INTERIOR SECRETARY ANSWERS THE QUESTION: WHY ARE WE FIGHTING GERMANY?
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) One hundred years ago this evening, June 4, 1917, on the eve of Draft Registration Day, Secretary of Interior Franklin K. Lane*, speaking to the Home Club of the Interior Department, answered the question 'Why are we fighting Germany?'
The Secretary said...
"Tomorrow is registration day. It is the duty of all, their legal as well as their patriotic duty, to register...
There are some who have not seen clearly the reason for the call."
Mr. Lane made the argument that the United States had no choice but had to save ourselves and the world from the German tyranny.
The Secretary continued...
"Ours is a war of self-defense. Germany....made the attack upon us...on our ships, our lives, our rights, our future. At each new offense--the invasion of Belgium, the killing of civilian(s)...the laying of mines in neutral waters...we said 'It is not our war' (but) we discovered that we were thought to be a nation of mere moneymakers, devoid of all character...and so we came into this war for ourselves...to save America...to preserve self-respect (and) in the name of freedom."
Secretary Lane concluded with these words...
"There can be no living for us in a world where the state has no conscience...no respect for international law."
*Franklin Knight Lane (1864-1921) was born near Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island in Canada. He attended the University of California & became a newspaperman in San Francisco. FKL was appointed to the ICC commission by President T. Roosevelt & reappointed by President Taft.
"'Why We Fight', Told World By High Official, Secretary Lane Explains Entry of United States Into the Great War", The Chicago Daily Tribune, June 5, 1917.
Franklin Knight Lane
Secretary of the Interior (1913)
American Press Association
Library of Congress Photo