By the beginning of the twentieth century, the USA was the major market for Central American coffee, cotton, sugar, and especially bananas, leading to US investment in the region, leading in turn to US involvement in Central American affairs.
German soldiers committed numerous war crimes against civilians in the initial offensive, especially in Belgium. The Allies made use of this for propaganda purposes, while adding lurid embellishments.
When the Great War began, Germany had a number of naval units stationed around the world. These ships attempted to disrupt British shipping.