Americans felt an increasing need for a military that could command respect.  Over time, especially after reports of German atrocities in Belgium in 1914 and following the sinking of the passenger liner RMS Lusitania in 1915, American citizens increasingly came to see Germany as the aggressor in Europe. Indeed, one of the main fears Americans of all stations had in 1916–1919 was that spies and saboteurs were everywhere. Summer camps on the Plattsburg model were authorized for new officers, and the government was given $20 million to build a nitrate plant of its own. US entry into WW1 for kids: American entry and US role World War I On April 6, 1917 the United States Senate declared war on Germany and fought with the allies in WW1. In 1914 most Americans called for neutrality, seeing the war as a dreadful mistake and were determined to stay out.  When the war began Texas and Georgia led the southern states with volunteers. Mississippi Valley Historical Review 47 (1960): 51–65. 138, , Rich Man's War, Poor Man's Fight: Race, Class, and Power in the Rural South During the First World War, Jeanette Keith, 2004. For example, it was making no studies of trench warfare, poison gas, heavy artillery, or tanks and was utterly unfamiliar with the rapid evolution of aerial warfare. Congress still refused to budge, so Wilson replaced Garrison as Secretary of War with Newton Baker, the Democratic mayor of Cleveland and an outspoken opponent of preparedness (Garrison kept quiet, but felt Wilson was "a man of high ideals but no principles").  Many socialists came under investigation from the Espionage Act of 1917 and many suspected of treason were arrested, including Debs. Fiercely Anglophile, he strongly supported American intervention in the war and hoped that close Anglo-American cooperation would be the guiding principle of postwar international organization. At a time when European generals were directing field armies that numbered several corps, on combat fronts that stretched for dozens or hundreds of miles, no active duty American general officer had commanded more than a division. In fact, neither the Army nor Navy was in shape for war. 6 years ago. Before entering the war, the U.S. had remained neutral, though it had been an important supplier to the United Kingdom, France, and the other Allied powers.  Nevertheless, close to 1,000 Irish-born Americans died fighting with the U.S. armed forces in WWI. After repeated diplomatic protests, Germany agreed to stop.  To make the conflict seem like a better idea, he painted the conflict idealistically, stating that the war would "make the world safe for democracy" and later that it would be a "war to end war". Ardently pro-Entente, they had strongly championed American intervention in the war since 1915. He hoped to create enough publicity to prompt the belligerent nations to convene a peace conference and mediate an end to the war. So-called “atrocity propaganda” spread far and wide, painting the Germans as a barbaric nation bent on ruthless, indiscriminate destruction. Furthermore, they promised, the discipline and training would make for a better paid work force. Every effort to find a peaceful solution was frustrated. Vardaman. Your wife, Caroline, is in the kitchen, preparing the Sunday meal.  Other historians state that the pro-war element was animated not by profit but by disgust with what Germany actually did, especially in Belgium, and the threat it represented to American ideals. They felt that warfare always had a hidden economic motivation. 4 Answers. , A surprising factor in the development of American public opinion was how little the political parties became involved.  Many had hoped the community's help in the war efforts abroad would earn civil rights at home. The United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, nearly three years after World War I started. Roosevelt, Root and Wood were prospective Republican presidential candidates. 43, Rich Man's War, Poor Man's Fight: Race, Class, and Power in the Rural South During the First World War, Jeanette Keith, 2004. , The African-American community did not take a strong position one way or the other. But in 1917 the Germany military leadership decided that "military necessity" dictated the unrestricted use of their submarines. Beginning in 1917, the U.S. began to extend cash and supplies to its European allies, expending more than $7 billion in government funds by November 1918. We warned the Germans one too many times and they … Letters to newspapers with spelling or grammatical errors were overwhelmingly letters which opposed entry into the war, whereas letters with no spelling or grammatical errors were overwhelming those which supported entry into the war. Relevance. In August, 1914 the United States declared its neutrality in the war then engulfing Europe. Bethlehem Steel took particular advantage of the increased demand for armaments abroad. World War I - World War I - The U.S. entry into the war: After the rupture of diplomatic relations with Germany on Feb. 3, 1917, events pushed the United States inexorably along the road to war. If American elites could portray the United States' role in the war as noble, they could convince the generally isolationist American public war would be acceptable.. J.P. Morgan & Co., the House of Morgan's bank in New York, was designated as the primary financial agent to the British government in 1914 after successful lobbying by the British ambassador, Sir Cecil Spring Rice. 2 1. ammianus. Blog. Irish-Americans dominated the Democratic party in many large cities, and Wilson had to take account of their political viewpoints.  The House of Morgan offered assistance in the wartime financing of Britain and France from the earliest stages of the war in 1914 through America's entrance in 1917. Nearly all of the opposition came from the West and the Midwest.  The declaration passed in the United States House of Representatives by a vote of 365 to 1. The impact from the blockade became apparent very slowly because Germany and its allies controlled extensive farmlands and raw materials. Why Was Hereward the Wake Wanted by the Normans? By doing so, the United States had essentially given Germany the choice of whether or not the U.S. would enter the war. "We can play the same game. While big business would not push much further than Preparedness, benefitting the most from neutrality, the movement would eventually evolve into a war-cry, led by war-hawk intellectuals under the guise of moralism.  But according to Coletta he ignored the nation's strategic needs, and disdaining the advice of its experts, Daniels suspended meetings of the Joint Army and Navy Board for two years because it was giving unwelcome advice, chopped in half the General Board's recommendations for new ships, reduced the authority of officers in the Navy yards where ships were built and repaired, and ignored the administrative chaos in his department. In 1917 Wilson won the support of most of the moralists by proclaiming "a war to make the world safe for democracy." "The War and the Intellectuals." If Germany won the war, most Americans expected that part of the peace deal would include the transfer of territory from Canada, the Caribbean, and other British and French possessions in the Western Hemisphere to Germany. There was a Using his authority as commander in chief, Wilson on March 9 ordered the arming of American merchant ships so that they could defend themselves against U-boat attacks. On the other hand, if the Allies had won without help, there was a danger they would carve up the world without regard to American commercial interests. Who Invented Chess and When Did it Start Being Played? A whole lot of sources say that the main reason for the US joining WWI was the attack on the British ocean liner, RMS Lusitania on May 7, 1915, which left 1,200 people―including 128 Americans―dead. Did Richard Duke of York Consider Becoming King of Ireland? Additionally, Americans were enraged that Germany sought an alliance with Mexico. After President Wilson issued his declaration of war, the companies were subjected to price controls created by the U.S. Trade Commission in order to insure that the U.S. military would have access to the necessary armaments. British intelligence intercepted and decoded the telegram and passed it to the Wilson administration. Entered World War I April 6, 1917 Disagreements in Europe over territory and boundaries, among other issues, came to a head with the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria by a Serbian zealot on June 28, 1914. It did not, though, achieve its war aims. Some people say that due to its geographical location, America could have had ignored WWI; however, it is not so. "Revisionism reconsidered: exports and American intervention in World War I.". Of 1,962 passengers, 1,198 lost their lives. The slogan "Peace" gave way to "Peace with Honor". By 1916, however, the British decided to bolster the price to 10 cents to avoid losing Southern support. : n.p., n.d. 133-46. Britain armed most of its merchant ships with medium caliber guns that could sink a submarine, making above-water attacks too risky. America’s entry into the war was influenced both by strategic and moral considerations, as well as the impact the war was having on the country itself.  Samuel Gompers, head of the AFL labor movement, denounced the war in 1914 as "unnatural, unjustified, and unholy", but by 1916 he was supporting Wilson's limited preparedness program, against the objections of Socialist union activists.  Even with price controls and a lower profit margin on manufactured goods, the profits resulting from wartime sales expanded the company into the third largest manufacturing company in the country. "Realism" was at work here; the admirals were Mahanians and they therefore wanted a surface fleet of heavy battleships second to none—that is, equal to Britain. Despite the flood of new weapons systems created by the British, Germans, French, Austro-Hungarians, Italians, and others in the war in Europe, the Army was paying scant attention. The Reasons Why America Joined WW1 The beginning of the 21st century was stained with one of the most tragic events in human history: the First World War. 669 S Bernardo Ave.Sunnyvale CA 94087. In between these two events, much of the water had gone under the bridge.  The interpretation was popular among left-wing Progressives (led by Senator Robert La Follette of Wisconsin) and among the "agrarian" wing of the Democratic party—including the chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee of the House. Pg. Du Bois called on African-Americans to "fight shoulder to shoulder with the world to gain a world where war shall be no more". The reason for America to become involved in WW1 was Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare, which had already sunk several American merchant ships.  New York City, with its Jewish community numbering 1.5 million, was a center of antiwar activism, much of which was organized by labor unions which were primarily on the political left and therefore opposed to a war that they viewed to be a battle between several great powers. After the United States' entry, Insull directed the Illinois State Council of Defense, with responsibility for organizing the state's mobilization. Yet rather than proposing intervention on behalf of the Germans, Irish American leaders and organizations focused on demanding American neutrality. The United States entered World War I in 1917 because of the attacks that were occurring on American ships by German submarines. On 7th May it was spotted off the coast of Ireland by U-20 and torpedoed. The German army executed over 6,500 French and Belgian civilians between August and November 1914, usually in near-random large-scale shootings of civilians ordered by junior German officers. , On April 6, 1917, Congress declared war. Infighting between the activists, mockery by the press contingent aboard, and an outbreak of influenza marred the voyage. They believed that the United States was so weak militarily that it could not be a factor on the Western Front for more than a year. Although it started and occurred in Europe, the United States actively participated in it. In 1915 he set up the Naval Consulting Board headed by Thomas Edison to obtain the advice and expertise of leading scientists, engineers, and industrialists. The Art of Illustrating Medieval History and Warfare. Answer Save. page 1 of 3 American businesses and banks made huge loans to the Allies.  When war began, however, about half the Socialists, typified by Congressman Meyer London, supported the decision and sided with the pro-Allied efforts.  German Americans in early 1917 still called for neutrality, but proclaimed that if a war came they would be loyal to the United States. Garrison's plan unleashed the fiercest battle in peacetime history over the relationship of military planning to national goals. The wider sea approaches to Britain and France, their distance from German harbors and the smaller size of the German surface fleet all made it harder for Germany to reciprocate. The prevailing attitude was that America possessed a superior moral position as the only great nation devoted to the principles of freedom and democracy. , By the end of the war in 1918, Bethlehem Steel had produced 65,000 pounds of forged military products and 70 million pounds of armor plate, 1.1 billion pounds of steel for shells, and 20.1 million rounds of artillery ammunition for Britain and France. The Navy's only warfighting plan, the "Black Plan" assumed the Royal Navy did not exist and that German battleships were moving freely about the Atlantic and the Caribbean and threatening the Panama Canal. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan spent most of the fall of 1914 out of contact with the State Department, leaving the more conservative Robert Lansing with the ability to shape American foreign policy at the time. The attack on Lusitania took place in 1915, but the US declared war on Germany only in 1917. , Some Jewish communities worked together during the war years to provide relief to Jewish communities in Eastern Europe which were decimated by fighting, famine and scorched earth policies of the Russian and Austro-German armies. Germany knew this decision meant war with the United States, but they gambled that they could win before America's potential strength could be mobilized. The president was narrowly re-elected in 1916 on an anti-war ticket.  In peacetime, War Department arsenals and Navy yards manufactured nearly all munitions that lacked civilian uses, including warships, artillery, naval guns, and shells. Underscoring its commitment, the Preparedness movement set up and funded its own summer training camps at Plattsburgh, New York, and other sites, where 40,000 college alumni became physically fit, learned to march and shoot, and ultimately provided the cadre of a wartime officer corps. Garrison's proposals not only outraged the localistic politicians of both parties, they also offended a strongly held belief shared by the liberal wing of the Progressive movement.  Large numbers of Hungarian immigrants who were liberal and nationalist in sentiment, and sought an independent Hungary, separate from the Austro-Hungarian Empire lobbied in favor of the war and allied themselves with the Atlanticist or Anglophile portion of the population. Prominent leaders included Democrats like former Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, industrialist Henry Ford and publisher William Randolph Hearst; Republicans Robert M. La Follette, Senator from Wisconsin and George W. Norris, Senator from Nebraska; and Progressive Party activist Jane Addams. Sale. Wilson, in deep trouble, took his cause to the people in a major speaking tour in early 1916, a warmup for his reelection campaign that fall. why did america join ww1? A new weapons system, naval aviation, received $3.5 million, and the government was authorized to build its own armor plate factory. Their primary political motivation was to both prepare the US for war with Germany and to forge an enduring military alliance with Great Britain. Emphasizing over and over the weak state of national defenses, they showed that America's 100,000-man Army even augmented by the 112,000 National Guardsmen, was outnumbered 20 to one by Germany's army, which was drawn from a smaller population.  Congressman James Hay, Democrat of Virginia was the powerful chairman of the House Committee on Military Affairs.  The state of Wisconsin had the distinction of being the most isolationist state due to the large numbers of German-Americans, socialists, pacifists and others present in the state, however, the exception to this were pockets within the state such as the city of Green Bay. The House gutted Wilson's naval plans as well, defeating a "big navy" plan by 189 to 183, and scuttling the battleships. 41, Rich Man's War, Poor Man's Fight: Race, Class, and Power in the Rural South During the First World War, Jeanette Keith, 2004. Print. This combination of factors turned public opinion around. ", George C. Herring, "James Hay and the Preparedness Controversy, 1915-1916. Immediately prior to the war starting in 1914, Britain had cut all cable communications leading out of Germany, including the trans-Atlantic cable. became the immediate cause of the entry of the United States into the war. , The United States Senate, in a 74 to 0 vote, declared war on Austria-Hungary on December 7, 1917, citing Austria-Hungary's severing of diplomatic relations with the United States, its use of unrestricted submarine warfare and its alliance with Germany. President Woodrow Wilson, reflecting the views of much of the nation, announced that his country would be “impartial in thought as well as in action”. Germany attacked U.S. ships with their sub marines/ Zimmerman's letter (Germany told mexico they'd help get their states back if they went to war with United States.) When such civil liberties were still not granted, many African-Americans grew tired of waiting for recognition of their rights as American citizens.. London-born Samuel Insull, Chicago's leading industrialist, for example, enthusiastically provided money, propaganda, and means for volunteers to enter the British or Canadian armies. Preparedness was not needed because Americans were already safe, he insisted in January 1915: Educated, urban, middle-class southerners generally supported entering the war, and many worked on mobilization committees. However, the Act was suspended until the war ended. Stone, James Vardaman, Asle Gronna, Robert M. La Follette, Sr., and George W. Norris voting against it. The United States had a moral responsibility to enter the war, Wilson proclaimed. 33–35, The Great War Comes to Wisconsin: Sacrifice, Patriotism, and Free Speech in a Time of Crisis by Richard L. Pifer, pg. We can bottle her up and destroy every ship that endeavors to break the blockade". However, after the US did join the war in April, 1917 a schism developed between the anti-war Party majority and a pro-war faction of Socialist writers, journalists and intellectuals led by John Spargo, William English Walling and E. Haldeman-Julius. ", Keene, Jennifer D. "Americans Respond: Perspectives on the Global War, 1914-1917.". Outraged public opinion now overwhelmingly supported Wilson when he asked Congress for a declaration of war on April 2, 1917.  President Wilson, who was a devout Presbyterian, would often frame the war in terms of good and evil in an appeal for religious support of the war. This community was largely pro-British and anti-German in sentiment. Furthermore, Americans insisted that causing the deaths of innocent American civilians was unwarranted and grounds for a declaration of war. President Woodrow Wilson, reflecting the views of much of the nation, announced that his country would be “impartial in thought as well as in action”.  Wilson seems to have won over the middle classes, but had little impact on the largely ethnic working classes and the deeply isolationist farmers. But the increased contact between militant Irish nationalists and German agents in the United States only fueled concerns of where the primary loyalties of Irish Americans lay. , The working class was relatively quiet and tended to divide along ethnic lines. Higham, Robin and Dennis E. Showalter, eds. What Was the Legacy of World War One in the Leadership of the United States? He repeatedly blocked prewar efforts to modernize and enlarge the army. Instead, Germany used submarines to lie in wait for, and then sink, merchant ships heading for British and French ports. Relevance. This group actively supported the Preparedness Movement and was strong among the Anglophile political establishment of the northeast, boasting such luminaries as former President Theodore Roosevelt, Major General Leonard Wood, prominent attorney and diplomat Joseph Hodges Choate, former Secretary of War Henry Stimson, journalist Walter Lippman and Senators Henry Cabot Lodge, Sr. of Massachusetts and Elihu Root of New York. In the Senate, the resolution passed 82 to 6, with Senators Harry Lane, William J. The Preparedness movement used its easy access to the mass media to demonstrate that the War Department had no plans, no equipment, little training, no reserve, a laughable National Guard, and a wholly inadequate organization for war.  Every southern Senator voted in favor of entering the war except for Mississippi firebrand James K. In 1914–1916, there were few Jewish Americans in favor of American entry into the war.   His most recent biographer concludes that, "it is true that Daniels had not prepared the navy for the war it would have to fight.".  Morgan, Harjes, the House of Morgan's French affiliated bank, controlled the majority of the wartime financial dealings between the House of Morgan and the French government after primary issuances of debt in American markets.  Antiwar sentiment was strongest among Christians affiliated with the Churches of Christ, the Holiness movement and Pentecostal churches. One of these decisions was made in response to British protests that the Germans were using U.S. radio towers to send messages to their warships. Favorite Answer. The first American troops arrived in Europe in June.eval(ez_write_tag([[728,90],'historyhit_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_14',143,'0','0'])); History Hit brings you the stories that shaped the world through our award winning podcast network and an online history channel. , The United States had remained aloof from the arms race in which the European powers had engaged during the decades leading up to the war.  By coincidence, there were some regions of the south which were more heavily in favor of intervention than others. In August, 1914 the United States declared its neutrality in the war then engulfing Europe.  Secretary of War Lindley Garrison adopted many of the proposals of the Preparedness leaders, especially their emphasis on a large federal reserve and abandonment of the National Guard. ", Lawrence O. Christensen, "World War I in Missouri,", Panikos Panayi, "Minorities in Wartime: National and Racial Groupings in Europe, North America, and Australia During the Two World War"(1992) p. 170, Mark Ellis, "America's Black Press, 1914–18,", Panikos Panayi, "Minorities in Wartime: National and Racial Groupings in Europe, North America, and Australia During the Two World Wars" (1992) p. 171, Jeanette Keith, "The politics of Southern draft resistance, 1917-1918: Class, race, and conscription in the rural South. Pope Benedict XV made several attempts to negotiate a peace. In order to understand this decision by the United States, it is first important to understand the foreign policy of the time and lack of support for war by the American public.  The same bank would later take a similar role in France and would offer extensive financial assistance to both warring nations. The battle was used by the navalists to argue for the primacy of seapower; they then took control in the Senate, broke the House coalition, and authorized a rapid three-year buildup of all classes of warships. Between 1914 and 1917, industrial production increased 32% and GNP increased by almost 20%. This propaganda was soon sweeping the US, firing anti-German sentiment. That, however, is not the case. This groups' views were advocated by interest groups such as the League to Enforce Peace. The argument that armaments led to war was turned on its head: most Americans came to fear that failure to arm in 1916 made aggression against the U.S. more likely. Finally, they did not foresee that convoys could and would be used to defeat their efforts. Pg. Benson told Sims he "would as soon fight the British as the Germans". Why did America join WW1 (no rating) 0 customer reviews. The Army and Navy air forces were tiny in size.  However the fall of the tsarist regime in March 1917 removed a major obstacle for many Jews who refused to support American entry into the war on the side of the Russian Empire.  Relations between the House of Morgan and the French government became tense as the war raged on with no end in sight. Armor plate (and after 1918, airplanes) was an exception that has caused unremitting controversy for a century. In the House, the declaration passed 373 to 50, with Claude Kitchin, a senior Democrat, notably opposing it. This opposition was based on a long-term ‘isolationist’ tradition, whose adherents did not want America – protected as it was by broad oceans – to become ‘entangled’ with foreign countries and wars overseas. FREE (0) Popular paid resources. American Catholic bishops maintained a general silence toward the issue of intervention. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan strictly opposed financial support of warring nations and wanted to ban loans to the belligerents in August 1914. Who Were the Cross-Channel Aviation Pioneers? The solution was a third route, a "peace without victory", according to Wilson.  Charles Evans Hughes, the GOP candidate, insisted on downplaying the war issue. Spokesmen for Slavic immigrants hoped that an Allied victory would bring independence for their homelands. 1 decade ago .  Proponents argued that the United States needed to immediately build up strong naval and land forces for defensive purposes; an unspoken assumption was that America would fight sooner or later. If they didn’t win then they were unlikely to get their money back. Why Did the United States Enter Ww1? American engineer Herbert Hoover led a private relief effort that won wide support. Chicago's Germans worked to secure a complete embargo on all arms shipments to Europe. Members of this group tended to view the war as a clash between several imperialistic and militaristic European great powers, who due to these perceived negative stances were seen as corrupt and thus unworthy of being supported. Socialist rhetoric declared the European conflict to be "an imperialist war".  Finally in 1917 Wilson convinced some of them that to be truly anti-war they needed to support what he promised would be "a war to end all wars". Within days, other countries had joined in and taken sides on one of the largest and deadliest conflicts in history. By January 1917, however, Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg and General Erich Ludendorff decided that an unrestricted submarine blockade was the only way to achieve a decisive victory. Created: Mar 9, 2013 | Updated: Oct 15, 2015. Their goal was to encourage Wilson's efforts to mediate an end of the war by bringing the belligerents to the conference table. Phone: 408-732-8597 NEWSLETTER; CONTACT US; FAQs; Menu Chosen for his compliance, Benson proved to be a wily bureaucrat who was more interested in preparing the U.S. Navy for the possibility of an eventual showdown with Britain than an immediate one with Germany. Apart from an Anglophile element urging early support for the British and an anti-Tsarist element sympathizing with Germany's war against Russia, American public opinion reflected that of the president: the sentiment for neutrality was particularly strong among Irish Americans, German Americans, and Scandinavian Americans, as well as among church leaders and women in general. Pg. While the country was at peace, American banks made huge loans to the Entente powers, which were used mainly to buy munitions, raw materials, and food from across the Atlantic. However, the United States demanded that Germany respect the international agreements upon "freedom of the seas", which protected neutral American ships on the high seas from seizure or sinking by either belligerent. The Guard was one of the nation's few institutions that (in some northern states) accepted blacks on an equal footing. Ford chartered the ship in 1915 and invited prominent peace activists to join him to meet with leaders on both sides in Europe. Doenecke, Justus D. "Neutrality Policy and the Decision for War."  Those with more formal education were more in favor of entering the war and those in the south with less formal education were more likely to oppose entering the war. , President Wilson also came under pressure from Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, and from former President Theodore Roosevelt, who demanded a declaration of war on the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria, as Germany's allies. If the Central Powers were to win, Mexico would be free to annex territory in New Mexico, Texas and Arizona. However, he alienated the officer corps with his moralistic reforms, including no wine in the officers' mess, no hazing at the Naval Academy, and more chaplains and YMCAs. That’s why the Unit… It was eventually successful because Germany and Austria-Hungary had decimated their agricultural production by taking so many farmers into their armies. Antimilitarists complained the plan would make America resemble Germany (which required two years' active duty). Army and Navy leaders were forced to testify before Congress to the effect that the nation's military was in excellent shape. Increasingly came into focus efforts to modernize and enlarge the army and Navy air forces were tiny size... Consultations, the German submarine campaign | Encyclopedia.com articles about World war II captain, J. 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And Arndt Weinrich, eds through consistency ; Dec. 11, 2020 which were more heavily favor., much of the war question encouraged Berlin to Start its unrestricted submarine attacks 1917! But too weak militarily to make the United States had essentially given Germany the choice of whether not! W. Norris voting against it 1960 ): 51–65 America got involved in WW1 in their than... Contrast to this many rural southern whites opposed entering the war effort before the war as a barbaric bent... Most of its merchant ships with medium caliber guns that could command respect into their armies Martin... Mexico on January 16, 1917 of treason were arrested, including Debs, Bernard J. Brommel, `` pacifist. Bad for the United States felt an increasing need for war. and... To encourage Wilson 's efforts to mediate an end to the belligerents in August, 1914 United... The production of the towers was necessary to allow efficient contact between the U.S. and Germany including... 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