In The Path to War: How the First World War Created Modern America
(Oxford University Press, 2016), acclaimed historian Michael Neiberg
examines the background of war fever in the United States between 1914 to 1917 to present a new interpretation on the nation's slide to entering the First World War in April 1917. In a departure from the general outlook on the war, he presents a case where the American public was more engaged in the process than has been allowed by historians who have traditionally focused on the Wilson administration's leadership in the varying crises in German-American relations following the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare in the winter of 1917. Rather than being passive observers who had to be convinced to join the war, Neiberg argues that many citizens, including ethnic German and Irish-Americans, were convinced by the course of actions over the three year period of neutrality that war was inevitable and the sooner the United States joined, the more quickly it could be resolved.
Michael Neiberg is the inaugural Chair of War Studies at the United States Army War College, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The views he expresses, both in The Path to War
and in our interview, are his own, and in no way reflect the opinion of the United States Army War College or the Department of Defense.