And the War Came

Justus D. Doenecke

in Nothing Less Than War

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780813130026
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135755 | DOI:
And the War Came

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After German U-boats sank several unarmed American ships as well as other neutral and belligerent vessels in March 1917, Wilson realized that it was Germany's intention to destroy all commerce and human life that ventured into its proclaimed war zones. In a meeting with his cabinet, he found that every member felt that war was inevitable, although they differed in their view over the appropriate degree of American participation. Many observers and the American press believed that Wilson would soon assert the existence of a state of war and that the only remaining question was whether the country should wage war against Germany independently or alongside the Allies. Realizing that his policy of armed neutrality was not working, Wilson, during a joint session of Congress on April 2, delivered his call for war, promising that the US would fight “for democracy, for the rights of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own Governments, for the rights and liberation of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free.” On April 6, following several days of deliberation in Congress, he signed the resolution that declared the US at war.

Keywords: Woodrow Wilson; World War I; German U-boats; armed neutrality; declaration of war; Allies

Chapter.  9278 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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