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Blog: World War I centennial starts today

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It was 100 years ago today that the U.S. Congress declared war on Germany, in what had been thought of as the war to end all wars.

Hindsight proves how foolish that thought was; the United States has been at war more than at peace in the century since then.

It is worth considering how long it took Congress to approve a decision to join the war that had been raging in Europe and in the Atlantic Ocean before the United States became involved.

Germany had been sinking U.S. ships, costing American lives, and it still took Congress five days of deliberation before declaring war.

It was on April 2, 1917, that President Woodrow Wilson, who was elected after promising to preserve the peace, addressed a joint session of Congress and asked for the power to wage war.

U.S. Rep. Jeannette Rankin of Montana, the first woman elected to Congress, in 1916, wept when the vote was taken, The Lake County Times reported. She voted against the war. 

If you missed the World War I stories last Sunday and Monday, you can find them, and more, at our new World War I page on the NWI History site. We'll add more at the World War I centennial progresses.

If you've got World War I stories to tell, especially about Northwest Indiana's involvement, I'd love to hear from you. Drop me a line at

Porter/LaPorte Editor Doug Ross can be reached at (219) 548-4360 or Follow him at and on Twitter @nwi_DougRoss. The opinions are the writer's.


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Related to this story

This Feb. 24, 2016, special section featured front pages with big news from throughout The Times' history.

Photographs of World War I memorabilia, letters to home and German postcards which are part of the collection of Lake Central High School hist…

These are images of Carl Strain, of Munster, and letters and postcards sent home by his father and two of his uncles during World War I.

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