Lusitania Sinking - AMERICA ENTERS WWI

AMERICA ENTERS WWI (Illustration) American History Awesome Radio - Narrated Stories Famous Historical Events World History Disasters World War I

Not all Americans supported their country's entry into the "Great War in Europe," later known as World War I. This image depicts the cover sheet of a popular song, in 1915, expressing more pacifist sentiments. Cover image online via Wikimedia Commons. Click on the image for a better view.


America entered the war in April of 1917:

  • James Gerard (US Ambassador to Germany) spoke in favor of it, using harsh words for German-Americans who supported the Kaiser.
  • Franklin Lane, Secretary of the Interior, also supported war and cited Germany's actions in sinking the Lusitania.
  • Congressional leaders overwhelmingly supported a declaration of war.

We can hear segments of the more famous speeches on-line, thanks to the Library of Congress. Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, said:

We are fighting Germany because she sought to terrorize us and then to fool us. We could not believe that Germany would do what she said she would do upon the seas. Yet, we still hear the piteous cries of children coming out, out of the sea where the Lusitania went down, and Germany has never asked forgiveness of the world.

Despite all his years of diplomacy in Germany, Gerard's speech was particularly harsh:

And if there are any German-Americans here who are so ungrateful for all the benefits they have received that they are still for the Kaiser, there is only one thing to do with them. And that is to hog-tie them, give them back the wooden shoes and the rags they landed in, and ship them back to the Fatherland.

Samuel Gompers, head of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) predicted the war would be won by the side which could best organize its labor force to support the war effort.

This war is a people's war - labor's war. The final outcome will be determined in the factories, the mills, the shops, the mines, the farms, the industries, and the transportation agencies of the various countries. That group of countries which can most successfully organize its agencies of production and transportation, and which can furnish the most adequate and effective agencies with which to conduct the war, will win.

Gompers' prediction was amazingly accurate.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Apr 01, 2004

Updated Last Revision: May 19, 2015

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"AMERICA ENTERS WWI" AwesomeStories.com. Apr 01, 2004. Feb 17, 2020.
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