Marking the 100 Year Anniversary of America’s Entrance into WWI

Americans are tired of politicians promising one thing during an election and then reneging once in office.  So much so, they elected a reality TV star largely because he wasn’t a politician.  Yet his Syrian bombing put him right in line with one of the left’s favorite progressives, Democrat President Woodrow Wilson.

During Barack Obama’s presidency, Donald Trump often criticize him regarding Syria.

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Trump ran a campaign declaring the U.S. should stay out of Syria, insisting Russia deal with it.  His die-hard, alt-right, nationalist supporters worshipped him for this.  Which is why his Syrian strike, done without Congressional approval, came as a major blow for them.  In addition, a peculiar irony lies in the day he did it.

On April 6, 1917, exactly 100 years ago to the day, Wilson declared war on Germany.  Since his campaign ran on the popular slogan, “He kept us out of war,” you can say it came as a bit of a surprise.

During his first term, Wilson promised, and delivered, on keeping America out of conflicts with Europe as well as Mexico.  However, in less than a month of being inaugurated to his second term, Wilson asked Congress to declare war.

Hostilities broke out in Europe in July 1914.  On August 19th, Wilson gave a speech vowing to remain neutral. 

As part of Germany’s strategy, they engaged in “unrestricted submarine warfare” (USW), attacking non-military ships which resulted in the death of innocent civilians.  Relations between Germany and America became strained when Germany sunk the American ship Lusitania on May 7, 1915.  

Not wanting war with America, Germany agreed to partially suspend their USW policy on May 4, 1916, with the Sussex Pledge .  They continued their naval assault, but only sinking merchant boats with discovered contraband on board and after safely removing the crew.

The United States continued to remain neutral as the British instituted a blockade on Germany.  As a result, America freely traded with Allies while the Allies cut off the Central Powers.  

Closer to home, Pancho Villa led a revolution in Mexico.  At the time, several high-ranking U.S. officials, including General John J. Pershing, respected and met with Villa.  Regardless, Wilson formally acknowledged Villa’s rival, Venustiano Carranza, as Mexico’s legitimate leader.  Furious, Villa crossed the boarder and attacked Columbus, New Mexico, on March 9, 1916. 

Wilson ordered Pershing to chase Villa into Mexico, known as the Punitive Expedition. However, Wilson limited how far Pershing could track Villa.  As a result, Villa successfully stayed just out of Pershing’s reach.  In January of 1917, Wilson called Pershing and his troops back to the U. S.

At the end of January, Germany announced their resumption of USW, thus breaking the Sussex Pledge.  Once again, non-military ships, including passenger ships, were in danger.  Therefore, on February 3, 1917, the United States broke all diplomatic relations with Germany.  That same day, a German U-boat seized and sank the American merchant ship Housatonic.

As news of the sinking reached the states, Americans still resisted war.  However, anti-German sentiment grew.  Britain took advantage of that.

Germany reached out to Mexico when Wilson ordered Pershing home.  German Foreign Minister, Arthur Zimmerman, sent a telegram to the German ambassador to Mexico, Heinrich von Eckhardt on January 19th. He sought an alliance between the two countries.  Due to Villa’s attack and Pershing’s chase, Mexico and America also shared a strained relationship. As they say, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”.  So, Zimmerman attempted to persuade Mexico to unit with them should the United States seek war with Germany.  In return, Germany offered Mexico money as well as portions of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico.  

However, British Intelligence intercepted the message and deciphered its contents.  Since growing friction already existed between the U.S. and Germany, the British let it fester and held on to the telegram a few weeks.  They sent it to Wilson on February 24th, who immediately called on Congress to begin arming ships against German attacks.  He also authorized the release of the telegram, which Zimmerman confirmed as legitimate, to the American people.

Wilson addressed Congress on April 2, 1917, and requested a declaration of war on Germany and its allies.  Legislation quickly moved through both houses of Congress, formally declaring war on April 6, 1917.

Mark Twain once said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

History eerily did that when Trump announced his attack on Syria.  Not only are Wilson’s and Trump’s promises on war similar, their changes of course happened exactly 100 years apart to the day.

However, in some circumstances, no matter what your campaign promises are, worldly events require a different course of action.  As much as I despise Wilson’s presidency, confirmed information that Germany sought Mexico’s help in attacking America demands offensive action be taken.

While Syria did not personally bomb America, Trump’s response just completed Obama’s “red-line” policy.  Putin declared he handled the situation.  However, the attack proves Putin failed in verifying that Syria surrendered or destroyed all WMD’s. 

An attack by Assad completely violates his agreement under the Chemical Weapons Convention.  Therefore, someone needed to take action.  That being said, we must consider the possibility this was a “false flag” attack.  For example, could ISIS have conducted the chemical bombing to get America involved? Or did Russia assist Syria in their attack instead of preventing it?

For America’s sake, we must trust Trump reviewed verified and authentic information, similar to the Zimmerman telegram, before ordering the strike.  At least the White House didn’t blame the initial chemical bombing on a video so as to make it America’s fault.  On the other hand, Hillary Clinton supports Trump’s actions, which is enough to make anyone question them.

The world trusted Russia to deal with Syria.  They insisted that they did.  However, after eight years of an American president who never enforced his own lines in the sand, why would anyone else?  Apparently, our new president conducts business a little differently.

Looking a little deeper, the strike could prove to have an unexpected positive affect with our relations with China.  Hopefully, it gives Trump the leverage he needs to encourage China to address Kim Jong Un’s threats of nuclear strikes.  China wants to avoid American involvement, just like the Germans in 1916.  If Trump’s actions are enough to show the world a strong America still exists, leading other countries to step up to the plate as they should, then the Syrian attack will prove to be worth it.  If not, he may have just opened Pandora’s Box.

All Americans, whether you agree with Trump or not, should be praying for him and all our leaders.  Any wrong decisions moving forward will turn April 6th into the day that not only World War I began, but also the day World War III started.  Therefore, we must pray it was the beginning of peace.

But that’s just my 2 cents.

Pamela Adams

Pamela J. Adams maintains which includes her blog Liberating Letters. She is a stay-at-home mom who began researching history, science, religion, and current events to prepare for home schooling. She started Liberating Letters as short lessons for her daughter and publishes them for everyone’s benefit. Pamela has a Degree in Mathematics and was in the workforce for 20 years as a teacher, Marketing Director, Manager and Administrative Assistant. She has been researching her personal family history for over 24 years, publishing 3 books on her family’s genealogy. Follow her @PJA1791 & You can find her books Here.

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