Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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German Declaration of War with the United States: Press Release of the U.S. Department of State, 11 December 1941

Immediately after Pearl Harbor, in cables intercepted by Allied cryptographers, Japan urgently requested both the German and Italian governments to declare war on the United States. Four days after Pearl Harbor, both Axis powers did so. The ranking German diplomat in Washington delivered a formal declaration of war to the United States, a copy of which the German Foreign Office had already presented to the ranking U.S. diplomat left in Berlin. The State Department issued a statement giving the text of the German note in a press release that also described the circumstances of its delivery.

MR. CHARGÉ D'AFFAIRES:

The Government of the United States having violated in the most flagrant manner and in ever increasing measure all rules of neutrality in favor of the adversaries of Germany and having continually been guilty of the most severe provocations toward Germany ever since the outbreak of the European war, provoked by the British declaration of war against Germany on September 3, 1939, has finally resorted to open military acts of aggression.

On September 11, 1941, the President of the United States publicly declared that he had ordered the American Navy and Air Force to shoot on sight at any German war vessel. In his speech of October 27, 1941, he once more expressly affirmed that this order was in force. Acting under this order, vessels of the American Navy, since early September 1941, have systematically attacked German naval forces. Thus, American destroyers, as for instance the Greer, the Kearney and the Reuben James, have opened fire on German sub-marines according to plan. The Secretary of the American Navy, Mr. Knox, himself confirmed that American destroyers attacked German submarines.

Furthermore, the naval forces of the United States, under order of their Government and contrary to international law have treated and seized German merchant vessels on the high seas as enemy ships.

The German Government therefore establishes the following facts:

Although Germany on her part has strictly adhered to the rules of international law in her relations with the United States during every period of the present war, the Government of the United States from initial violations of neutrality has finally proceeded to open acts of war against Germany. The Government of the United States has thereby virtually created a state of war.

The German Government, consequently, discontinues diplomatic relations with the United States of America and declares that under these circumstances brought about by President Roosevelt Germany too, as from today, considers herself as being in a state of war with the United States of America.

Accept, Mr. Chargé d'Affaires, the expression of my high consideration.

December 11, 1941.

RIBBENTROP.


Further Reading
Department of State Bulletin, 13 December 1941 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1941). .
 

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