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(Established by order of the President April 4, 1917.) Distributed free except that in the case of No. 2 and No. 3 of the Red, White, and Blue Series, the subscriber should forward 15
cents each to cover the cost of printing.
1. Red, White, and Blue Series: No. 1. How the War Came to America (English, German,
Polish, Bohemian, Italian, Spanish, and Swedish). No. 2. National Service Handbook (primarily for libraries,
schools, Y. M. C. A.'s, clubs, fraternal organizao'tions, etc., as a guide and reference work on all 1: forms of war activity—civil, charitable, and mili
.tary. No. 3. The Battle Line of Democracy. Prose and Poetry of
the Great War. No. 4. The President's Flag Day Speech with Evidence of Ger
Words, by Wallace Notestein and Elmer E. Stoll.
II. War Information Series:
No. 1. The War Message and Facts Behind It.
Assistant Secretary of Labor Louis F. Post.
Prof. E. B. Greene.
Other issues will appear shortly.
III. Official Bulletin:
Accurate daily statement of what all agencies of govern.
ment are doing in war times. Sent free to newspapers and postmasters (to be put on bulletin boards). Subscription price, $5 per year.
Address requests and orders to
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC INFORMATION,
Washington, D. C.
THE “War Message' of President Wilson, delivered before Congress on April 2d,
1 1917, voices the best ideals and aspirations of the American people. It sets forth in language of dignity and moderation, but with unmistakable indignation and emphasis, the grievous wrongs which have made the United States take up arms against Germany. It makes very plain, even to the hitherto unconvinced, why at the present general crisis it is the duty of all good Americans to enter this war, “that the world may be made safe for democracy."
In other words, Mr. Wilson's message is the best possible preparation for all loyal Americans who are studying the causes and justification for the present war, and who are trying to discover the proper mental attitude they themselves should take toward the personal part which they may be called to play in the struggle.
Nevertheless, although the President was speaking in general to all good Americans, he was addressing, for the moment, Congress in particular. Now men at Washington, devoting all their time to public affairs, and most of them favored by long residence there and by special opportunities for information, did not need to be told of the many things which were not so obvious to even very intelligent citizens at home—at least unless the latter were willing to spend considerable time in various forms of investigation. Consequently Mr. Wilson speaks of a good many matters that need amplifying details if they are to be entirely clear, and he draws a number of inferences, very sound indeed, but again sometimes not self-explanatory to busy men and women. Also, here and there, he contrasts the American and Prussian political philosophy and methods of doing things in a way that would become even more convincing if he had been allowed time to enter into specific details. Solemn official promises made only to be broken, conspiracies to burn and blow up American industries, to hamper our manufactures and cripple our Government by strikes and riots, spies in every center of political and industrial activity, plans made on American soil and financed by German funds to dynamite canals, bridges, and munition factories in Canada, invitations to Mexico in times of peace to join with Germany in dismembering our Union, have led people and President alike to see submarine warfare as but a more flagrant expression of a German state policy running amuck in absolute disregard of every sense of national and international morals and decency and callous to the claims of common humanity.
A military autocracy astride the ruins of Europe and dominant on the seas by virtue of an arm that both serves and reveals its ambitions and irresponsibility has forced America to accept its challenge. A new Monroe Doctrine must be defended · on the pathways of the seas and in the fields of Flanders if the Western World is to be preserved as the citadel of a free-developing, forward-looking democracy.
This annotated copy of the President's message has been prepared in the hope that it may make clearer the spirit and the facts back of a decision so momentous.
Many of the facts are very familiar to most Americans, but the effort has been to bring together in one place the chief lines of evidence which made Mr. Wilson say that he felt it his duty to urge Congress to declare that “the recent course of the German Government to be in fact nothing less than war against the United States.” Very many of the documents quoted in these notes have the highest official validity, and almost none of the facts mentioned are capable of dispute by any fair-minded person.