Historical Highlights

President Woodrow Wilson’s Joint Session Address Regarding the World War I Armistice

November 11, 1918
President Woodrow Wilson’s Joint Session Address Regarding the World War I Armistice Image courtesy of Library of Congress During the First World War, Representative Fiorello La Guardia of New York took a leave of absence from Congress to serve in the United States Army.
On this date, President Woodrow Wilson dramatically announced to a Joint Session of Congress, “The war thus comes to an end.” The President then explained to Representatives and Senators the armistice terms imposed on Imperial Germany, which had capitulated to the Allied forces that morning. Recent elections kept a large number of Members of Congress in their districts. As a result reporters noted their absence at the historic session, “hardly half the membership of Congress was present and there were scores of vacant benches on the floor.” Members who attended the Joint Session were quoted extensively in the press. Representative Fiorello La Guardia of New York commented that the terms, “will make a profound impression abroad [and] . . . will help to calm and restore to livable conditions the devastated countries.” Recognizing the strength of armistice terms, Representative George O’Shaunessy of Rhode Island stated, “Germany’s teeth have certainly been drawn. Peace again visits the earth, and a grateful people acknowledge our worthy President to be one of the masterful and dominant figures of the twentieth century.”

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