(6 April) – For two days round-the-clock, members of the House and Senate are debating a resolution that would bring the United States into the war against Imperial Germany.
The Senate begins its deliberation at 11 at night on April 5th and finally votes for war the next morning,
Then the House takes up the war declaration, just as news reaches the U.S. that another American ship is sunk by a German submarine. At that point, writes historian Margaret Wagner, “The momentum for war seemed unstoppable, even though many were torn.”
There was “something in the air,” said one lawmaker, “forcing us to vote for this declaration of war...
"...when away down deep in our hearts we are just as opposed to it as are our people back home.”
Many members of Congress vote against the war declaration. Those opposed include Jeannette Rankin of Montana, the first female member of the House of Representatives.
With tears in her eyes, reports historian Wagner, “Rankin said “I want to stand by my country, but I cannot vote for war.”
Nevertheless, the war resolution passes in the House 373 to 50, at on April 6th, precisely one hundred years ago.
President Woodrow Wilson signs the declaration at one-eighteen that afternoon.
The United States is now at war with Germany.
You could almost hear a collective sigh of relief from the Allies, writes Wagner. But the American people are much divided. Reports Wagner, “Americans absorbed the news with confusion and conflicting emotions.” Read more of this post