The phrase "shackled to a corpse" is often used to describe Germany's dilemma in the Great War. Surrounded by enemy nations that collectively have a greater population and larger economies, she also finds herself stuck with a disappointing alliance partner.
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.
The murder of Francisco Madero and the iron-fisted rule of Victoriano Huerta that followed might seem like the end of constitutional democracy in Mexico, but in fact the revolutionaries like the ones who had overthrown Díaz took up arms once again, and the US military occupied the Mexican port city of Veracruz.
The UK and Japan had an alliance agreement, and when the Great War began, Japan was eager to enter the conflict. Aiding their ally was nice, but the Japanese were also eyeing German colonial possessions in the Pacific.
Kaiser Wilhelm told the troops they would be "home before the leaves fall." By autumn of 1914, it was clear they would not.
Germany invested heavily in building itself a great navy, including paying the price of a strained relationship with the United Kingdom. Now that the world is at war, how is this navy going to be used?
The Great War began as a confrontation between Austria and Russia. It soon became about a lot more than that, but for Austria, job one is defeating the Russians, or at least holding them at bay. The Austrian Army will prove incapable of accomplishing either.
President Wilson pushes through more reform legislation, including the Federal Reserve Act. The outbreak of the Great War creates a financial panic in the US, and Vice President Marshall pines for the days of a really good five-cent cigar.