SAQs for APUSH Topic 7.5— World War I

  1. World War I began in 1914 and led to the mobilization of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It also was one of the deadliest wars in history, with an estimated 8.5 million combatant deaths and 13 million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war. At the time of the war, World War I was often referred to as what?
  2. After staying neutral for more than two and a half years, the United States entered the conflict. Three key factors played a part in the US change of course: the sinking of the HMS Lusitania, Germany’s policy of unrestricted warfare, and the Zimmerman Telegram. Diplomats from what country sent the telegram? Diplomats from what country were to receive the telegram? Intelligence from what country intercepted and decoded the telegram? What did the contents of the telegram propose?
  3. In entering the war, the US departed from a long-held foreign policy tradition of noninvolvement in European affairs. What is the name of the President who, in his farewell address, said that US foreign policy should be based on neutrality and that therefore the US should “steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.”,
  4. The US Congress declared war on Germany on April 2, 1917, four days after President Woodrow Wilson had urged the Congress to declare war on Germany, with this request based on “humanitarian” and “democratic principles.” What’s a humanitarian principle? What’s a democratic principle?
  5. Less than a month after Congress declared war on Germany, President Wilson signed the Selective Service Act. The act authorized the United States federal government to raise a national army for service in World War I through conscription (the mandatory enlistment of people into military service.) Name one important way that this draft differed from previous drafts (the Civil War draft in particular). Also, briefly describe what drafted-blacks were called upon to do. Lastly, explain why socialists opposed the draft.
  6. After entering the war, Wilson called upon Congress to pass the Espionage Act. What did the Espionage Act prohibit? Also, name and briefly describe a famous US Supreme Court Case relating to the Espionage Act, being sure to include in your answer the court’s ruling.
  7. During and after World War I, increased anxiety about radicalism led to a Red Scare. What was the Red Scare of World War I? For ten more questions related to the Red Scare, click here
  8. During World War I, increased anxiety about radicalism led to attacks on labor activism? The International Workers of the World (IWW) were the primary target of these attacks. At the time of World War I, the IWW was one of the largest radical groups in the United States, with its members committed to revolutionary class struggle and known for voicing support for the anti-war movement. What happened to the IWW as a result of the way it was attacked in World War I?
  9. During World War I, increased anxiety about radicalism led to attacks on immigrant culture. What immigrant culture more so than any other was attacked? The most notorious case of a mob attack against a member of this immigrant group was the lynching of Robert Prager in Illinois in 1918. What was Robert Prager accused of? Provide one more piece of evidence showing how Robert Prager’s immigrant culture was attacked during World War I. For help answering question #10, click here.
  10. During and after World War I, many Americans migrated to urban centers. By what year did a majority of the U.S. population live in urban centers? Name and briefly describe one major pull factor explaining the move to urban centers during World War I.
  11. During and after World War I, the United States continued its transition from a rural, agricultural economy to an urban, industrial economy led by large companies. Name one of the larger companies and briefly describe its World War I importance.
  12. During and after World War I, large numbers of African Americans moved to the North and North East from the South in something called the Great Migration. Name one push and one pull factor for this Great Migration. African Americans who moved north during the Great Migration still encountered discrimination. Give one reason having to do with “immigration” that explains why northern factory owners increasingly sought to hire African Americans to work in their factories during World War I. Name and briefly describe one hostile and unaccepting way in which many whites in Chicago responded to the Great Migration in the years shortly after the ending of World War I. What was The Red Summer of 1919? Finally, what is the name given to one outcome of the Great Migration that resulted in an intellectual and cultural revival of African American music, dance, art, fashion, literature, theater, and politics spanning the 1920s and 1930s?
  13. During and after World War I, nativist campaigns against some ethnic groups led to the passage of quotas that restricted immigration, particularly from southern and eastern Europe, and increased barriers to Asian immigration. The Immigration Act of 1917 is evidence of “increased barriers” to Asian immigration. This act was also known as the Literacy Act and less often as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act. Explain how this act posed a barrier to Asian Immigration. Also, explain how the Immigration Act of 1924 is evidence of “the passage of quotas that restricted immigration.” Lastly, click here for fifteen questions that relate to the Immigration Act of 1924.
  14. World War I ended in 1918 with something called the American Expeditionary Forces having played a relatively limited role in combat. Nonetheless, the U.S.’s entry helped to tip the balance of the conflict in favor of the Allies. What was the American Expeditionary Force? Who were the Allies of the United States?
  15. World War I and its aftermath intensified ongoing debates about the nation’s role in the world and how best to achieve national security and pursue American interests. Woodrow Wilson’s “14 Points” represents one side of this debate and consists of a statement of principles for peace that was to be used for peace negotiations in order to end World War I.” In the Fourteen Points, Wilson directly addressed what he perceived as the causes for the world war by calling for the abolition of secret treaties, a reduction in armaments, an adjustment in colonial claims in the interests of both native peoples and colonists, and freedom of the seas. He also made proposals that would ensure world peace in the future(proposals that included the removal of economic barriers between nations, the promise of self-determination for national minorities, and a world organization that would guarantee the “political independence and territorial integrity [of] great and small states alike” — a League of Nations. What future (Progressive Era) president referred to President Wilson’s Fourteen Points as “high-sounding and meaningless” and something that should be tossed into the “diplomatic waste paper basket?” He went on to say that “most of these fourteen points (can be interpreted) to mean anything or nothing.” Lastly, what branch of government and “institution therein”
  16. World War I ended with the Treaty of Versailles. Of the many provisions in the treaty, what was one of the most important and controversial? Another provision required Germany to pay reparations. What specifically did this require Germany to do. One other provision required Germany to “disarm.” What did this require Germany to do?
  17. Who in the U.S. supported/opposed the Treaty of Versaille? President Wilson? The Senate? The Congress? The majority of the American people?
  18. Who in the U.S. wanted the country to join the League of Nations. President Wilson? The Senate? The Congress? The majority of the American people?
  19. In the years following World War I, the United States pursued a unilateral foreign policy to promote a vision of international order, even while maintaining U.S. isolationism. What does the term “unilateral foreign policy” mean?
  20. What is one specific piece of evidence in support of the claim that after World War I the United States pursued a unilateral foreign policy?




High school APUSH teacher with much in-class and online teaching experience. Also a blogger, keynote speaker, editor, podcast host, and conference presenter.

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Peter Paccone

Peter Paccone

High school APUSH teacher with much in-class and online teaching experience. Also a blogger, keynote speaker, editor, podcast host, and conference presenter.

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