On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked a special joint session of the United States Congress for a declaration of war against the German Empire. Congress responded with the declaration on April 6.
Text of the declaration
WHEREAS, The Imperial German Government has committed repeated acts of war against 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 the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States.
In the Senate, the resolution passed 82 to 6 on April 4. The negative votes were cast by Asle J. Gronna, Robert M. La Follette Sr., Harry Lane, George W. Norris, William J. Stone, and James K. Vardaman. Eight senators did not vote: John H. Bankhead, Nathan Goff, Thomas P. Gore, Henry F. Hollis, Francis G. Newlands, John Walter Smith, Charles S. Thomas, and Benjamin R. Tillman.
In the House, the resolution passed at 3 a.m. April 6 by a vote of 373–50. One of the dissenters was Rep. Jeannette Rankin of Montana, who later became the only member of either chamber of Congress to vote against declaring war against the Japanese Empire on Monday, December 8, 1941.
Immediately after the resolution was passed by the House, it was signed by House Speaker, Champ Clark. About nine hours later, at 12:14 p.m., it was signed by Vice President Thomas R. Marshall. Less than an hour after that, when President Wilson signed it at 1:11 p.m., the United States was officially at war against the German Empire.
- "Text Of The Declaration Of War Against Germany, World War I" Archived 2015-07-08 at the Wayback Machine. The National Center for Public Policy Research website. Retrieved 2010-14-7
- Kull, Irving S. and Kull, Nell M. (1965) An Encyclopedia of American History in Chronological Order. New York: Popular Library. p.342
- Morris, Robert B. (ed.) (1961) Encyclopedia of American History (revised and enlarged edition), New York: Harper and Row. p.309
- Staff (April 6, 1917). "U. S. at War with Germany; President Signs Resolution". Evening Star. Washington, D.C. p. 1. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
- "Official Declarations of War by Congress" United States Senate website
- Map of Europe at the time of the US declaration of war at omniatlas.com