Proclamation of Neutrality by President Woodrow Wilson
When the guns of August 1914 shattered the peace of European countries, pitting Germany and Austria-Hungary (the Central Powers) against Britain, France, and Russia, President Woodrow Wilson on August 4 released a proclamation of neutrality. Fourteen days later he urged People in america to be "impartial in thought aswell as doing his thing." However in the realms of both official policy and general public opinion, neutrality proved tricky to maintain. Wilson insisted, for reasons of both basic principle and economic advantage, on total neutral trading rights with all the current belligerent powers. Britain and Germany got numerous ideas. Each tried to throttle American trade with the various other. Britain, whose battle fleet controlled the top of Atlantic, succeeded spectacularly. American commerce with Germany possessed fallen by 1916 to significantly less than 1 percent of its 1914 worth. In the same period, American trade with Britain and its own French and (after 1915) Italian allies tripled.
British restrictions on American trade elicited repeated American problems, but the harm done by British professional regulations and area ships paled next to the harm inflicted by German submarines. The U-boat (Unterseeboot) ignored existing guidelines of naval warfare. Unlike the original practice, submerged U-boats torpedoed merchant ships unexpectedly. When sinkings led to the increased loss of American lives - as in the assault on the British passenger liner Lusitania on, may 7, 1915, killing 128 Americans - Wilson's government protested vehemently. Germany restrained its submarine episodes thereafter, but on January 31, 1917, in a desperate proceed to end the two-and-a-half-year-old armed service stalemate in European countries, the German high control declared unrestricted submarine warfare against all shipping and delivery, neutral or belligerent, destined for Britain.
Wilson broke diplomatic relations with Berlin,