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America enters the war
President Wilson speaking in the US Congress Photo: Le Petit Journal, 22 April 1917

America enters the war

Washington DC, 6 April 1917 - America has proclaimed a state of war with Germany.

After months of speculation President Woodrow Wilson formally signed the resolution earlier today.

The declaration of war comes after Congress voted overwhelmingly to support the war. In the House of Representatives the vote was 373 to 50, a majority of 323.

Americans believe their entry will bring a swift end to the war. It is thought new legislation would be brought in along with the declaration, including compulsory military service and budget increases for the military. To this end the Senate has voted an emergency war fund of $100 million to be used by President Wilson at his discretion.

The seizure of German ships has started almost immediately with merchant vessels taken at New York, Boston and Baltimore. There are also widespread rumours that the US is preparing to send army forces to Europe.

Cartoons from Puck Magazine commenting on America's entry into the war. The cartoon on the left is captioned, 'A Titanic Game' and the on the right is captioned 'The World Aflame'. (Images: Puck, March 1917)

New chapter in US history
It is immediately apparent that America’s entry into the war opens a new chapter in US history, with the continent no longer standing isolated from Europe.

The move has been greeted with delight in London with David Lloyd George and Herbert Asquith sending congratulatory messages to Washington.

Mr. Lloyd George said:

‘America has at one bound become a world power in a sense she never was before. The great Republic of the West now stands side by side with the European democracies who, bruised and bleeding, after three years of grim conflict, are still fighting the most savage foe that ever menaced the freedom of the world.’

Declaration of War with Germany approved by Congress. (Image: US National Archives)

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]

RTÉ

Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.