Document[World War II] U.S. Navy. Navy Original Cable Dispatch declaring "GERMANY HAS DECLARED WAR ON THE UNITED STATES......." U.S.S. Biscayne heading, The cable was sent from the Secretary of Navy ("SECNAV"). 8" x 6.5" inches. Dated "11 Dec 1941". Two punch holes along top edge. In near-fine condition. On December 11th, 1941, four days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States' declaration of war against the Japan, Nazi Germany declared war against the United States, bringing America, which had been neutral, into WW II. With a single page, the fates of hundreds of thousands of Americans currently serving in the US Navy was decided: World War II had officially begun for America.
At the time of this telegram, The U.S. Navy was officially neutral, but was already attacking German U-boats in the Atlantic. On Thursday 11 December 1941, American Chargé d'Affaires Leland B. Morris, the highest ranking American diplomat in Germany, was summoned to Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop's office where Ribbentrop read Morris the formal declaration of war, the meeting lasted 3 minutes, from 2:18 to 2:21 pm (Berlin time). At 3:30 p.m. on December 11, 1941 the German charge d’affaires in Washington handed American Secretary of State Cordell Hull a copy of the declaration of war. Roosevelt wrote to Congress on that same day asking them to declare war on Germany and Italy, the motion passed through both houses without dissent, the declaration was signed by Roosevelt at 3:00 pm (EST). This original US NAVY cable dispatch is from the day of the declaration itself and has a Time stamp of 1451 GCT (2:51 PM- Greenwich Civil Time)
Hitler's declaration of war against the United Sates, is generally seen as an enormous strategic blunder on his part, as it allowed the United States to enter the European war in support of the United Kingdom and the Allies without much public opposition, while still facing the Japanese threat in the Pacific. Hitler had, in fact, committed Germany to fight the US while in the midst of a war against Russia, and without having first defeated the UK, instead of taking the option of putting off a conflict with the US for as long as possible. Hitler's lack of knowledge about the US and its industrial capacity for mounting a war on two fronts probably led him to this fatal decision.