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The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria begins World War I. (And eventually produces one decent pop-punk song.)
The first theater in the war opens up. "The Rape of Belgium" is one of the worst atrocities in the war. Some people predicted the war would be over by Christmas…which would have made for a really good stocking stuffer.
Unfortunately, this war dragged on.
A German submarine attacks and sinks the ship Lusitania, a civilian vessel carrying 128 Americans. The United States remains neutral nevertheless. This has to be one of the top "just walk away" moments in history.
President Wilson, the incumbent, defeats his challenger, Republican Charles Hughes. Wilson uses the slogan "He kept us out of war." (That anticipation you feel in your stomach is the approach of irony.)
British spies intercept a telegram from Germany to Mexico in which Germany promises to give the Southwest to Mexico in the event of war with the United States. The meddling in North American affairs outrages the American public, building support for the war.
Pro-tip: never offer up somebody else's stuff as collateral.
The formerly anti-war president urges Congress to declare war on Germany. Congress approves the declaration a few days later. Wilson probably changes his motto to "he almost kept us out of the war."
The president tasks academics, advisers, and philosophers to study and prepare a peace agreement for the end of the war. It was kind of like a summer nerd camp, only with larger ramifications for geopolitics.
After the Russian Revolution establishes a new socialist government led by Vladimir Lenin, Russia signs a ceasefire with Germany. They weren't invited to the after-party—meaning the Paris Peace negotiations.
The president lays out his vision for peace to Congress. If this had been during the age of PowerPoint, maybe we would have ended up joining the League of Nations.
The Americans stop the Germans from advancing on Paris. The involvement of the Americans turns the tide of the war and provokes widespread defection in the German ranks. We're well on our way to becoming back-to-back World War champs.
World War I ends with a peace agreement between the Germans and the Allies. To celebrate, everyone heads back to the newsroom to regroup.
The formal peace arrangement is much harsher on Germany than Woodrow Wilson desired and includes reparations, or war payments. They were like alimony payments, only for the entire free world.
The United States Senate doesn't ratify the Treaty of Versailles: as a result, the United States doesn't become part of the League of Nations. Wilson predicts another world war will eventually take place.
Turns out all that time at Princeton was good for something.
Touring around the country to try to drum up support for the Treaty of Versailles, President Wilson suffers from a stroke. He recovers, but dies a few years later, in 1924. RIP, WW.