The United States wanted to remain neutral during the early years of the Great War. The United States president, Wilson, declared that the United States would remain neutral and stay out of the war in Europe. Wilson felt that if the United States went to war that "our mixed populations would wage war on each other". Although the United States believed that a German victory "would change the course of our civilization and make the United States a military nation", Wilson felt it was still best to remain neutral. As the war continued, by 1917 after over $2 billion in credit loans hand been financed by the United States in aiding of the war and a enormous popularity vote against going to war and remaining in a neutrality status, the United States ended up in war reguardless.
During the years of the war the Germans developed a new weapon known as the U-boat. The U-boat was a submarine equipped with torpedoes. In 1915, the Germans announced that they would weaken a blockade and disrupt American trade with the colonies by sinking ships in a war zone around the British Isles. Within a few months ships that had been in this war zone area had been taken out and sunk by the Germans, including an American ship. Although the British were well aware they were determined to set aboard the Lusitania. After only eighteen minutes, the Lusitania was hit by a German torpedo and sunk killing nearly 1200 people of which 128 were American citizens. President Wilson was outraged and soon demanded that Germany end the unrestricted submarine warfare.
In 1917, the Germans would changed the United States view about remaining neutral in the Great War. The Zimmermann Telegram was one of two crucial factors which set Americans out of its neutrality and into a state of war. Germany had ordered that on February 1t, unrestricted submarine warfare be launched with great vigor. By late February, the British had intercepted a message sent from the Germans and released it to the United States.