Explain the causes of World War I, the reasons for American neutrality and eventual entry into the war, and America’s role in shaping the course of the war.

Lesson 4:Causes of World War I and U.S. Involvement

Content Expectations: USHG 6.2.2; C4.1.2; C4.1.4;
Key Concepts: alliances, imperialism, isolationism, militarism, nationalism, neutrality
Abstract: In August of 1914 the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was assassinated in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo. This event was the spark that ignited a conflagration which lasted for four years, involved most of the nations of the world, and at its conclusion World War I (or the Great War as it was known at the time) was the most costly war humanity had experienced to date. Historians have different ideas about what the most crucial factor was in terms of convincing President Woodrow Wilson, the United States Congress, and most American citizens that war with Germany and its’ allies had become necessary by April 2, 1917. Wilson ran for reelection as the “peace” candidate in 1916, but by the spring of 1917 reversed his position and asked Congress for a declaration of war. In this lesson, students examine the causes of World War I in general and consider some of the basic theories about what the most important factor was in propelling America to war.

Lesson 4 Resources/Handouts
Video: World War I
6.2 Origins of World War I.pages

Monday, 1/10
Begin with short introductory video on the the Great War, World War I. Consider and discuss, "What were the underlying factors that led to war in Europe?"

Students will then read and complete the 6.2 Origins of World War I.pages note-taking handout. While