The progressive era ended with the entry of the United States into the First World War. The moral enthusiasm that had powered the movement was diverted into President Woodrow Wilson’s crusade to make the world safe for democracy. Public opinion supported Great Britain and France in the confl ict long before the United States formally declared war. German militarism was perceived as a threat to democratic government everywhere, and a victorious Germany might compel Americans to take extraordinary defense measures to protect their overseas territories. While the government adopted a policy of offi cial neutrality at the outset, most Americans hoped for an Allied victory. The ruthless invasion of neutral Belgium in 1914 convinced millions of Americans that Germany stood for barbarism and aggression.