests than the outcome of complex interactions among assumptions and personalities in the months between August 1914 and February 1915.

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