Dating to 1957, this Encyclopedia Brittanica film documents the USA’s involvement in WWI and the aftermath, with Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Point Plan broken down and a discussion of the Treaty of Versailles. World War I, also known as the Great War, involved 28 nations from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas (:39). A map of Europe in 1914 (:58) prior to the war. A single stack ocean liner is seen (1:09). German troops march (1:16). Prior to the war and for much of it’s beginning, the US held a neutral position and refused alliances with any European nations (1:22). Great powers of Europe had been competing for world markets (1:33). Map of Africa is shown with British colonies (1:53). French North African colonies (2:00) and German colonies are shown (2:07). These powers began building up their military strengths (2:19). Allegiances were formed between Germany, Austria-Hungry and Italy forming the Triple Alliance (2:31). The Triple Entante included France, Russia and England (2:37). In June of 1914 the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia by Serbian patriots (2:48). Headlines reading ‘Germany Declares War on Russia, France’ (3:21).German troops mount motor bikes as they sought to overwhelm France and attack Russia (3:35). Belgium protested as Germany moved through the country (3:45). The White House (4:17) and Woodrow Wilson within the Oval Office are pictured (4:21). Allied powers blockaded Germany from receiving war supplies (4:38) and Germany sought to starve England and hit shipping fleets with submarines (4:45). Royal Navy warships are seen firing at submarines in the water (4:52). Britain impounds cargo ships heading for Germany (5:03). Wilson protested against both countries (5:12). The British liner SS Lusitania is seen leaving from port in New York in May of 1915 (5:30). A German U-boat (5:52) sighted the liner and hit it with torpedoes (6:01).A New York Times front page details the event (6:22). William Jennings Bryan (6:40), US Secretary of State, resigned after Wilson protested only to Germany as Bryan felt both countries were at fault. In 1915, Wilson sent Colonel Edward House (7:07) to Europe to act as his personal envoy and mediator. Italy turned against Germany (7:27) and Turkey took the German side (7:32). Troops are seen in trenches across northeastern France as the two powers were in a deadlock (7:45). Footage follows of new war technologies including barbed wire (8:03), men putting on gas masks to protect themselves from poison gas (8:08), armored tanks (8:12) and observation balloons (8:17). Early fighter planes are seen (8:25) as this war saw the first air combat and bombing raids (8:31). Wilson’s re-election campaign is seen (9:17). German submarines (10:15) sunk thousands of British ships. In March of 1917, five US ships were sunk by German submarines (11:17). The German Kaiser, Wilhelm II is seen (11:54) in March of 1917. Wilson appears before Congress on April 2nd, 1917 (12:12) and Congress declared war on the Axis powers on April 6th (12:30). The US began building it’s military strength and men are seen undergoing the induction process (12:43) as a draft law drew three million into service. A liberty bond is viewed (13:25). Wilson is seen dictating his 14 Point Plan (14:19) which included the formation of a League of Nations (14:29). In the spring of 1918, men of the AEF board ships to head overseas (14:54). General John Pershing (16:06) commands these forces. The AEF arrives in France (16:11). In the spring of 1917, German armies launched an offense against northern France (16:58). U.S. troops saw first combat in the Battle of Cantigny in 1918 (17:24). On July 17th, 1918, the German offensive ceased (17:45). Allied Commander Ferdinand Foch (19:30) in August of 1918, granted Pershing’s request for an independent US army. The US’s 1st Army was formed from this (19:36). On November 11th, 1918 the war ended (20:38). Celebrations erupted in the USA (21:15). Wilson and his staff traveled to France for the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 (22:15). The Council of Four is pictured including Wilson, Lloyd George, Vittorio Orlando and Georges Clemenceau (23:28). An expanse of the Hall of Mirrors, where the conference was held (24:01). The Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28th, 1919 (24:44). Wilson is seen explaining the League of Nations to the American public (25:02), though his own government would not ratify it (25:38). The film concludes with a shot of a new, post-war map of Europe (26:15).
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