The United States had been courted by both the Central Powers and the Entente Allies after the outbreak of war in 1914. On the one hand ties of language and shared liberal parliamentary sympathies encouraged support for Britain, but against this there was resentment of the Royal Navy’s blockade of trade with Germany.

WW1 Recruiting PosterIn Britain, there was criticism of the USA’s failure to become involved in the war “to save civilisation”, and considerable contempt directed towards President Woodrow Wilson’s apparent pacifism. Poor quality dud shells were christened “Yanks – too proud to fight”.


Ultimately Germany was not able to capitalise on US anti-British sentiments, due to the impact of the U-boat campaign and US suspicions about German support for Mexican attacks against America. This escalated to a declaration of war on 4th April 1918.


The British press quickly changed its tune regarding Woodrow Wilson. H.H. Wilson’s monthly, ‘The Great War’ told its readers that, “owing mainly to ignorance of the domestic complications which it had to consider, President Wilson’s foreign policy has not been appreciated properly by the British people as a whole, and the confession must be made that they have been less than just….”

US Navy crossing Atlantic

US Navy in the North Sea

The US dreadnoughts were formed into the 6th Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet under Admiral Rodman. Operating from Scapa Flow they undertook training cruises with the Royal Navy until fully operational.

Phillip M Payson and RS Austin

The US Army in the NE

The US Army began to arrive as troops became available in sufficient quantity. Although the majority went directly to France, some did come to Britain. Amongst these were airmen undertaking training on British combat aircraft…

Anglo-American Relations

With US entry into war, Lord Mayor of Newcastle wrote to Walter Hamm, US Consul to the city: “Your country and ours are alike fighting to preserve their ideals of liberty and freedom, not so much for themselves as for the other peoples of the world.”