Lesson video

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Hello there, welcome back to history here at Oak National Academy with me Miss Barnett.

Thank you for joining me here for our second lesson into our inquiry about why World War One came to an end in November 1918.

Our focus of today's lesson is looking at the USA entering the war in 1917.

All the time thinking about the impact it has on the conflict and how far it contributed to why World War One came to an end in November 1918.

So please pause the video here to get your title down if you've not already done so.

If you are ready then we are going to get started on our first task for today.

So in our first task for today, we are going to be recapping our knowledge from lesson one, which was looking at events on the Eastern Front and the Russian Revolution in 1917.

On the right hand side of the slide here, you will see four events that we studied in lesson one, but they're not currently in a chronological order.

So your starter task for today's lesson is to put them into the correct chronological order.

You can do that, like I've done on this slide with a flowchart.

But you can just do it as a bullet pointed list, it's entirely up to you.

But the key thing for success here is to make sure that they are in time order with the earliest event first going down to the last event at the end.

So pause the video here to complete this activity.

And then when you're done, unpause the video and we're going to go through the correct answers.

Okay, welcome back everyone.

So I would recommend having a different colour pen at hand to tick off your correct answers, but also to amend any that you haven't quite got in the correct order.

So, thinking about our first event then.

This was when the Tsar was forced to abdicate, give up power in Russia in 1917.

So give yourself a tick if you've got this one as the first event in your list.

This second event once Tsar has abdicated, and there is now a vacuum for who's going to lead Russia, we see the Bolsheviks seize power.

They were the Communist Party in Russia.

So this was our second event.

The third event is when the Russians signed an armistice with the Central Powers.

So an armistice is a halt to the fighting, and the Central Powers were Germany and Austria, Hungary predominantly.

And so towards the end of 1917, the Russians signed the armistice which prevents them from fighting any longer.

And then finally, our final event is the formal withdrawal of Russia from World War One after they signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in 1918.

So pause here, check how many you've got correct out of four.

If you need to add or amend anything to just make sure you've got your correct set of answers, then please do.

However, if you've got a four out of four, really, really great job, and we're going to have a look at kind of what comes next.

Okay, so let's zoom out for a second then before we think about new knowledge for today.

This is a very, as you can tell, brief timeline of World War One.

And in particular, just focusing on the key events that we've looked at so far.

So in lesson one, we looked at World War One beginning in 1914.

In particular, we were focusing on Europe splitting into those two alliances.

You've got the Allied Powers, and you've got the Central Powers.

Now we did then jump on a little bit in lesson one, focusing particularly on the Eastern Front in 1917, and the conditions that Russia was facing by this period in the war.

And we were looking at how that led to revolution in Russia, the first in February the 2nd, in October of 1917.

And this ties in with the task you've just completed.

Thinking about how this led to the withdrawal of Russia from World War One.

Now, what we're going to be thinking about today then, is this same timeframe of 1917.

But we're thinking about a different country completely.

Before we think about that country in a bit more detail, let's kind of look at our content so far geographically.

Okay, so in terms of thinking about kind of the key content from lesson one, but also thinking about and kind of where the main fighting of world war one took place.

We're focusing on this area here.

So predominantly Europe, but also with some areas of the Middle East involved too.

And so we know kind of that we've got the Western Front and the Eastern Front, but we also have some other fighting areas.

Now the focus of today's lesson is thinking about the United States.

Here they are.

And in particular, thinking about why the United States A, hadn't joined before 1917.

But also what was it about their entering of the war that perhaps contributed to the war coming to an end.

Now I want you to have a very quick thinK about this map, if the square is where kind of the main fighting of the war is taking place, and our arrow is where the United States is.

Why do you think geographically the United States up to 1917 has chosen to not to get themselves involved in the war? Any ideas? Okay, now it's largely because the overwhelming public opinion is that this is a European conflict.

That this is something focusing on the territories in the square that we can see here.

And it has nothing to do with the United States.

And this becomes kind of a key reason for the USA staying out of the war.

So in 1914 when war breaks out, the official position of the United States is one of neutrality.

Now, that means that they don't favour one side or the other, they are going to just stay out of it, and they are going to if they choose to work with both the Allied power, sorry, and the Central Powers.

Now, this choice of neutrality, as I said before is largely down to public opinion.

And public opinion is very, very important.

The USA is a democracy, and in a democracy people can vote to express their opinion.

As a democracy, people are encouraged to express their opinion.

It's kind of a key feature of what a democracy is.

This means that in countries that are democracies, you can't just force things on people.

People are allowed to have their opinions and express them.

So President Woodrow Wilson, who you can see here in this photograph had to respect that.

He had to respect the public opinion which was to stay neutral at this time and not involve the United States in a conflict.

Now there's a potential for public opinion to begin to change in 1915.

This is with the sinking of the RMS Lusitania.

Now the RMS Lusitania was a passenger ship carrying civilians across the Atlantic.

But a German submarine torpedoed to the ship as it was crossing the Atlantic and it sank.

Amongst the casualties were 128 American civilians.

At this point, we start to see a slight change in public opinion.

And there starts to be questions raised about whether America should start to involve themselves more in the conflict.

There isn't enough of a change here for them to intervene, we know they still stay out.

But we can start to see the public mood of the Americans begin to change.

And importantly, change against the actions of the Germans and become more in favour of the Allied Powers.

So you could argue that kind of from 1915 onwards, they're not entirely neutral.

Now between 1914 and 1916, the USA's is key role in World War One was in its loans and resources to the powers of Europe.

They were very important, we spoke in lesson one about the significance of resources and just how important they are to secure victory in a war.

And we know that by 1917, that resources are starting to run low.

This war has been going on for longer than most expected, and so the United States is providing loans.

It's selling resources to the powers of Europe to ensure that all sides can continue fighting.

But after the RMS Lusitania, we do start to see more of a favouring of the Allied Powers.

However, the crucial part is that still by 1916, the USA are not involved in World War One.

Now, this changes however in 1917, due to a series of events that take place quite quickly, and allow public opinion to change.

Now, firstly in January, Germany announced that they would be moving towards a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.

What does that mean? It means that there's submarines stationed in the Atlantic could fire on any ships going across the Atlantic, regardless of country they were coming from, regardless if they were a passenger ship, or what we call a merchant ship which would be carrying goods.

This is obviously very hostile.

So the Germans are basically stating that their submarines could potentially sink American ships that have nothing to do with the war, and that are carrying innocent civilians rather than just targeting those ships that are perhaps being used to transport allied resources.

As a result of this declaration, an increasing number of American ships are sunk by German submarines.

To the point where by March 1917, five American ships are sunk whilst crossing the Atlantic.

Now, whilst that on its own may not have been enough for the American public opinion to change.

In the same month, very important telegram, the Zimmermann telegram was released to the press.

The image on this slide is a copy of the Zimmermann telegram.

It is in code, so you're not going to be able to read it.

Unless you can crack that code, in which case very impressive.

Now, the Zimmermann telegram was a communication between Germany and Mexico.

And in the telegram, the Germans are encouraging the Mexicans to side with the Germans in the case that the United States intervenes in a conflict.

But as well as that the Germans are promising the Mexicans that they would help reclaim some of Mexico's lost lands.

In 1848, there had been a conflict between Mexico and the United States.

United States had been victorious, and as a result that had captured lands that had previously been Mexican.

Which includes some of the modern day states such as California.

And in this telegram sent by Zimmerman who was part of the German Foreign Office, they are basically encouraging Mexico to get involved.

And as a reward for that they will be given some of their lost land back.

Now this seems to be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

It seems to be the thing that encourages public opinion to change.

The public see German actions now as being very aggressive and very hostile.

They are now targeting any ships crossing the Atlantic and as well as that they have gone to a country that shares a border with the United States and are encouraging them to intervene in the war.

So the war if we think back to that map is no longer being restricted to that square.

The Americans see it that the German are trying to bring the war to the United States.

Now because the public opinion has begun to change, and now has changed against Germany.

In April 1917, Wilson delivers a speech to Congress.

Congress, it's the group of people that make laws in the United States, including laws that allow a country to go to war.

And so Wilson, knowing that public opinion now supports the idea of the Americans getting involved in a conflict goes to Congress to deliver that speech.

Before we look at speech however, we're just going to do a quick pause point here to check that we've picked out one of the key points from the last few slides.

So the question why did Wilson have to consider public opinion before taking the USA into World War One? Just want you to pause here for a second, read through these four options.

And then work out which one you think is correct and why? Okay, so option three is the correct answer here.

So Wilson had to consider public opinion, because the United States was a democracy.

And this means that because people can vote, because people can express an opinion, if that opinion is anti war, Wilson has to listen to that which explains why the USA stayed out of the war for as long as it did.

However, when public opinion became pro-war in 1917, Wilson was able to get the United States to enter World War One Now it's April 1917 then that President Woodrow Wilson goes to Congress, the group of people responsible for making laws in the United States and delivers a speech.

This is an extract from that speech, that speech is very long.

It's a great speech if you want to read it in full.

We're just going to look at a small chunk of it.

So let's have a read through the speech together.

Remember, Wilson is trying to convince Congress that the United States should enter World War One.

And then once we've read through it, I'm going to ask you four or so questions about the content.

I'll talk about that more in a second.

So let's read through.

"We are accepting this challenge of hostile purpose because we know that in such a government, following such methods, we can never have a friend.

And that in the presence of its organised power, always lying in wait to accomplish we know not what purpose, there can be no assured security for the democratic governments of the world.

We are now about to accept gauge of battle with this natural foe to liberty and shall if necessary, spend the whole force of the nation to check and nullify it's pretensions and its power.

The world must be made safe for democracy.

Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty.

We have no selfish ends to serve.

We desire no conquest, no dominion.

We seek no indemnities for ourselves, no material compensation for the sacrifices we shall freely make.

We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind.

We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them." Okay, so just one extract from Wilson's speech to Congress.

Now four questions that I want you to think through the answers to, rather than necessarily writing anything down.

Which we're going to do to wrap up this task in a second.

Considering this highlighted section.

In this bit, which government is Woodrow Wilson referring to? And when he talks about that, "following such methods." What methods is he referring to? Okay, so the government here that Wilson is talking about is the German government.

And the methods that he's referring to are those aggressive methods that we were thinking about couple of slides back, where Germany was declaring unrestricted submarine warfare, as well as trying to get Mexico involved.

So this first section talking directly about Germany, and how unhappy they are with the methods they've used.

Next section to pick this apart a bit further.

In this highlighted section, by referring to all other countries as democratic.

What is Wilson suggesting about Germany? And how would Germany challenging the security of other countries? Have a think.

Okay, so by suggesting that other countries are democratic, we can infer, make an educated guess, that Wilson does not believe that Germany is a democratic country.

That they are not following the will and the opinion of their civilians.

And he also talks about the fact in this section that whilst Germany is allowed to do these things, there can be no assured security.

Means that the other governments can never rely on the fact that their countries will be secure.

And if we're thinking about how Germany have been challenging that.

We know that by April 1917, they've been engaged with battles during World War One.

They have obviously been targeting passenger ships crossing the Atlantic.

And so none of the countries, none of these democratic governments of the world can rest assured that Germany will not target them next.

In this highlighted section here, what is Wilson saying America is prepared to do and why? So have a think.

Okay, so in this section, Wilson is very much saying that he will use the whole force of the United States to basically kind of put Germany back in its place.

Spend the whole force of the nation to check and nullify, to nullify it's kind of to calm, to remove it as a threat.

It's pretensions and its power.

So Wilson very much suggesting here that the United States will thoroughly throw themselves into this conflict.

And the reason why is this final section, the world must be safe for democracy.

So according to Wilson, the key reason behind the United States intervention is about making sure the world is safe for democracy.

Final section to think about then, this last bit here.

In this final section of the extract, what do we learn about the reasons for the USA's involvement? What are their motives? So have a quick reread and a think.

Okay, so really interesting section here to finish off this part of the speech.

So what we see in this section then, in terms of the motivation for the United States and for Wilson in particular, is them championing, it's difficult word, of the rights of mankind.

And that they will remain in the war, continue fighting in the war until those rights have been made secure.

Interestingly, what we see is that they don't want anything in return.

The first part of this section talks about how they have no selfish ends to serve.

They don't want to conquer anything.

They don't want to rule over anything.

They don't want any material compensation for the sacrifices they know they'll make.

There's always casualties in war.

They are happy kind of participating in this conflict without anything in return, because for them this is a conflict about ensuring the rights of mankind, and about ensuring the world is made safe for democracy.

So an incredibly persuasive and passionate speech to Congress here.

And in the end, we see that this speech is successful, and Congress approved the United States involvement in World War One.

Now, let's summarise then this extract.

What I would like you to do in a second is to copy out this paragraph here, but you'll notice that there are some missing words.

Those words are across the bottom of the screen.

And so using your thoughts from the previous activity, and also if you need to rewinding the video to be able to go back to the screen with the speech on it, what I would like you to do is add in the missing words into the correct section.

So we have got a summary of Wilson's speech in April 1917.

So pause the video here to get that done.

And then when you're completed, unpause the video and we will go through the answers.

Okay, welcome back everyone.

So let's have a look at how we've done.

As always, I would suggest having a different colour pen at hand to tick off your correct answers, but also to amend anything that you haven't got quite right.

So your correct paragraph should read.

This extract from Wilson's speech to Congress talks about their enemy who is Germany.

Wilson accuses the country of being undemocratic by saying that America's actions were to make the world safe for democracy.

To achieve this, Woodrow Wilson was prepared to use the resources of the whole nation.

Wilson spoke about the motivations of the USA, stating that their involvement was because they were the champions of mankind, and they didn't seek anything in return.

So pause here if you need a bit longer just to check through your answer.

If you've got all five of those words in the correct place, then very good job, you can give yourself a pat on the back.

We know that Wilson's speech is successful and Congress do approve the United States entering the war.

And it's thanks to that combination of positive or pro-war public opinion plus Wilson's very persuasive speech that allows Congress or encourages Congress to pass the law to get to the United States to enter the war in April 1917.

So a quick pause point then, just to check for understanding before we move on.

Which of these statements best describes why the USA entered World War One.

So pause here to give them a quick read through and work out which one you think is best.

Okay, so the correct answer is B.

The Germans had begun to target USA directly, and Wilson felt they were a threat to world peace.

So this is the best statement to describe why the USA entered World War One, did we get it right? Excellent work everyone.

Now the USA's impact in World War One was vital.

In lesson one, we spoke of the importance of resources, not just for fighting battles, but for also making sure the home front was able to look after itself during the conflict of the war.

And we also know that this war has already been going on for far longer than everyone expected.

The impact of the US involvement on the side of the Allies then kind of takes three key areas.

Firstly, there is an expansion of the loans and armaments given to the Allies.

So now that the United States have joined the Allied Powers, the loans get bigger, the amount of armaments sent increases, and so they have enough economic power and enough resources to continue fighting.

The United States ends up expanding its army by drafting in soldiers to join it.

Which means that by the time that they are ready to enter the conflict, there are 4 million soldiers in the American army.

This means that by the end of the conflict, there are 10,000 American soldiers landing in France every day.

And bearing in mind these troops are fresh, they haven't been fighting the whole way through, they're going to make a real difference to the outcome of this conflict.

And as well as providing soldiers, the US Navy joined and ended up being added to the strength of the British Navy.

Which at this point has been crossing the Atlantic for resources, but has also been undertaking very important job of blockading the Central Powers Now all of this is very significant given the context of 1917.

And we're going to be thinking about that in a bit more detail with our questions for today.

So there are five questions I would like you to answer based on the reading worksheet.

So in a second, you're going to pause the video and answer the following questions.

Question one, what was the USA's position when war broke out in 1914? Question two, why did the USA join the war in 1917? For question three, what was the economic impact of US involvement in World War One? So the financial, the monetary value.

For four, what was the military impact of US involvement in World War One? And then question five a contextual question.

Why was US involvement especially important in 1917? Remember to use full sentences which means including the question in your answer.

So pause the video here, read the reading worksheet and then answer those five questions.

When you're done and you're happy with your answers, come back to the video and we'll go through them together.

Okay, welcome back everyone.

So, a gentle reminder as I did in lesson one.

Ideally, you're going to have a different colour pen to tick or amend your work.

And remember that my answers will very likely be worded differently to yours.

So you're just going to think about in your answers, have you got the same key details? For question one, which is what was the USA's position when the war broke out in 1914? Going to go straight to the good answer.

When war broke out in 1914, the USA decided to remain neutral and not support either side.

So if you need to pause it and amend your answer, please do.

If you're happy with your answer, and you've given yourself a big tick, great job.

We're going to think about question two.

Okay, why did the USA join the war in 1917? Straight to the good answer.

The USA joined the war in 1917 for two main reasons.

Firstly, the USA felt threatened by Germany's declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare.

This was a threat to all nations.

Secondly, the USA felt threatened by the German telegram to Mexico, encouraging them to get involved in a conflict against the United States.

This aggression directly against the USA, turned public opinion to support war.

So the key details here.

It's about Germany's aggression.

And it'd be great if you've got those two examples about submarine warfare and about this is the Zimmermann telegram.

If you're happy with your answer, then in a second we'll move on.

If you're not and you want to add or amend anything then please pause here For question three, what was the economic impact of US involvement in world War One? Straight to the good answer.

The USA's provided loans and goods to the allies that they wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise.

This allowed the Allies to continue fighting the Central Powers.

The economic contribution of the United States is vitally, vitally important, because of all countries running out of resources at this particular time, it's incredibly significant.

And often one that students forget in favour of thinking about all of the soldiers that the United States bring.

So don't underplay the importance of their economic impact.

If you're happy with your answer, we'll move on.

If you need to, pause here to give yourself a bit more time to amend or add to your answers.

For question four, what was the military impact of US involvement in World War One? Good answer, the US involvement in World War One gave the Allies a military advantage.

They drafted 4 million men into their army and were sending 10,000 fresh troops a day to France by the end of the war.

This gave the Allies an advantage over fighting the tired German forces from 1917 onwards.

So this is the thing we most associate with US involvement.

Of course, incredibly significant.

Huge numbers of fresh troops turning up is definitely going to give the Allies an advantage.

Pause here if you need a bit longer to tweak this answer.

If you're happy with it, let's look at question five.

Why was US involvement especially important in 1917? This is our contextual question thinking about what else was going on at the time.

For the good answer then.

US involvement was especially important in 1917 for several reasons.

Firstly, all armies involved since 1914 were tiring and running low on resources.

A fresh set of troops and resources gave the Allies an advantage in 1917.

It was also important because by the end of 1917, the Russians had signed an armistice with the Central Powers, bringing their involvement in the war to an end.

The troops of the Central Powers were now focused on the Western Front.

An increase in troops there thanks to the Americans, helped prevent a significant advance from the German troops.

So a slightly longer answer here.

So do please pause if you want to add anything to your own.

If in your answer, you've got the key details about resources running low and the Russian withdrawal.

Then that sounds pretty fantastic to me, very well done.

And we are going to finish off today's lesson by revisiting our inquiry.

Okay, so our big inquiry question that we're focusing on for our four lessons is why did why did World War One end in November 1918? And in today's lesson, lesson two, we've been thinking about the USA's entry into the war and the impact that it had.

Now in lesson one, we looked at this diagram.

And I introduced you to the idea that the end of World War One can be organised into three key factors or three key reasons.

Military reasons, political reasons, and economic reasons.

And at the end of lesson one, I got you to set up a notes page that we would be revisiting throughout this inquiry to add examples to.

So you should already have your examples from the Eastern Front and the Russian Revolution onto that notes page already.

Some of you may have done it as a table.

Some of you may have done it is a mind map.

Some of you may have done it as a list, it really doesn't matter as long as somewhere you've got these three headings, with examples connected to the Eastern Front and the Russian Revolution on there.

Now, the focus of today's lesson has been the USA entering the war.

So, I would like you to pause the video in a second.

And I would like you to add details from today's lesson underneath these three headings.

Now what I want you to think about is the USA's us entry into the war.

How did that affect kind of military reasons that led World War One to come to an end in November 1918? Is there anything connected to the USA's entry to the war and political reasons? And then finally, what was the USA's economic contribution to the war that might help us understand why it came to an end in November 1918.

So pause the video here.

Think back through today's lesson and the reading worksheet, and then add in examples underneath these three headings of anything connected to the United States that fits under these headings and helps explain why World War One came to an end in November 1918.

And then when you're done, unpause the video.

Okay everyone, welcome back.

So we should be building up a pretty good set of notes now from lesson one and lesson two.

We have the focus being on how events such as the Russian Revolution and the USA's entry into the war, contributed to the end of World War One in 1918.

In lesson three, we're going to be thinking about the impact of those American resources and what happens when the Germans decide to try and take an advantage in what's called the spring offensive of 1918.

So I look forward to you joining me again here soon for lesson three.