United States in World War I
Quotes about the United States in World War I. The United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, more than two years after World War I started. A ceasefire and Armistice was declared on November 11, 1918. Before entering the war, the U.S. had remained neutral, though it had been an important supplier to the United Kingdom, France, and the other Allied powers.
- The Nation has need of all that can be contributed to it through the best efforts of all its citizens. The colored people have repeatedly proved their devotion to the high ideals of our country. They gave their services in the war with the same patriotism and readiness that other citizens did. The records of the selective draft show that somewhat more than 2,250,000 colored men were registered. The records further prove that, far from seeking to avoid participation in the national defense, they showed that they wished to enlist before the selective service act was put into operation, and they did not attempt to evade that act afterwards.
- Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?
- Daniel Daly, Battle cry at the Battle of Belleau Wood, World War I (June 1918)
- The Frogs" and "Joe Latrino" boys had been whispering the fini la guerre for so long that when the news did reach us, we didn't believe it. The official report caught us just about midnight along the main drag southwest of Sedan, which had been reached by some of the units of the outfit in competition with other American divisions and the French. He only thing we had to celebrate with were grenades, rockets, rifles, etc., and everybody did. The bedlam wore off about daybreak. The waffle boys of the staff drove up in their big limousines and shiny uniforms and boots and demanded: "Where are your men?" The captain pointed. Here and there in a rain-soaked field and out in the open in the steady drizzle, there were the men, sleeping singly, coiled up like a dog, or in twos or threes, anything to keep warm.
- Rondo Hatton, "News Hounds, Once Doughboys, Describe First Armisitice Day: South of Sedan," The Tampa Times (12 November 1928), p. 11
- [T]o claim that the over 100,000 American soldiers who died on the front lines in World War I were defending American freedoms, as Memorial Day speakers like Obama do year after year, is simply a lie. World War I was never about a threat to America. It was a war of empire, fought by the European powers, none of which was any better or worse than the others, and the US joined that conflict not for noble reasons or for defense, but in hopes of picking up some of the pieces. My own maternal grandfather, a promising sprinter who had Olympic aspirations, was struck with mustard gas in the trenches and, unable to run anymore with his permanently scarred lungs, ended up having to settle for coaching high school as a career. (My paternal grandfather won a silver star for heroism as an ambulance driver on the front, but was so damaged by what he experienced that he never talked about it at all, my father says.) Sadly, their sacrifices and heroism served no noble cause.
- It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance. But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts, for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free. To such a task we can dedicate our lives and our fortunes, everything that we are and everything that we have, with the pride of those who know that the day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured. God helping her, she can do no other.
- Woodrow Wilson, address to a joint session of Congress recommending that Germany's course be declared war against the United States (April 2, 1917), Albert Shaw, ed., The Messages and Papers of Woodrow Wilson (1924), vol. 1, p. 382–83
- God would never be cruel enough to create a cyclone as terrible as that Argonne battle. Only man would ever think of doing an awful thing like that. It looked like "the abomination of desolation" must look like. And all through the long night those big guns flashed and growled just like the lightning and the thunder when it storms in the mountains at home.
And, oh my, we had to pass the wounded. And some of them were on stretchers going back to the dressing stations, and some of them were lying around, moaning and twitching. And the dead were all along the road. And it was wet and cold. And it all made me think of the Bible and the story of the Anti-Christ and Armageddon.
And I'm telling you the little log cabin in Wolf Valley in old Tennessee seemed a long long way off.
- Alvin York, in his account of 7 October 1918, in the Diary of Alvin York
- We intend to begin on the first of February unrestricted submarine warfare. We shall endeavor in spite of this to keep the United States of America neutral. In the event of this not succeeding, we make Mexico a proposal of alliance on the following basis: make war together, make peace together, generous financial support and an understanding on our part that Mexico is to reconquer the lost territory in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. The settlement in detail is left to you. You will inform the President of the above most secretly as soon as the outbreak of war with the United States of America is certain and add the suggestion that he should, on his own initiative, invite Japan to immediate adherence and at the same time mediate between Japan and ourselves. Please call the President's attention to the fact that the ruthless employment of our submarines now offers the prospect of compelling England in a few months to make peace.
- First-hand accounts of World War I veterans, The Library of Congress Veterans History Project.