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Japan. The note was written during January, 1917, before the United States had broken diplomatic relations. It was made public in March. At the same time evidence was secured of widespread plots by German spies, aided by the German Ambassador, Von Bernstorff, to cripple the industries of the United States and render us impotent. In consequence, the 65th Congress was called in special session, April 2, 1917. That evening the President appeared before the two Houses to deliver one of the most momentous messages in the history of our country, in which he asked Congress to recognize that the course of the German Government was “nothing less than war against the people and Government of the United States."
1. Congress meets in regular session on the first Monday of December in each year. Whenever the President calls Congress together at any other time the session is known as an extraordinary session. The President cannot declare war. The Constitution gives that power to Congress alone.
2. See Introduction for history of the submarine warfare. 3. That is, the right guaranteed by international law.
4. How many lives had been lost by submarine warfare when these words were spoken? See Introduction.
5. See Introduction for George Washington's policy as outlined in his first inaugural. Other nations, however, have not observed this high standard.
6. The German constitution gives to the Emperor and the Bundesrath, a body of delegates appointed by the rulers of the various German states, full power to make war without consulting the representatives of the people.
7. Russia had only recently overthrown the Czar.
8. For instance, there is in the possession of the United States Government a check made out to König, head of the HamburgAmerican secret service, and signed by Captain Franz von Papen, then military attaché to the German embassy in Washington, fully identified as having been used to pay for placing explosives disguised as coal in the bunkers of merchant vessels. Papers seized from Wolf von Igel, an employee of the German embassy, prove that the German Government, through her embassy in America, was involved in the destruction of lives and property, in suborning American writers and lecturers, in subsidizing a bureau to stir up labor troubles in munitions plants, and many other similar hostile activities. 9. See above for the meaning of this note.
10. Compare President Wilson's words with those of other American statesmen :
Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute. - CHARLES C. PINCKNEY, Ambassador to France, 1796.
Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! — PATRICK HENRY Let not the miscreant host vainly imagine that we fear their
No! these we despise; we dread nothing but slavery. Death is the creation of a poltroon's brain. ́T is immortality to sacrifice ourselves for the salvation of our country. — JOHN HANCOCK
Every good citizen makes his country's honor his own, and cherishes it, not only as precious, but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in its defense, and is conscious that he gains protection while he gives it. ANDREW JACKSON
Fondly do we hope — fervently do we pray — that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled up by the bondman's 250 years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said 3000 years ago, so still it must be said, “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” ABRAHAM LINCOLN
Let the pupil look for other similar expressions in the published speeches of our great leaders.
THE DECLARATION OF WAR (PAGE 46) The resolution declaring a state of war with Germany and empowering the President to carry on the war with all the resources of the nation was passed through the Senate by a vote of 82 to 6 on the 4th of April, and was adopted by the House by a vote of 373 to 50, after a sixteen-hour debate, on April 6, 1917.
WHAT WE ARE FIGHTING FOR (PAGES 47-50)
Soon after the Russian revolution and the entrance of the United States into the war, it was decided to send an American mission to
ussia to congratulate the new government and to find out in what way the United States could assist in providing for its needs. The mission was headed by Elihu Root, former Secretary of State, and
consisted of representatives of the railroads, business, and the army and navy, and of the religious, industrial, and socialist organizations of the United States. President Wilson took advantage of the occasion to send this message to the government and people of Russia, explaining what the United States was fighting for.
1. Compare these general principles with the more specific statements on pages 98 and 109.
THE FLAG WE FOLLOW (PAGES 51-60) This address was delivered at the Flag Day celebration in Washington on June 14, 1917.
1. Probably President Wilson already knew of the correspondence incriminating the German Ambassador, von Bernstorff, previously referred to.
2. The German emblem of power is the eagle.
3. Reread the Introduction to see if the facts warrant these statements.
4. Greece, Rumania, Bulgaria, and Albania were all ruled by kings of German lineage.
5. When these words were spoken, the broad belt from the Baltic to the Euphrates was actually in the possession of German armies; the “Drang nach Osten” had apparently been realized.
6. The German Government, it has been proved, had established a world-wide secret-service system. Her spies were everywhere. Count von Bernstorff, the German Ambassador, was supplied by the German Government with funds which were freely spent to influence public opinion against the President's policies. Many citizens and even officers in the United States army were found to be coöperating with this propaganda. Spies were everywhere. The intrigue for peace was persistent.
7. These words are prophetic. Few people took them seriously, but the events of the year in Russia proved the marvelous insight of President Wilson. The ultra-radical party, the Bolsheviki, overthrew the more moderate government of Kerensky, who favored the prosecution of the war. An armistice was signed with Germany in December. In March a treaty of peace was concluded which left Germany in full control of the destiny of Russia.
8. Probably this address is the most powerful of all the President's war addresses.
THE PRESIDENT'S REPLY TO THE POPE (PAGES 61-65)
In accordance with an age-old custom, Pope Benedict XV addressed an identic note to all the belligerent Powers on August 1, 1917, proposing a meeting to discuss peace terms. The proposal was chiefly for a return to the conditions before the war, with some minor adjustments of territory, and with a concert of Powers to guard against future wars, as the following extract shows :
“But in order no longer to speak in general terms, as the circumstances had counseled us in the past, we now wish to make more concrete and practical proposals and to invite the governments of the belligerent peoples to come to an agreement upon the following points, which seem to be the basis of a just and lasting peace, leaving to them the task of analyzing and completing them.
“First of all, the fundamental point must be that for the material force of arms be substituted the moral force of right, from which shall arise a fair agreement by all for the simultaneous and reciprocal diminution of armament, according to the rules and guarantees to be established, in a measure necessary and sufficient for the maintenance of public order in each state; then in the substitution for armies of the institution of arbitration with its high pacifying function, according to the rules to be laid down and the penalties to be imposed on a state which would refuse either to submit a national question to arbitration or to accept its decision.
“Once the supremacy of right has been established, all obstacles to the means of communication of the peoples would disappear, by assuring, by rules to be fixed later, the true liberty and community of the seas, which would contribute to ending the numerous causes of conflict and would also open to all new sources of prosperity and progress.
“As to the damages to be repaired and as to the war expenses, we see no other means of solving the question than by submitting as a general principle complete and reciprocal condonation, which would be justified, moreover, by the immense benefit to be derived from disarmament, so much so that no one will understand the continuation of a similar carnage, solely for reasons of an economic order.
“For certain cases there exist particular reasons. They would be deliberated upon with justice and equity. But these peaceful agreements, with the immense advantages to be derived from them, are not possible without a reciprocal restitution of the territory at present occupied.
“ Consequently, on the part of Germany, there should be the complete evacuation of Belgium with the guarantee of her full political, military, and economic independence toward it. The evacuation of French territory. On the part of the other belligerents, similar restitution of the German colonies.
“As regards the territorial questions, as, for example, those which have arisen between Italy and Austria, and between Germany and France, there is reason to hope that in consideration of the immense advantages of a durable peace with disarmament, the parties in conflict would wish to examine them with a conciliatory disposition, taking into consideration, as we have said formerly, the aspirations of the peoples and the special interests and the general welfare of the great human society.
“The same spirit of equity and justice ought to be followed in the examination of other territorial questions, notably those relative to Armenia and the Balkan states, and the territories making a part of the ancient kingdom of Poland, whose noble and historical traditions and sufferings, which it has endured, especially during the present war, ought to conciliate the sympathies of nations."
1. Robert Lansing became Secretary of State after the resignation of William Jennings Bryan in the summer of 1915. It is invariable custom that all communications between the United States Government and any other government are signed by the Secretary of State. It is well known that this Reply to the Pope, as well as many other of the diplomatic notes sent since the outbreak of the war in 1914, was actually written by President Wilson.
THE AMERICAN PEOPLE MUST STAND TOGETHER
This address was delivered to a convention of the American Federation of Labor, the largest and most influential organization of laborers in the United States. In this speech the President explains at greater length than on any previous occasion the war policy of the United States. In the latter part of the speech he addresses himself particularly to the labor situation, which was serious. There existed a crying need for workers to put through the big projects of the Government, to supply munitions and ships for the war. There were threats of strikes, and laborers in some sections of the country were inclined to be hostile to the war program. President Wilson faced the situation squarely, and won his audience, which passed resolutions