One hundred years ago, on 6 April 1917, the United States officially entered World War I. This happened more than thirty months after the violation of Belgium’s neutrality by the Kaiser’s Army on 4 August 1914. The interplay of strategic power alliances had made the conflict truly worldwide. On the Western front, after many campaigns and battles, the war got entangled into trench warfare. After having long remained apart, the United States broke with its policy of isolationism to commit itself militarily to the side of the allied powers.
We will examine in historical terms the events that eventually led the United States to entering the war. What factors made U.S. political decision makers decide to break the isolationism? What were the circumstances that led the country to declare war on Germany and how did this decision influence future policies?
By entering World War I, the United States becomes gradually a major international political, economic and security player: a great power whose geopolitical interests and national security strategy will, from then onwards, profoundly influence the nature and requirements of the international system.
Today, this international system inherited from the last century, as well as the United States role and place therein, are at a crossroads. In a world undergoing drastic changes with new threats and geopolitical challenges, the fundamental dynamics that have made the U.S. a world security provider of the early 21st century are changing. What are the consequences for the transatlantic agenda and world governance?
In order to address this subject, we have invited experts in U.S. political and military history. They will address the historical aspects as well as future policies of the U.S. as a world security provider: Ambassador Howard GUTMAN (former United States Ambassador to Belgium, 2009-2013), Prof. Brian HOLDEN-REID (King’s College London), Prof. Bart KERREMANS (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), Prof. Hall GARDNER (American University of Paris) and Dr Jeffrey MICHAELS (Joint Services Command and Staff College, UK).