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THE MILLIONS OF GERMAN BIRTH WHO LIVE AMONG US We shall, happily, still have an opportunity to prove that friendship in our daily attitude and actions toward the millions of men and women of German birth and native sympathy who live amongst us and share our life, and we shall be proud to prove it toward all who are in fact loyal to their neighbors and to the government in the hour of test. They are, most of them, as true and loyal Americans as if they had never known any other fealty or allegiance. They will be prompt to stand with us in rebuking and restraining the few who may be of a different mind and purpose.
IF THERE SHOULD BE DISLOYALTY If there should be disloyalty it will be dealt with with a firm hand of stern repression; but if it lifts its head at all, it will lift it only here and there, and without countenance, except from a lawless and malignant few.
It is a distressing and oppressive duty, gentlemen of the Congress, which I have performed in thus addressing you. There are, it may be, many months of fiery trial and sacrifice ahead of us. It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance.
But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts—for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free.
PRIVILEGED TO SPEND HER BLOOD 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.
This address was received with extraordinary express is sions of approval by the members of Congress present and by the occupants of the galleries. The press and public of America, with almost unprecedented unanimity hailed it with grateful satisfaction. It was similarly received in Great Britain, France, and the other allied nations of Europe, and also in South America, where Brazil and other powers immediately began considering the question of following the example of the United States in declaring war against the arch-foe of democracy and of humanity.
In Germany the full text of the address was withheld by the censorship from general circulation. Among the government officials it caused a mingling of rage and fear, the latter passion being but ill-concealed. There was at first an attempt made to pretend that it did not matter, that the United States would be a negligible quantity in the war; but such words rang hollow, and the real thought of official Germany was that fearful odds were being cast against the Central Powers by the entrance of America into the fray.
PROMPT ACTION OF CONGRESS Immediately upon the conclusion of the President's address a resolution declaring war against Germany, or rather accepting the war which Germany had already begun against the United States, was introduced into both Houses of Congress. Brief debates followed, in which very few members ventured to oppose what was known to be the overwhelming will of the people. In the Senate one day's delay was caused by the opposition of Senator La Follette, of Wisconsin, but late on the evening of April 4th the resolution was adopted by a vote of 82 to 6.
The next day the House took it up, and before morning of April 6th adopted it by a vote of 373 to 50.
At eleven minutes after one o'clock on the afternoon of April 6th-Good Friday—the President affixed his signature to the resolution, and that moment marked the official entrance of the United States into the World War.
TEXT OF THE WAR ACT The resolution declaring the war which Germany had forced upon us was as follows:
WHEREAS, The Imperial German Government has committed repeated acts of war against the government and the people of the United States of America; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, By the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, that the state of war between the United States and the Imperial German Government, which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared; and that the President be, and he is hereby authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the government to carry on war against the Imperial German Government; and to bring the conflict to a successful termination all of the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United
Immediately after affixing his signature to the war resolution, the President issued a proclamation announcing the same, calling upon all American citizens to give their loyal support to the government and the laws, and prescribing and establishing various rules and regulations concerning the conduct and disposition of alien enemies found within the jurisdiction of the United States.
ANTECEDENTS OF THE WORLD WAR
Pretexts and Causes — Ancient Inter-Racial Rivalries and Conflicts — Nations Seeking Places “In the Sun" - The Quest of Free Outlet to the High Seas — Russia's Age-Long Struggles Toward Open Water - Our Own Fight for the Sea - Austria and the Adriatic - Looking Toward Salonica - Serbia's Need of a Sea Coast - The Annexation of Novi Bazar — Austrian Designs Against Serbia - Germany the Master Hand — Imperial Schemes in Mesopotamia and the Far East — Planning for World-Widé Empire - The German North Sea Frontage - The War Begun on the World's Most Famous Battlefield.
BOTH THE pretexts and the causes of the World Warand pretexts and causes are often very different thingswere varied and complex. The former were in some measure contradictory. First of all, there was Austria-Hungary's wrath over the assassination of the heir to the thrones, and her demands upon Serbia for such amends as could be made. Next there was Russia's preparation to protect Serbia against oppression and spoliation. Then there was Germany's intervention to protect her ally from Russian attack. There was Germany's complaint, afterward admitted to have been quite false, that French aviators had committed hostile invasion of the empire, on which account war was declared against France. Later there was the pretence that Germany had discovered a plot of the other powers to attack and oppress her and to deprive her of her rightful "place in the sun.” But, as a matter of fact, there were involved certain racial rivalries and national ambitions dating much further back than any of these things; some of the principles being almost as old as human history.
From the earliest times nations have generally been divided into two rival camps, antagonistic if not openly belligerent; and at intervals during and since the classic age some nation sought and has been seeking a larger "place in the sun," or more free access to the high seas. The strife of Iran against Turan was the burden of the Epic of Kings. The strife of classic Greece, from Miltiades to Alexander of Macedon, was a war of continents and civilizations, the soul of Europe against the mass of Asia. Rome in turn long stood on the one side and the rest of the world on the other. Later the Western Empire was arrayed against the Gauls and Goths, and the Eastern Empire against the Slavs and the Turks. In the days of the Crusades Europe was again arrayed against Asia. After that it was the Latin against the Teutonic race, a strife which was maintained down to within our own recollection, in the “Terrible Year” between France and Germany.
The present war at first assumed the aspect of a new alignment, that of Teuton against Slav. That appeared in Austria's attack upon Serbia, Russia's championship of Serbia, and Germany's defiance to Russia. Later, however, such lines were largely swept aside in a mad welter of all races and nations. Teuton and Slav, Latin and Anglo-Saxon, Tartar and Turk, Hindoo and Mongolian, were all inextricably mingled.
THE QUEST OF THE SEA As often of old, too, it was a fight for access to the sea. The cry of Xenophon's Ten Thousand, “Thalatta! Thalatta!" has been repeated, in desire or in realization, by many a nation in many a campaign. It was the sea that the Phænicians sought in their colonizations, thirty-one