Primary Documents - Alexandre Ribot on America's Entry into the War, April 1917

Alexandre Ribot Reproduced below is the text of an address given by the French Prime Minister, Alexandre Ribot, to the French Senate in April 1917 on the subject of America's decision to declare war against Germany.

In his address Ribot stressed the close ties of friendship between France and the U.S., noting that U.S. independence was originally attained with the assistance of France.  He concluded by extending France's gratitude to America (in the person of President Woodrow Wilson) for determining to enter the war in the pursuit of "liberty and justice, which will establish concord among nations."

French Prime Minister Alexander Ribot's Address to the French Senate on America's Entry into the War, April 1917

What particularly touches us is that the United States has always kept alive that friendship toward us which was sealed with our blood.

We recognize with joy that the bond of sympathy between the peoples is inspired by ideals which can be cultivated in the heart of democracy.  The starry flag is going to float beside the tricolor.  Our hands shall join and our hearts shall beat in unison.

President Wilson makes it plain to all that the conflict is truly one between the liberty of modern society and the spirit of the domination of military despotism.  It is this which causes the President's message to stir our hearts to their depths as a message of deliverance to the whole world.

The people who in the eighteenth century made a declaration of rights under the inspiration of the writings of our philosophers, the people who placed Washington and Lincoln among the foremost of its heroes, the people who in the last century liberated the slaves, is well worthy to give the world such an exalted example.

For us, after such death and ruin, such heroic suffering, the words of the President mean renewal of the sentiments which have animated and sustained us throughout this long trial.  The powerful and decisive assistance which the United States brings us will be not material aid alone; it will be moral aid, above all, a veritable consolation.

As we see the conscience of the whole world stirred in mighty protest against the atrocities of which we are victims, we feel that we are fighting not alone for ourselves and our allies, but for something immortal; that we are striving to establish a new order of things.

And so our sacrifices have not been in vain.  The blood poured out so generously by the sons of France has been shed in order to spread the ideals of liberty and justice, which will establish concord among nations.

In the name of all the country, the Government of the French Republic addresses to the Government and people of the United States an expression of its gratitude, and its most ardent greetings.

Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. V, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923

Both British and German fleets had around 45 submarines available at the time of the Battle of Jutland, but none were put to use.

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