I read the other day that on December 7th, 1917 the US declared war on Austria-Hungry. I did not know that and noted the December 7th irony because that’s the day the US declared war on the Empire of Japan in 1941 following Pearl Harbor.
I guess the declaration of war on Austria-Hungary is a bit obscure and I wondered how many Americans knew that the declaration of war was in the context of the Great War or World War One?
The Europeans had been fighting that one since August 1914. It was Britain, France and Russia on one side versus Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottomans (Turks) on the other with minor powers added in at various times and places.
The US declared war on Germany in April of 1917 after Germany returned to unrestricted submarine warfare and made some promises to Mexico about Mexico regaining Texas and the sw States if they joined Germany in the war. The Mexicans wisely didn’t bite on that carrot.
I wonder why we didn’t declare war on the Austro-Hungarians at the same time we declared on the Germans. Actually I think I know. The Russians pulled out of WW1 in December, 1917 and since the Austrian-Hungarians mostly faced the Russians in the east it would have meant Austro-Hungarian troops going to the Western Front to assist the Germans and since that involved us it made sense to declare war on them before they got there. I wonder if they declared war back? hmm
The First World War started because on what Washington (that is George Washington) warned against and that was entangling alliances. I suppose George was right about the dangers of entangling alliances but also a bit naive as to how to avoid them. Today the US seems to be all about entangling alliances including one with Afghanistan which is odd since Afghanistan just made one with Iran a country not on our top 100 of friendly nations. Personally, I’d cut the Afghans loose and hope the Russians take another whack at them.
The other thing I found interesting about the date is that many Americans know that December 7th, 1941 is the date we declared war on the Empire of Japan following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
What many Americans do not know is that Germany and Italy declared war on us on December 11th, 1941 four days after we declared war on Japan. We then reciprocated by declaring war on Germany and Italy. I wonder how long it may have taken had not Germany and Italy declared war first.
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