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.' "