April 2, 1917: Woodrow Wilson Asks Congress To Declare War On Germany, Ending US Isolation From World Affairs

On this day 102 years ago, President Woodrow Wilson transformed America forever, as he went to Congress and asked for a declaration of war against Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, putting America into the “Great War”, World War I, four days later.

Other than intervention in Latin American affairs, and the gaining of island territories overseas in the late 1890s, the US had avoided foreign controversies, other than Theodore Roosevelt winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for being the mediator bringing about the peace treaty at the end of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905.

But from this point on, with the exception of a virulent isolationism in the 1920s and 1930s, which did NOT keep us out of the necessary involvement in World War II, the United States has faced its responsibilities of world leadership since the 1940s, committing to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization membership and leadership in official ceremonies on April 4, 1949, seventy years ago.