The United States and World War 1
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the United States and World War One for the anniversary of America’s entry into the War.
Britain, France and Russia are at war with Germany and her allies. But a war in Europe seems to have little to do with the United States. However, the British battle fleet is far more powerful than the German fleet. So the Germans start to use submarines to sink British ships. German submarines find it difficult to tell the difference between a warship and a passenger ship. A German submarine sinks the passenger liner, Lusitania. There are over a thousand passengers on board including over a hundred Americans.
The United States is furious. The Germans stop their submarine attacks for a while. However, they need to attack the British so they are desperate to continue the attacks. They send a telegram to Mexico. The telegram is called the Zimmerman Telegram after the person who wrote it. The telegram suggests to Mexico that if there is war then the Mexico should attack the United States and recapture Texas and Arizona. However, the British intercept the telegram. They give a copy of it to the American President. The Americans are very, very angry. Just then the German submarines start sinking American ships again.
The United States has had enough. They declare war on the Germans. Millions of American join the army. The nickname of American soldiers is the “Doughboys”. The Germans realise they do not have long before the Americans arrive. They launch a final massive attack on the British lines. The British are forced back but keep fighting. However, as American troops start to arrive it frees up the French to help the British. Together the British and French start to push back the Germans. By now the Americans have properly arrived. They launch their own attacks on the Germans and defeat the Germans in a series of battles. The Germans realise that they cannot win the war. They have failed to defeat the British and the French and now the Americans have arrived. The Germans ask for peace.
There is an Armistice on 11th November 1918 at 11am in the morning. Finally the fighting is over. We still remember that day as Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth and as Veterans Day in the United States.
After the war many families do not have a body of a loved one to remember because so many of the bodies are unidentified. The American bring back one unknown soldier to Washington. He lies in state in the US Capitol. The British award him the Victoria Cross and the Americans award him the Medal of Honor. He is buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to represent all those who died. His tomb is guarded to this day.
If you liked this episode then we have many other WW1 episodes. You might like our Animals in history episode. It tells the story of the brave pigeon, Cher Ami, who helped save the lives of many American soldiers in World War 1.
Or you can try our Christmas Truce episode
Or try our Boy Cornwell and the Battle of Jutland episode all about a boy sailor who became a national hero.
If you want to know why World War 1 happened you might want to try our “Outbreak of World War One” episode
Or our “Sophie and Franz” episode about the doomed love at the start of the war.
You could also try our episode about the Resolute Desk which talks about the friendship between Britain and the United States.
You might also like to join our Patrons’ Club which has other exclusive episodes. The details are at www.patreon.com/historystorytime