On this page we will look back at life in the city during the war years. Here we will provide the visitor with the stories making the news, what was happening in sports and entertainment, city politics, the social scene and the prominent people at the time. So, check back often for new editions. To share your family or neighborhood stories, please email PhillyWWIyears@gmail.com
TODAY IN PHILADELPHIA – SATURDAY, MARCH 3, 1917
Calls for war were heard today in the United States Senate. This was the result of the shock at the admission of the German government that the Zimmermann telegram was authentic and sent to entice Mexico and Japan into a war against America. Germany today released a statement that it had no choice but to take such a step due to America’s reaction to its decision concerning unrestricted submarine warfare and the severing of diplomatic relations.
The German statement admitting the proposed plot was read into the record in the Senate this morning. It was so unexpected that Senators unanimously requested the clerk re-read the remarks to ensure they heard correctly. Some Senators called the German admission an act of war. Others proposed that the United States declare war on Germany now. Virtually all opposition to President Wilson’s call for arming merchant ships disappeared and the chamber voted to give him complete authority to deal with the submarine crisis.
Amazingly, the German Foreign Office today also said it was the German Empire’s hope to remain on friendly terms with the United States. German Foreign Minister Zimmermann stated the proposal to Mexico and Japan would only be necessary in the event the United States declared war on Germany. Germany’s offer of an alliance was merely precautionary and not unusual in warfare. Not since the Spanish war has the Senate seen such excitement. Most Senators expressed astonishment at the fact that the Germans admitted to the plot. They marveled at the arrogance, smugness and condescension of the Germans by not only admitting the scheme but attempting to justify it.
Also in Washington D.C. tomorrow Woodrow Wilson will take the oath of office in the Senate Chamber at Noon. The oath will be administered by Chief Justice White. Most of the Senators and the other members of the Supreme Court will attend. The public inauguration will be held on Monday again at Noon at the Capitol.
On the entertainment scene here this weekend there is much to amuse and delight on the stage. Two new musicals have opened, “Katinka” at the Lyric, Broad and Cherry Streets and “POM-POM” at The Forrest Theatre, Broad & Locust. Also on stage is the new adaptation of Robert L. Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” at the Broad. At the Garrick, 1330 Chestnut Street, is the matrimonial farce “Fair and Warmer”, at the Adelphi, Broad & Cherry Streets, the sophisticated comedy “Very Good Eddie” staring Ernest Truex. The Katzjammer Kids “Hans und Fritz” are at the Walnut, 9th & Walnut Streets and at the Grand, Broad & Montgomery Avenue, “The Four Rajahs” amaze the audience with mind reading and oriental mysticism. While the Bowman Brothers present a delightful southern darky song-and-dance act.
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