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The Washington Post, front page, March 1, 1917, newspaper clipping in Representative Dick T. Morgan’s scrapbook, 1917

Members of Congress often kept scrapbooks to track news they felt was important; this one belonged to Representative Dick T. Morgan of Oklahoma. The article carried details about the disclosure of the “Zimmerman Telegram,” in which Germany promised to help Mexico recover territory ceded to the United States in return for Mexico’s support if the United States entered World War I.

The Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center, University of Oklahoma

The Washington Post, front page, March 1, 1917

World War I: Declaring War on Germany

On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked a joint session of Congress to declare war on Germany. The president cited Germany’s repeated submarine attacks on passenger and merchant ships and its attempt to entice Mexico into an alliance against the United States as his reasons for Congress to declare war. On April 4, 1917, the Senate voted in support of the measure, and the House concurred two days later. The United States later declared war on German ally Austria-Hungary on December 7, 1917.

We are going to war . . . to vindicate our honor and to maintain our independence as a great nation. We are going to war . . . in defense of humanity.

Senator Gilbert Hitchcock of Nebraska, Speech to the U.S. Senate, April 4, 1917