Page 4172

4172 HOW THE WAR CAME TO AMERICA

Europe had been startled by the news of secret accord between the Kaiser

and the Czar.

But now at this crucial time for our Nation, on the eve of our entrance

into the war, the free men of all the world were thrilled and heartened by

the news that the people of Russia had risen to throw off their Government

and found a new democracy; and the torch of freedom in Russia lit up the

last dark phases of the situation abroad. Here indeed was a fit partner for

the League of Honor. The conviction was finally crystallized in American

minds and hearts that this war across the sea was no mere conflict between

dynasties, but a stupendous civil war of all the world; a new campaign in

the age-old war, the prize of which is liberty. Here at last was a struggle

in which all who love freedom have a stake. Further neutrality on our

part would have been a crime against our ancestors, who had given their

lives that we might be free.

"The world must be made safe for democracy."

On the 2d of April, 1917, the President read to the new Congress in his

message, in which he asked the representatives of the Nation to declare

the existence of a state of war, and in the early hours of the 6th of April,

the House by an overwhelming vote accepted the joint resolution which had

already passed the Senate:

"Whereas the Imperial German Government has committed repeated

acts of war against the Government and the people of the United

States of America: Therefore be it

"Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United

States of America in Congress assembled, That the state of war between

the United States and the Imperial German Government which has thus

been thrust upon the United States, is hereby formally declared; and that

the President be, and he is hereby, authorized and directed to employ the

entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of

the Government to carry on war against the Imperial German Government;

and to bring the conflict to a successful termination all the resources of

the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States.

Neutrality was a thing of the past. The time had come when the President's proud prophecy was fulfilled:

"There will come that day when the world will say, 'This America that

we thought was full of a multitude of contrary counsels now speaks with

the great volume of the heart's accord, and that great heart of America

has behind it the supreme moral force of righteousness and hope and the

liberty of mankind.' "