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Sovereignty at SeaU.S. Merchant Ships and American Entry into World War I$
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Rodney Carlisle

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813037622

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813037622.001.0001

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The Agony of Woodrow Wilson

The Agony of Woodrow Wilson

(p.122) 9 The Agony of Woodrow Wilson
Sovereignty at Sea

Rodney Carlisle

University Press of Florida

Over the period March 20–April 2, 1917, Wilson did not reveal publicly his decision regarding war. On March 21, the US merchant ship Healdton was sunk off the Netherlands with 21 deaths, including 15 Americans. At the time, it was assumed that it had been sunk by a German submarine, but further research has shown that it struck one or two British mines; the details of that research are discussed in an Appendix of the book. The issue of whether the Healdton loss precipitated Wilson's final decision is discussed. Secretary of State Robert Lansing prepared a long list of hostile German actions, some of which had already been addressed by diplomatic notes, and provided that list to Wilson for use in his speech to Congress; Lansing also met with key members of Congress and provided them with the same list.

Keywords:   Healdton, Woodrow Wilson, Robert Lansing, Declaration of War

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