Towards the end of the ninth century, the United States had to adopt a more aggressive policy to bolster its influence on global issues. America wanted to expand its political, military, economic, and cultural influence to the world. Several factors motivated the United States to pursue these imperialistic ideals. To start with, the United States wanted to expand its trade export opportunities and gain on the many economic benefits. This major factor forced America to become more pronounced in politics, economic and military matters (Waton and Rocfoff 78).
Americans also noticed the existence of very lucrative investment opportunities like the valuable minerals in Philippines and money-spinning trade deals with Cuba among many other things. The only way to get access to such wealth was through imperialistic policies. For the sake of economic supremacy in the Pacific, Americans also felt the need to gain control of strategic regions like Hawaii and Samoa by increasing their military presence in those areas.
The need to gain and seize control of the shipping lanes was another factor. American economy was on a steady increase. Therefore, there was the need to secure good sea transport to facilitate easier movement of raw materials to factories. Sea transport stood out as the most urgent thing that America wanted at that time for speedy economic growth. This led to the establishment of American naval bases on major sea routes. Even up to date, America has naval bases in all the strategic points in the three oceans (Bayly 12).
The other factor that drove the United States to adopt imperialistic approach was the need for security. America was a big and wealthy nation. Therefore, it needed a good protection. America was in search of an objective to peg their supremacy on. There was a strong sense of nationalism among Americans. They considered themselves superior to other nations, which brought feelings of insecurity. They became more aggressive in putting out their ideologies and establishing their military presence wherever they could.
In the last two decades of 19th century, the United States fought with Spain. Spain was then occupying Cuba though America had massive investments in the same country. Even with massive investments and trade amounting to millions of dollars, the United States initially did not want to engage in any war in Cuba. Cubans, on the other hand, expected the United States, as their big brother, to come to their aid as they sought independence from Spain. As the Spanish aggression towards Cubans raged on, America realized that the war in Cuba was hurting their commercial interests in the region. Americans also wanted to expand and acquire regions in the west shores of Atlantic (Hodge 23).
The war continued to worsen the American economic benefits in Cuba. Numerous visits by American officials to Cuba to assess the impact of the war on the ground blamed Spain for torturing Cuban natives. The United States could no longer watch on the sidelines. Towards the end of the century, America attacked Spain. However, the war benefited America much more than Cuba. Spain retreated from Cuba; America bolstered the economic ties with Cuba. The sugar sector that was seriously affected by the war bounced back. In general, America fought with Spain over Cuba for economic reasons (Hodge 112).
The First World War was indeed a very devastating war. Until then, the world had never witnessed such war. It was because of the huge impact occasioned by the First World War that made people to call it the Great War. It was the first war to affect all the countries in Europe and the world at large. The scope of destruction was phenomenal and many people perished in the war. Initially, the war was called the Great War. It was not refereed as First World War because by then nobody ever knew that there would be another war of such a magnitude. People could not imagine that there could be any other war greater than the Great War.
From the outset, the assumption was that the First World War was caused by the death of the Austrian leader and his wife in Bosnia. However, a critical look at the issue paints a more complex scenario that even historians are still studying up to date. What is clearly known as one of the major causes that led to the war in Europe is the question of alliances. Most European countries entered into treaties and agreements promising to support each other in the event of aggression. This meant that some states attacked without being provoked. This principle led many European countries into war with other states without direct attack to their people (Brabon 36).
Imperialism was another issue. Countries, especially France and Britain, took over most parts of Africa and other undeveloped nations. This was because these nations were a major boost during the era of industrialism. Countries began to compete for raw materials from Africa for their factories back home. Germany was disadvantaged because it had fewer colonies. Secondly, it entered to the scramble late. Competition for markets and other advantages that came with colonies accelerated First World War in Europe.
Since the begging of the First World War, America maintained neutrality. They only changed their strategy when Germany continued sinking American submarines one after the other. Germany adopted this aggressive move with the hope to starve Britain and force it to surrender the fight, but it is the United States that lost most of its submarines. In 1917 president, Woodrow Wilson had no option but to seek congress approval to attack Germany (Buckley and Strong 54).