"The world must be made safe for democracy."

At 8:30 on the evening of April 2, 1917, President Wilson appeared before a special joint session of Congress and asked for a declaration of war against Germany in order to "make the world safe for democracy."  When the Speaker announced him the chamber exploded with cheers and applause. Small American flags fluttered everywhere.  The tumult continued for two minutes before Wilson could begin.

He described Germany's behavior as, in effect, "nothing less than war against the government and people of the United States."His remarks gained force and momentum, warning of many months of fiery trial and sacrifice ahead. He concluded with these words:

"To such a task we can dedicate our lives and our fortunes, everything that we are and everything that we have, with the pride of those who know that the day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured. God helping her, she can do no other."

At that point, everyone in the chamber rose at once.  Flags waved, men cheered, whistled, shouted, and cried.  Wilson had spoken for thirty-six minutes -- and then he quickly walked from the chamber.  War was officially declared at 1:18 p.m. on April 6, 1917.

Created by Anne Curran on Oct 9th, 2018 @ 10:17 AM.
Updated on Oct 9th, 2018 @ 11:29 AM.