As the war dragged on into 1916 and then 1917 it seemed to be a war with no end. The Western Front was a stalemate with battles that yielded little progress but costs thousands of lives. In response to a British blockade the Germans utilized U-boats or submarines to attack British naval vessels but then the Germans began to target British merchant ships delivering goods to Great Britain. When the passenger ship Lusitania was sunk by a U-boat killing over 1200 people including 120 Americans. Fearing the entry of the US into war Germany soon ceased attacking passenger ships but by 1917 the Germans returned to unrestricted submarine warfare because they saw it as vital to defeating the British navy.
The attacks on shipping began to draw the US closer to war and then the discovery of the Zimmerman note which was a secret message from the German government to Mexico promising the southwestern US if they came into the war on the side of Germany. So with the pressure from different directions, the US declared war in April 1917.
The Zimmerman Note
Today we will examine the end of the war and the Treaty of Versailles which formally ended the war. We will examine the conditions of the peace treaty and how it also set up the conditions that led to World War II.