WILSON DELIVERS WAR MESSAGE AS CAPITAL IS BATHED IN A FRENZY OF PATRIOTISM
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) One hundred years ago this evening, April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson, speaking to a joint session of Congress, asked for a war declaration against Germany.
The President said...
"I have called the congress into extraordinary session because there are serious...choices of policy to be made. The new (German) policy (of unrestricted submarine warfare) has swept every restriction aside. Vessels of every kind...have been ruthlessly sent to the bottom without warning and without...mercy. The present German submarine warfare against commerce is a warfare against mankind."
The President concluded his message with these words...
"There are many months of fiery trial and sacrifice ahead....civilization seeming to be in the balance. But the right is more precious than peace...We shall fight for democracy....and make the world itself at last free. God helping (America) can do no other."
When the President finished, "the congress broke all bounds of restraint (as) senators stood in their seats" applauding and cheering. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge shook Mr. Wilson's hand and said...
"Mr. President, you have expressed in the loftiest manner possible the sentiments of the American people."
The following day, The Chicago Daily Tribune reported that "wave upon wave of patriotism" swept through the Capital. Crowds gathered "along the entire stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House to Capitol Hill." The Presidential motorcade had to take an "unfrequented route" to avoid the crowds in reaching the Capitol.
"U.S. At War: Wilson," The Chicago Daily Tribune, April 3, 1917, www.archives.chicagotribune.com/
"U.S. Entry Into World War I, 1917," United States Department of State, Office of the Historian, www.history.state.gov/
"Wave Upon Wave of Patriotism Sweeps Capital," The Chicago Daily Tribune, April 3, 1917, www.archives.chicagotribune.com/
President Wilson Asks for War Declaration
Library of Congress Photo