In World War I, the national self-determination was the means by which the United States used to stay out of the war. It is generally described as the right of a nation to remain sovereign within a territory.
Self-determination is an often controversial term that nations can use to simply keep themselves out of wars that are going on with other people. When the United States used the national self determination in World War I, they were simply trying to stay out of a war that they did not believe to be their fight. Despite the pressure that came from their allies and from other countries across the globe that needed their help, the U.S. government claimed that they still had a right to stay out of the war.
Even though the U.S. did not want to be a part of the war and did not believe that the war was their business, they were still drug into it with the attacks that they suffered. At the point of the attacks, the U.S. no longer claimed self determination and made a full commitment to fight in the war. The U.S. worked with the allies to help win the first world war.