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This Day In History: The United States Entered World War I 100 Years Ago

April 06, 2017

This day in history, April 6, 1917, The United States entered World War I just two days after the U.S. Senate voted 82-6 in favor to declare war on Germany.

When World War I first broke out in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson, along with the general public, was in favor of neutrality.

When Germany began their quarantine of the British Isles cutting off some trade between Great Britain and the United States, several American vessels traveling to Britain were damaged or sunk by German mines.

In February 1915, Germany announced unrestricted warfare against all ships entering the war zone around Britain.

On May 7, the British-owned Lusitania ocean liner was torpedoed killing more than 1,000 passengers including 128 Americans. The U.S. demanded reparations and an end to German attacks on unarmed passenger and merchant ships. Germany agreed to the safety of passengers before sinking vessels, but in November, a U-boat sank an Italian liner killing 272 people, including 27 Americans.

In February 1917, Germany resumed its unrestricted warfare in war-zone waters. Just a few days later, a German U-boat sunk the American liner Housatonic. 

A $250 million arms-appropriations bill intended to ready the United States for war was later passed by Congress on February 22.

After Germany sunk several more American merchant ships, President Wilson went before Congress to call for a declaration of war on April 2. On April 6, the United States declared war on Germany.

The first 14,000 U.S. Infantry troops landed in France to begin training for combat. Slowly, the United States’ involvement in the war became a turning point leading to the Allies victory.