Saturday, February 17, 2007

Kyra Martin
AP U.S. History
Period 2
DBQ Essay
Neutrality or Partiality?

The U.S. never was neutral due to the fact that they were always assisting the Allies from the very beginning. The word neutral means to be impartial. However, America still chose to take a side in the war which was the Allies. The U.S. took specific actions that caused others to perceive them as a nation that went against prior established policies of neutrality. Relationships were formed between Britain and the U.S. America also served as a “lookout” for the British nation. Because of their interaction with Britain, their neutrality seemed unrealistic.
Prior to War World 1, the U.S. established a policy of neutrality. This policy mandated not to lend money to the Allies or any other nations and to remain outside of all situations that would cause the country to express any impartiality. However, the U.S.’s actions showed some people otherwise. Hugo Munsterberg, a professor at Harvard University, stated that he felt America acted the complete opposite way of what their policy stated. He believed the British were allowed by the U.S to blockade trade with Germany. Britain seized contraband goods which was a violation of international law and America’s neutrality. Still, the U.S. didn’t make any moves in order to prevent Britain’s violations. In addition to Munsterberg, Robert Lansing, secretary of state at the time, also reflects on how America assisted the Allies by permitting British violation. He wrote about Britain intercepting neutral ships and shipping them to British ports. The ironic thing about this situation is how the U.S. didn’t intervene and restore the country’s “neutrality.” The actions taken by America in this incident showed how their policy was established in vain and its words were trite.
Relationships between Britain and the U.S. were formed before and during the war. New York’s American Customs Inspector reported that America’s Lusitania carried 5468 cases of ammunition consigned to Britain. America was supplying the Allies with weapons to defeat the Central Powers in the war. An economic investment was made by U.S. capitalists to support the Allies’ war effort. J.P. Morgan was given permission by the U.S. government to extend $3 billion of credit to Britain and France. However, if the Allies lost the war, U.S. bankers would lose a great amount of money that could possibly cause the nation’s economy to suffer. The sinking of the Lusitania by a German U-boat was an incident that caused President Wilson to threaten to cut off relations with Germany if they didn’t place a restriction on their warfare which cost American lives and their shipping. America’s actions were contradictory because they allowed Britain to violate a law without any consequences, but gave Germany an ultimatum for their behavior.
America also served as a “lookout” for the British during the war period. The New York Times published a notice from the Imperial German Government to warn Britain and its allies of Germany’s plan to destroy any ships passing their war zone flying Great Britain’s flag. The U.S. used this propaganda to express their support for the Allies side within the war. By doing so, America’s neutrality was not shown as intended in their policy. How can a nation express impartiality by taking sides? Warning a specific country in the midst of a conflict of their opponent’s plans is not a way to show neutrality.
To conclude, the U.S. wasn’t neutral to begin with. Their actions contradicted the words stated in their policy of neutrality. The formation of special relationships, warning a country of its opponent’s strategies, and behavior that is contrary to an established law all are associated with partiality. Choosing sides within a conflict is not an action that reflects neutrality. Therefore, the U.S. couldn’t have possibly possessed the characteristic of being neutral.



  • It's a good DBQ. You weaved in 4 out of a possible 5 documents into your articulate essay. You have a clear thesis and you address that in your essay but there are no paragraphs-why? I was also hoping to see more outside information like the Arabic, the Nye Commission, and the Zimmerman note. Why don't you put that into your essay, including the separations between paragraphs and I'll give you an A.
    For now it is a B/A


    By Blogger Garrett Jackson, at 4:03 PM  

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