From <i>Falaba</i> to <i>Sussex</i>

Rodney Carlisle

in Sovereignty at Sea

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780813037622
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813041612 | DOI:
From Falaba to Sussex

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Part of the reason that the precipitating casus belli of the United States' entry into World War I has been overlooked by historians and the public is that higher-status American citizens had been killed earlier on British and French ships, while travelling as passengers aboard the Falaba and the Lusitania. Despite efforts in Congress to prohibit US citizens from travelling on belligerent-registered liners, Wilson took the position that such travel was a right of American citizens and protested the attacks to Germany. When a German submarine later attacked the Sussex, Wilson threatened to break diplomatic relations with Germany. In response, Germany promised, in the Sussex Pledge, not to sink any Allied or neutral merchant ships without warning, on condition that the Allies obey international law and allow food to be imported to Germany; but Wilson chose to disregard that condition.

Keywords: Falaba; Lusitania; Sussex; Sussex Pledge; Woodrow Wilson

Chapter.  5977 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Military History

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