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079 Who was President during World War I?

79. Who was President during World War I?
(Woodrow) Wilson

When Woodrow Wilson became the 28th president of the United States in 1912, he had no idea (or absolutely did not know) that he would have to lead the country through the first global war, or a war that affected (or changed or influenced) the whole world. World War I began in 1914 and it affected the rest of his presidency (or the time when he was president).

At first, President Wilson wanted the United States to be as neutral as possible, not fighting on either side of the war. However, the Germans kept attacking (or fighting) with submarines, which are large boats that travel under the water, where they can’t be seen. This made President Wilson decide to enter the war.

He started the United States’ first real draft in 1917. The draft made young American men fight in the army whether they wanted to or not. To get money for the war, President Wilson helped the United States make billions of dollars by selling Liberty Bonds, which were pieces of paper that people bought from the government with the promise that the government would give them even more money on a certain day in the future. President Wilson also started the income tax, which makes Americans pay a percentage of all the money they receive for working to the U.S. government.

As World War I ended, President Wilson became heavily (or very much) involved in the peace talks, which are discussions that should lead to the end of a war so that all countries are satisfied. He led the negotiations (or discussions where people or countries agree on what they want) with Germany and helped to create the peace treaties (or agreements between countries).

In 1919, President Wilson received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in trying to start the League of Nations. The League of Nations was an international
organization that was supposed to bring peace to the world and prevent other wars from being fought in the future.


to have no idea – to absolutely not know; to be completely surprised by something
* He had no idea that we were planning a surprise birthday party for him.

global – relating to the whole planet; relating to everyone on Earth
* Climate change is a global issue because it affects all people in all countries.

neutral – not fighting on either side of a war; not having an opinion in favor of or against something; not supporting either side of an argument
* The children have learned to stay neutral whenever their parents fight.

to attack – to fight; to do something to hurt a person or a place
* The cats were afraid that the dog would attack and decided to run away as quickly
as possible.

submarine – a large boat that travels under the water where it cannot be seen
* How deep in the ocean can a submarine go?

draft – the process of forcing young people to join the military during a war
* Keenan is too young for the draft, since high school students aren't expected to fight in the war.

bond – a piece of paper bought from the government with the promise that the government will give the buyer even more money on a certain day in the future
* My aunt is a banker and she says that I can make a little bit of money by buying bonds, but I could make more money by investing in the stock market.

income tax – money that is paid to the government based on how much money one makes each year
* Even with our tax laws, it isn’t always the case that people who make more money pay higher income taxes.

peace talks – discussions that should lead to the end of a war so that all countries are satisfied
* Who led the peace talks with Germany and Japan at the end of World War II?

negotiation – a discussion where one tries to get the other person or organization to agree to what one wants
* The renters are in negotiations with the owner of the apartment building because they want the building to be painted.