America in World War I: Crash Course US History #30


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In which John Green teaches you about American involvement in World War I, which at the time was called the Great War. They didn’t know there was going to be a second one, though they probably should have guessed, ’cause this one didn’t wrap up very neatly. So, the United States stayed out of World War I at first, because Americans were in an isolationist mood in the early 20th century. That didn’t last though, as the affronts piled up and drew the US into the war. Spoiler alert: the Lusitania was sunk two years before we joined the war, so that wasn’t the sole cause for our jumping in. It was part of it though, as was the Zimmerman telegram, unrestricted submarine warfare, and our affinity for the Brits. You’ll learn the war’s effects on the home front, some of Woodrow Wilson’s XIV Points, and just how the war ended up expanding the power of the government in Americans’ lives.

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Hey teachers and students – Check out CommonLit’s free collection of reading passages and curriculum resources to learn more about the events of this episode. The complex secret alliances of Europe led to World War I:
It took several years before Americans joined the war:
After the war, President Woodrow Wilson wanted to prevent a future World War, and promoted creating a League of Nations, established following the Treaty of Versailles:

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19 Responses

  1. still suggest that " giant flying monkeys " be a phrase of the week ?

  2. 9:30 ok that was a little funny

  3. you guys are sooooo bad at punning.?# losing humor

  4. F*cking Wilson,we could have removed kebab from the map!

  5. Stock McGee says:

    A grunt! A Halo grunt!

  6. i have an exam tomorrow

  7. Leslie Rush says:

    Wow. Did they give you 15 minutes to write this episode? It's so full of bias and errors I decided to use it in class as a lesson on how a usually reliable source can be very misleading.

    1. The Zimmerman note offered up Texas, New Mexico and Arizona–specifically EXCLUDING California from the deal—which you would have known if you read the document that you actually show. It's right there. If that wasn't enough, the political cartoon you use also shows that same information.

    2. The Clear and Present Danger doctrine. Yes, censorship was at an alarming height at the time, and yes Schenk did state that there are times speech can be censored.
    ┬áBut not all speech is protected, and the SCOTUS did establish a standard to be met, instead of arbitrary judgment. Despite Debs' story, the CPD doctrine has been used more often to PROTECT speech than to censor it–for example, in Nixon vs New York Times, aka the Pentagon Papers.

    3. Palmer Raids. Presenting this as if some hysterical guy is overreacting to a little old bomb someone sent to him is a gross error. There were 36 letter bombs containing sticks of dynamite sent to various federal officials, state representatives, newspaper editors, the Chief Justice, members of the House and Senate and Palmer himself. Only half were delivered, as the rest had been held back for insufficient postage. (now THAT is worthy of a Green comment). Office staff were maimed by these bombs, one woman lost both of her hands.
    But then a few months later there were the 8 bombs that detonated in eight cities simultaneously, roughly 25 pounds of dynamite each. One of them completely demolished Palmer's home, and almost got Franklin Roosevelt (Sec of the Navy at the time) and his wife Eleanor, who lived across the street and were outside. That bomb exploded prematurely, killing the bomber, sending his body parts splattering onto the Roosevelt's porch.

    10,000 people were arrested in a series of possibly over- enthusiastic raids. Of the arrested, 3500 were actually detained. 550 of those detained were deported. As in, DUE PROCESS.
    The notes that went with the bombs were proclamations that this anarchist group would be committing murder and destruction to take down the government.

    Imagine if this happened today.

    Portraying the 1920s Red Scare as something that had no basis, like it was a paranoid hallucination of Palmer's, does your students and viewers a terrible disservice. The causes of things, as you stated, are complicated. And in this case, they were REAL.

    4. One last thing. Whoever types up your documents SURELY knows that "its" is the possessive of "it." Typos in the documents are a small thing, but writing skills are tough enough to teach as it is. Thank you for reminding my students to PROOFREAD their work before they turn it in.

  8. William Hinz says:

    Was the motivation to join the war based more on protecting the profits of the Bankers and investors of the east, or was it for democratic ideals?

  9. Hello Kitty says:

    Wait On the Zimmerman telegram, did Mexico give it to the U.S? Or did they intercept it before it got to Mexico?

  10. Anglo-Saxon conceptions. Very American.

  11. Cata says:

    6:45 Is that Thomas the train?

  12. Must've smelled like gas

  13. Alan Nadeau says:

    9 (no-shocks) to 4 (shocks). 9-4! John just might make the Mystery Document playoffs!

  14. Optic Squad says:

    Do a crash course on the U.N

  15. America likes to jump in usually when the first 2 years is over

  16. Lethenza says:

    was that a halo reference

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