Speech to Congress, 2 April 1917 I have called the Congress into extraordinary session because there are serious, very serious, choices of policy to be made, and made immediately, which it was neither right nor constitutionally permissible that I should assume the responsibility of making …….
In his speech to Congress Wilson explains ….. • Why the US should enter the war • What we need to do to prepare for the war • What are our objectives in entering the war.
What the U.S. had to do to get ready for WWI • Cooperation with Allies • Financial assistance to those Allies • Organization and mobilization of all U.S. resources for needs both at home and abroad • Full equipment of the navy, especially focusing what is needed to defeat the submarines • Addition to armed forces: 500,000+ • Funding from Congress for all these programs
Objectives/Attitudes of Wilson • vindicate the principles of peace and justice • protect the freedom of the people of the world • punish nations that deny their individual citizen’s rights • Not made at German people, rather at their government • Never be a friend with a government that does things like unrestricted warfare • Want security for democratic governments of the world • Peace for the world; liberation of peoples • Rights of nations great and small • U.S. has no selfish ends to serve and desire no conquest (land) • We will only play fair • Only see ourselves at war with Germany, not other Central powers
A formal declaration of war followed four days later, on April 6, 1917.
In his speech he continually points out the wrong doings of the German government. He then talks about the German people and says… “We have no quarrel with the German people. We have no feeling towards them but one of sympathy and friendship. It was not upon their impulse that their government acted in entering this war. It was not with their previous knowledge or approval.” • Why do you think he makes a distinction between the German government and the German People?