PREPAREDNESS, a campaign designed to strengthen U.S. military forces after the outbreak of World War I. The movement began in 1914 and gathered momentum steadily as the danger of American involvement in the European struggle grew. In 1914 and 1915 Theodore Roosevelt, along with members of two newly formed organizations, the National Security League and the League to Enforce Peace, rallied popular support behind military preparation. Initially, President Woodrow Wilson's administration was cool to the preparedness agitation, and many of the movement's leaders, particularly Roosevelt, openly criticized the president's inaction.
As time passed, however, Wilson apparently decided that preparedness fit well with his demand that warring nations respect American rights. Wilson became a strong advocate of larger armaments after the Germans began their submarine warfare in February 1915. In December 1915 the administration presented Congress with a comprehensive national defense plan, which lawmakers enacted as the National Defense Act of 3 June 1916 and the Naval Appropriations Act of 29 August.
Although both statutes called for an unprecedented increase in the nation's armed forces, neither proved to be particularly effective. As a result, the material achievement of Roosevelt and other advocates of American military preparation was small compared to the tremendous national war effort of 1917 and 1918. Yet, the preparedness campaign readied the nation psychologically for the ordeal that lay ahead and specifically paved the way for the federal government's institution of compulsory service.
Ferrell, Robert H. Woodrow Wilson and World War I, 1917–1921. New York: Harper and Row, 1985.
Keegan, John. The First World War. New York: Knopf, 1999.
Kennedy, David M. Over Here: The First World War and American Society. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.
"Preparedness." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 24, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/preparedness
"Preparedness." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved February 24, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/preparedness
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pre·par·ed·ness / prəˈpe(ə)r(ə)dnis/ • n. a state of readiness, esp. for war: the country maintained a high level of military preparedness.
"preparedness." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 24, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/preparedness
"preparedness." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved February 24, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/preparedness