1915-1916: Swaying American Opinion
America was appalled and outraged by the sinking of the British civilian cruise ship Lusitania without warning by a German submarine. Teddy Roosevelt’s public statement echoed the feelings of many:
” This represents not merely piracy, but piracy on a vaster scale of murder than the old-time pirates ever practiced. . . . It seems inconceivable that we can refrain from taking action in this matter, for we owe it not only to humanity but to our own national self-respect.”
Although Germany ceased unrestricted submarine warfare, President Woodrow Wilson now embraced the preparedness movement, such as these soldiers practicing bayonet drill.
1916 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN — REFERENDUM ON NEUTRALITY
Wilson was reelected on the slogan “He kept us out of war”… but American women reminded him they want the vote!
Wilson maintained American neutrality, but many U.S. citizens volunteered to fight with the allies including these men of the aeroplane squadron Lafayette Escadrille.
SYMPATHY FOR BRITAIN, FRANCE AND THEIR ALLIES
1915-1916: Swaying American Opinion Banner on view in the Veterans Building Lobby