4/5/1916 The Sussex Pledge: Germany promises to call off the U-boats

US opinion has been angered by German U-boat attacks on civilian shipping. After the sinking of the Sussex, President Wilson told Congress that a rupture would ensue if Germany did not mend its ways. The Kaiser recently met James Gerard, the American ambassador, and promised that indiscriminate attacks on civilian vessels would halt. Now Germany issues a public pledge of its U-boat intentions. The submarines will completely refrain from attacks on passenger ships and will not attack merchant ships until it has been confirmed that they are carrying arms and passengers and crew have been given every opportunity to escape to safety.

This appeases the Americans, for now at least. But in his report home to Washington, Gerard is pessimistic about the long-term prospects for US-German relations. He thinks it is only a matter of time before the Germans change their mind and let loose the U-boats once again.

image source:

James Gerard (Wikipedia)

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