Thomas Herbert Russell.

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itself for war, without an outward sign or act. Ruthless destruction of
property and of life became too open, too frequent, too outrageous, for
the patience of even a long-suffering, tolerant people such as we. The
first impulse of genuine resentment was given when the Lusitania went
down with its neutral passengers, a defenseless ship on a peaceful
errand, drowning more than a hundred Americans of both sexes and all
ages without the slightest notice, or the faintest chance of escape.

Any nation other than ours would have gone to war in a moment over
such a blow in the face. We did not. Farther, we endured a sudden and
flagrant increase of German propaganda in high quarters and low, and of
German insolence openly and defiantly parading itself. The catalogue of
provocations grew daily, and daily bred anger, but our temper held until
in February of 1917, when Germany proclaimed unrestricted piracy by
submarines, and under the thin pretext of starving out the British
Isles, American and other ships were destroyed with all on board,

Even then our hand was withheld until Germany advised us that we might
send just one ship a week to Europe, one ship and no more, provided that
solitary ship were painted in a manner prescribed in the permission,
and then held strictly to a course laid down by the German admiralty.
Germany, a third rate naval power, had arbitrarily forbidden us the
freedom of the seas.

Then our patience broke. For this and all the other causes Germany had
given us, and for our own safety and the rescue of a world that without
us would have perished, the United States went to war.


Back of every American soldier about fifty men and women were needed
in order that he be supplied with everything his physical, moral and
military well being might require. They were put there. The result was
a sweeping change, an immense expansion of energy in the United States
itself. The draft took care of the army. No time or trouble had to be
given to filling the ranks and keeping them full. The enormous sums of
money necessary to finance our allies as well as ourselves were promptly
oversubscribed in a series of loans, the first and least of which ran
into three billion dollars, the fourth into six billions, a sum larger
than any single loan ever floated by any other nation. Idleness was
abolished. The order to "work or fight" was strictly enforced upon all
the people, rich and poor alike, for any attempt to except any one or
any class would have been blown away in a gale of laughter. In a space
incredibly brief the United States became a nation of actual workers, in
which every individual did his or her share, submitting meanwhile, with
good grace and no murmuring, to being rationed. Interstate utilities
were taken over and operated by the government, including the railway,
telegraph and telephone lines; and government fixed prices on the
necessaries of life. Everything was subordinated to the one and only
purpose of winning the war. All that we were and all that we had was
thoroughly mobilized behind the fighting arms, the army and the navy.


Almost immediately after the first military and naval preparations had
been set in operation the United States Government, taking no chance as
against the future, began to regulate the lives and living of Americans
at home. A policy of conservation, so well devised that it went into
effect without the slightest disturbance of daily living and daily
routine, was at once adopted.

England, France and Belgium had to be fed. Belgium had to be clothed and
housed as well as fed. Out of our abundance had to come the means to
those ends, as well as to equip and maintain vast armies of our own,
from bases three thousand miles away in Europe and twice as far in Asia.
The whole nation was mobilized for war.

Britain and France had come through more than three years of
close-lipped but bone-cracking effort, in which every aspect of domestic
life was changed, the final ounce of strength exerted, privations
unheard of endured in grim silence. America saved them, and not alone by
force of arms against the common enemy.



Uncle Samuel blew the bugle call,
For his boys to fall in line,
And they came, yes, by the million,
On the march at double time,
With muskets on their shoulders
They answered to the call
To defend our nation's honor,
And for Liberty of all.
They buckled on their knapsacks,
And they loaded up their guns,
To the tune of Yankee Doodle,
They whipped those Turks and Huns;
For their hearts were with the colors
Of the red, the white and blue,
And they've shown those fiendish Prussians
What the Yankee Dude'll Do.


Singing rally round Old Glory, boys,
And fight for freedom true,
Rally to the Stars and Stripes
As your fathers did for you.
Oh! we sailed across the ocean deep,
With the red, the white and blue,
And we've shown that devilish Kaiser
What the Yankee Dude'll Do.

From our north land, and our east land,
To our far-off Golden Gate,
From our south way down in Dixie
And the old Palmetto State,
Bravest sons of all the nation came
To fight our country's foe,
Who would follow our Old Glory,
Where her stars and stripes might go;
To the battle cry of Freedom,
All our men would surely come,
And fight for world-wide Victory
At the call of fife and drum.
We have proved to all creation
That our boys are real true blue,
And we've shown those fiendish Prussians,
What the Yankee Dude'll Do.



_The President Proclaims War_ - _Interned Ships Are Seized_ - _Congress
Votes $7,000,000,000 for War_ - _Raising an American Army_ - _War to
Victory Wilson Pledge_ - _British and French Commission Reaches America_.

On April 2, 1917, Congress having been called in special session,
President Wilson appeared before a joint session of both houses and
in an address worthy of its historical importance asked for a formal
declaration that a state of war existed with Germany, owing to the
ruthless and unrestricted submarine campaign. He recommended the utmost
practical co-operation with the Entente Allies in counsel and action;
the extension of liberal financial credit to them, the mobilization
of all the material resources of the United States for the purpose of
providing adequate munitions of war, the full equipment of the Navy,
especially in supplying it with means for dealing with submarines, and
the immediate enrollment of an army of 500,000 men, preferably by a
system of universal service, to be increased later by an additional army
of equal size. The President took pains to point out that in taking
these measures against the German government, the United States had
no quarrel with the German people, who were innocent, because kept in
ignorance of the lawless acts of their autocratic government, which had
become a menace not only to the peace of the world, but to the cause of
fundamental human liberty. The object of the United States, said the
President, was to vindicate the principles of peace and justice
as against selfish and autocratic power, and to insure the future
observance of these principles.

After due debate the following joint resolution, declaring war with
Germany was adopted by the Senate and House of Representatives and
signed by the President on April 6, 1917:

"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 States."


Immediately after signing the resolution of Congress, President Wilson
issued a formal proclamation of war, embodying in it an earnest appeal
to all American citizens "that they, in loyal devotion to their country,
dedicated from its foundation to the principles of liberty and justice,
uphold the laws of the land and give undivided and willing support to
those measures which may be adopted by the constitutional authorities in
prosecuting the war to a successful issue and in obtaining a secure and
just peace."

The President further enjoined all alien enemies within the United
States to preserve the peace and refrain from crime against the public
safety, and from giving information, aid, or comfort to the enemy,
assuring them of protection so long as they conducted themselves in
accordance with law and with regulations which might be promulgated
from time to time for their guidance. The great mass of German-American
citizens promptly avowed the utmost loyalty to the United States, but
numerous arrests of suspected spies followed all over the country.


Following the declaration of war all the German merchant vessels
interned in ports of the United States were seized by representatives of
the Federal authority, their crews removed and interned, and guardians
placed aboard. These ships in American waters numbered 99, of an
aggregate value of about $100,000,000, and included some of the finest
vessels of the German merchant marine; for instance, the Vaterland, of
54,283 tons, valued at $8,000,000, and numerous other Atlantic liners.
The disposition to be made of the German ships was left to the future
for decision, with great probability, however, that they would be used
to transport munitions and supplies to the Allies in Europe through the
German submarine blockade.

CONGRESS VOTES $7,000,000,000 FOR WAR.

Prompt action was taken by Congress to furnish the sinews of war.
By April 14 a bond and certificate issue of $7,000,000,000 had been
unanimously voted by both houses, and preparations were made to float
a popular subscription for the bonds. Three billions of the amount
was intended for loans to the Allies, and the remainder for active
prosecution of the war by the United States. The debates in Congress
indicated that the country stood solidly behind the President in a
determination to bring the military autocracy of Germany to a realizing
sense of its responsibility to civilization. RAISING AN AMERICAN ARMY.

Legislation was immediately presented by the War Department to the
military committees of the Senate and House of Representatives, to
provide for raising an army for active participation in the war. This
legislation was described by President Wilson as follows:

"It proposes to raise the forces necessary to meet the present emergency
by bringing the regular army and the National Guard to war strength and
by adding the additional forces which will now be needed, so that the
national army will comprise three elements - the regular army, the
National Guard and the so-called additional forces, of which at first
500,000 are to be authorized immediately and later increments of the
same size as they may be needed.

"In order that all these forces may comprise a single army, the term of
enlistment in the three is equalized and will be for the period of the

"The necessary men will be secured for the regular army and the National
Guard by volunteering, as at present, until, in the judgment of the
President, a resort to a selective draft is desirable. The additional
forces, however, are to be raised by selective draft from men ranging
in age from 19 to 25 years. The quotas of the several states in all of
these forces will be in proportion to their population."

Recruiting for the army and navy became active as soon as war was
declared. On April 15 President Wilson issued an address to the nation,
calling on all citizens to enroll themselves in a vast "army of
service," military or industrial, and stating that the hour of supreme
test for the nation had come. The United States prepared to rise to its
full measure of duty, confident in the patent justice of its cause, and
echoing the sentiment of its President when he said:

"The hope of the world is that when the European war is over
arrangements will have been made composing many of the questions which
have hitherto seemed to require the arming of the nations, and that in
some ordered and just way the peace of the world may be maintained by
such co-operations of force among the great nations as may be necessary
to maintain peace and freedom throughout the world."


The news of the President's proclamation of war, following the action
of Congress, was received in England and France, Russia and Italy, with
enthusiasm. A great service of thanksgiving was held in St. Paul's
Cathedral, London, attended by the King and Queen, ministers of state,
and an enormous congregation that joined in singing "The Star-Spangled
Banner" and the national anthem, while the Stars and Stripes by official
order was flown for the first time in history from the tower of the
Parliament buildings at Westminster and on public buildings throughout
the British empire. A high commission was appointed to visit the United
States for a series of war conferences, and Premier Lloyd George
expressed the national satisfaction in glowing terms of welcome to the
United States as an ally against Germany, paying at the same time
an eloquent tribute to the masterly address of President Wilson to
Congress, which stated the case for humanity against military autocracy
in such an unanswerable manner, the British premier said, that it placed
the seal of humanity's approval on the Allied cause and furnished final
justification of the British attitude toward Germany in the war.


In France, the Stars and Stripes were flung to the breeze from the
Eiffel Tower on April 22, and saluted by twenty-one guns. This marked
the opening of the ceremonies of "United States day" in Paris.

The French tricolor and the star-spangled banner were at the same hour
unfurled together from the residence of William G. Sharp, the American
ambassador, in the Avenue d'Eylau, from the American Embassy, from the
city hall, and from other municipal government buildings.

It was a great day for the red, white and blue, 40,000 American flags
being handed out gratis by the committee and waved by the people
who thronged the vicinity of the manifestations, which included the
decoration of the statues of Washington and Lafayette.

Members of the American Lafayette flying corps, a delegation from the
American Ambulance at Neuilly and the American Field Ambulances were the
guard of honor before the Lafayette statue.

Ambassador Sharp and his escort were received at the city hall by the
members of the municipal council and other distinguished persons. Adrien
Mithouard, president of the municipal council, welcomed Ambassador
Sharp, who was greeted with great applause when addressing the people of
Paris. He said:

"Citizens of Paris: May I say to you, on this day you have with such
fine sentiment set apart to honor my country, that America remains no
longer content to express to France merely her sympathy. In a cause
which she believes as verily as you believe to be a sacred one, she
will consecrate all her power and the blood of her patriotic sons, if
necessary, to achieve a victory that shall for all time to come insure
the domination of right over wrong, freedom over oppression, and the
blessings of peace over the brutality of war."

The French Government also appointed a war commission to visit the
United States forthwith for conference.

Resolutions expressing the great satisfaction of the Allied nations at
the action of the United States were adopted by the British House of
Commons, the French Chamber of Deputies, the Russian Duma, and the

War being declared, the people of the United States were not slow in
letting the President know that they stood solidly behind him. From all
parts of the country came assurances that the action of the Government
was approved. Organizations of every conceivable kind passed resolutions
pledging their support to all war measures decided to be necessary to
carry the war to a successful issue. Recruiting was at once started for
both the Army and the Navy. The recruiting depots were thronged daily
and thousands were enrolled for active service while Congress was
debating the respective merits of the volunteer system and the
"selective draft" advocated by the general staff of the Army and
approved by the President and his cabinet.

The full quota of men desired for the Navy, to place the ships already
in commission in a high state of efficiency, was soon secured. More men
offered themselves for naval service, indeed, than could be accepted
pending the action of Congress. Volunteers for the aviation corps, the
marines, the field artillery, the engineer corps, and all the various
branches of the military establishments came forward freely, and a
general desire was expressed to send an American force to the trenches
in Europe at the earliest possible moment consistent with proper
training for the field.

As the reports of American diplomats from the war zone, freed from
German censorship, were given to the public, the martial spirit of
America grew apace. Ambassador Gerard's corroboration of German
atrocities in the occupied territory of France, and Minister Brand
Whitlock's report on the situation in Belgium and the illegal and
atrocious deportation of Belgian citizens for hard labor, ill treatment,
and starvation in Germany, added fuel to the flame of national
indignation, already running high as the result of continued destruction
of American merchant vessels and the loss of American lives by submarine
piracy and murder, continued almost without cessation since the infamous
sinking of the Lusitania, one of the never-to-be-forgotten crimes of
German ruthlessness.

One hundred million free-born people were at length aroused to action.
The Navy was ready for immediate service where it could do most good,
and promptly took over patrol duty in the western Atlantic, relieving
British and French men-of-war for service elsewhere. The raising of an
army of a million or more men for active participation in the war waited
only on the action of Congress.

American women responded nobly to the President's call for universal
service, flocking to the Red Cross headquarters in every city and
setting to work immediately in the preparation of comforts for the great
army gathering on the horizon. They were promptly organized, so that
their efforts might count to the best advantage. In August, 1916, the
United States Navy included 356 war craft of all kinds, as against
credited to Great Britain, 404 to France, and 309 to Germany, The latter
figure does not include an unknown number of submarines of recent


On Sunday, April 22, the British war commission reached Washington,
headed by the Right Hon. Arthur James Balfour, secretary of state for
foreign affairs and former premier. The commission included Rear
Admiral Sir Dudley R.S. De Chair, naval adviser to the foreign office;
Major-General G.T.M. Bridges, representing the British army; Lord
Cunliffe of Headley, governor of the Bank of England; and a number of
other distinguished officials and naval and military officers, with
clerical assistants. The party met with an enthusiastic welcome in
Washington. Mr. Balfour was received by the President in private
conference next day, and after a round of receptions and social
functions of various kinds, arrangements were made for the business
meetings affecting war policies, which were the object of the visit.

Mr. Balfour informed the President that the British commission had come
to Washington not to ask favors, concessions, or agreements from the
United States, but to offer their services for the organization of the
stupendous undertaking of fighting Germany. He said that if the United
States was confronted by the same problems that confronted England at
the outset of the war, the British commission could be of service in
pointing out many grievous mistakes of policy and organization that
proved costly to the British cause. He was, in turn, assured by the
President that the United States would fight in conjunction with the
Allied until the Prussian autocracy was crushed and Americans at home
and abroad were safe from the ruthlessness of the Berlin government.


The French war commission soon followed the British envoys, arriving
in Washington on Wednesday, April 25, on board the presidential yacht
Mayflower from Hampton Roads. Headed by M. Rene Viviani, minister of
justice and former premier of France, the commission included the famous
hero of the Marne and idol of the French army and people, Marshal
Joffre; also Admiral Chocheprat, representing the French navy; the
Marquis de Chambrun (Lafayette's grandson), and other distinguished
Frenchmen. The fame of Marshal Joffre and the traditional friendship
for France secured for the party an enthusiastic popular greeting.
Its members were accorded similar official receptions to those of the
British commissioners, and they similarly expressed their desire to be
of service to the American people by giving the Washington government
the benefit of their costly experience in three years of war. ALLIES

Following the spring drive of the Allies on the western front and the
retirement of the Germans to the so-called Hindenburg line, the British
and French continued their offensive during the months of May, June and
July, 1917, which concluded the third year of the great struggle. Great
battles in the Champagne and along the Aisne were fought by the French,
who in April had captured Auberive, and they advanced their forces
from one to five miles along a fifty-mile front, inflicting great and
continual losses on the enemy. At the end of the third year, the French
line ran from northwest of Soissons, through Rheims, to Auberive. French
troops also appeared in Flanders during this period and co-operated
with the British on the left of Field Marshal Haig's forces. The chief
command of the French armies was in the hands of General Petain, the
gallant defender of Verdun, who was appointed chief of staff after the
battle of Craonne.

The continuation of the British offensive northeast of Arras, following
the bloody battle of Vimy Ridge, which was firmly held by the Canadians
against desperate counter-attacks, placed the British astride the
Hindenburg line, and the Germans retired to positions a mile or two west
of the Drocourt-Queant line. These they held as the third year closed at
the end of July.

In June, 1917, the British began an attack on Messines and Wytschaete,
in an effort to straighten out the Ypres salient. By this time their
flyers dominated the air, and they had gained the immense advantage of
artillery superiority. By way of preparation, the British sappers and
miners had spent an entire year in mining the earth beneath the German
positions, and the offensive was begun with an explosion so terrific,
when the mines were sprung, that it was heard in London. Following
immediately with the attack, the British won and consolidated the
objective ground, capturing more than 7,500 German prisoners and great
stores of artillery. This victory placed them astride the Ypres-Commines
canal, having advanced three miles on an eight-mile front. Portuguese
and Belgian troops assisted in this offensive, which resulted in the
greatest gain the Allies had made in Belgium since the German invasion.
Fighting in this terrain had been confined for many months to
trench-raiding operations.


It is estimated that during April, May, and June the Germans suffered
350,000 casualties on the western front. The totals of the German
official lists of losses for the entire war to July 19, 1917, were as
follows: Killed or died of wounds, 1,032,800; died of sickness, 72,960;

Online LibraryThomas Herbert RussellAmerica's War for Humanity → online text (page 4 of 49)