Law Library Stacks

The Great War Through the Lens of the Law Library’s Collection

After the June 28, 1914, assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a sequence of events occurred that culminated in the outbreak of World War I one month later when the Austro-Hungarian government declared war on Serbia. While initially reluctant to become involved, the United States joined the Allied Powers in 1917.

From the death of the Archduke to the Armistice on November 11, 1918, over 20 countries issued various forms of declarations of war  that can be found in the official government publications of the time.  This presentation highlights those declarations that are available at the Law Library of Congress.  The information can be accessed in alphabetical order by country.  A map illustrating years of entry into the war is also provided.

In addition, the presentation includes documents leading to US involvement  in the war, culminating in declarations of war against Germany on April 6, 1917, and against Austria-Hungary on December 7, 1917. This collection makes of one of many available from the Library of Congress on World War I.

Last Updated: 02/15/2017