Primary Documents - 1917

Photograph of the coded Zimmermann telegram This page of the Primary Documents section of the website collects together archive source documents originating in 1917, the tumultuous third year of the war which heralded two revolutions in Russia, French military disaster along the Aisne, severe British difficulties at Passchendaele - and perhaps most notable of all, America's decisive entry into the war.

Included among the following documents is the transcript of the decoded Zimmermann Telegram which helped bring about America's entry into the war; President Wilson's speech to the U.S. Congress declaring war against Germany; and Tsar Nicholas II's abdication proclamation.

The list presented below - with each entry accompanied by a brief summary of its significance -  is sorted by date, with earlier documents listed first.

Document Description
ArticleGerman Propaganda Order January - Instructions for use on the Italian Front
ArticleKing Constantine's Letter to Neutrals January - The King's protest against Allied interference
ArticleZimmermann Telegram January - Secret German telegram to Mexico
ArticlePeace Without Victory January - President Wilson's proposal to European powers
ArticleGerman Reintroduction of U-Boat Warfare January - Germany's decision to re-start U-boat warfare
ArticleBethmann-Hollweg on U-Boat Warfare January - German Chancellor's speech to Reichstag
ArticleWoodrow Wilson on U-Boat Warfare February - U.S. President's breaking off of relations
ArticleSpain's Position on U-Boat Warfare February - Neutral Spain's dismay at new German policy
ArticleBrazil's Position on U-Boat Warfare February - Neutral Brazil's stance against German policy
ArticleChile's Position on U-Boat Warfare February - Neutral Chile's statement against German policy
ArticleTsar Nicholas II's Abdication Proclamation March - Russian Tsar's belated abdication announcement
ArticleFirst Russian Provisional Government March - Public announcement of new government
ArticleGrand Duke Mikhail's Manifesto March - New Russian Tsar's position
Articlevon Mackensen on Romanian Campaign March - German Field Marshal's triumphant announcement
ArticleGerman Report on Romanian Campaign March - Semi-official German narrative of early campaign
ArticlePresident Wilson's Inauguration Address March - Address given by Wilson at start of second term
ArticleManchester Guardian on Fall of Baghdad March - British newspaper journalist's account
ArticleSir Frederick Maude on Fall of Baghdad March - British Commander-in-Chief's official despatch
ArticleAustro-German Report on Fall of Baghdad March - Report by Gaston Bodart into Britain's success
ArticleArthur Zimmermann on his Telegram March - Speech confirming telegram's authenticity
ArticleJapan's Reaction to Zimmermann Telegram March - Prime Minister's rebuttal of connivance
ArticleUlema's Support for Arab Independence March - Ulema's crucial support for King Hussein
ArticleFrench Report on Hindenburg Line Retreat March - Investigation into reports of German atrocities
ArticleFrederic Penfield on the German Retreat March - U.S. Ambassador's first-hand report of aftermath
ArticlePhilip Gibbs on the Battle of Vimy Ridge April - British war reporter's newspaper account
ArticleCanadian War Office on Vimy Ridge April - Official Canadian reaction to success at Vimy Ridge
ArticleWilliam Sharp on the German Retreat April - U.S. Ambassador's eye-witness account
ArticleBethmann-Hollweg on War with America April - German Chancellor's regret at war likelihood
ArticleBritish Reply to Bethmann-Hollweg's Note April - Britain's dismissal of German Chancellor's arguments
ArticleU.S. Declaration of War April - President Wilson's address to Congress
ArticleFormal U.S. Declaration of War April - Formal U.S. declaration of war with Germany
ArticleAlexandre Ribot on U.S. Decision for War April - French Prime Minister's applause for U.S. stance
ArticleCuba's Declaration of War April - Formal Cuban declaration of war with Germany
ArticleMario Menocal on Cuba's Decision for War April - Cuban President's rationale for war
ArticlePresident Valdez on Panama's Decision for War April - President's statement of reasons for war
ArticleDavid Lloyd George on U.S. War Declaration April - British Prime Minister's support for U.S. decision
ArticlePresident Wilson: "Do Your Bit For America" April - President Wilson's call to American people
ArticleWilhelm on Success at Aisne/Champagne April - Kaiser's congratulations to Crown Prince Wilhelm
ArticleLudendorff on Success at the Aisne April - Erich Ludendorff's triumphant announcement
ArticleLenin's April Theses April - Lenin's prescription for revolution in Russia
ArticleAlexander Guchkov on Unrest in Russia May - War Minister's warning of imminent "abyss"
ArticleAlexander Kerenski on Unrest in Russia May - Justice Minister's warning against military unrest
ArticleManifesto of Council of Workmen & Soldiers May - Statement supporting Russia's military effort
ArticlePresident Wilson's Conscription Proclamation May - U.S. President's formal call for conscription
ArticleSamuel Gompers on U.S. Conscription May - U.S. trade union leader's position on conscription
ArticleDouglas Haig's Hindenburg Line Despatch May - British Commander-in-Chief's report of operations
ArticleThomas Nelson Page on 10th/11th Isonzo May - U.S. Ambassador to Italy's summary
ArticleBrazil's Steps Towards War June - Brazilian government's legal steps to authorise war
ArticleAllied Ultimatum to King Constantine I June - Demand for Constantine's abdication
ArticleWilliam H. Taft on the Reasons for War June - Former U.S. President's rationale for war
ArticleKing Constantine's Abdication Proclamation June - Exiled King's farewell speech
ArticleKing Alexander's Inaugural Proclamation June - New Greek King's promise to follow his father's lead
ArticleAllied Proclamation on King Constantine June - Allies' proclamation applauding King's abdication
ArticleU.S. Espionage Act June - U.S. law defining acts of espionage during wartime
ArticleRussia's Note of Thanks to the U.S. June - Russian government's letter of appreciation
ArticleDavid Lloyd-George on Origins of War June - Blame for Germany's actions in 1914
ArticleU.S. Press Bureau on Role of Destroyers June - Controversial government bureau's press release
ArticleBrusilov on the Kerenski Offensive July - Call to Russian arms in launching offensive
ArticleBrusilov's Dispatches Re Kerenski Offensive July - Commander-in-Chief's increasing despair at events
ArticlePainleve on French Failure at the Aisne July - French War Minister's public statement
ArticleReichstag's Peace Resolution July - German parliament's call for peace
ArticleCorfu Declaration July - Established basis of post-war Greater Serbia
ArticleManifesto of Council of Workmen & Soldiers July - Statement urging support for Provisional Government
ArticleManifesto of Council of Workmen & Soldiers July - Striking a note of desperate urgency
ArticleAnton Denikin on Mutiny in Russian Army July - Army Chief of Staff's official report
ArticleErich Ludendorff on Third Ypres July - Account of German losses at Passchendaele
ArticleSir David Watson on Third Ypres July - Canadian General's summary of Canadian role
ArticlePope Benedict XV's Peace Note August - Seven-point peace initiative
ArticleKing Alexander's Address to Parliament August - Incoming Greek King's coronation address
ArticleG.M. Trevelyan on 11th Battle of the Isonzo August - Account by head of British Red Cross in Italy
ArticleU.S. Report into Atrocities in Belgium September - U.S. Ambassador to Belgium's critical report
ArticleU.S. Report into Atrocities in Poland September - U.S. Commission member's report
ArticlePolish Speech on Atrocities in Poland September - By Polish member of Prussian parliament
ArticleLenin's Appeal for Civil Unrest (1) October - Appeal for further civil unrest in Russia
ArticleLenin's Appeal for Civil Unrest (2) October - Further appeal for civil disobedience
ArticleLenin's Statement of Bolshevik Demands October - Bolshevik's catalogue of revolutionary demands
ArticleLenin's Call to Power October - Lenin's urgent call to overthrow government
ArticleBolshevik Proclamation of Victory October - Proclamation declaring Kerenski's overthrow
ArticleLenin's Three Proclamations October - Three post-revolution Bolshevik proclamations
ArticleLenin's Decree on Peace October - Defining the nature of Soviet foreign policy
ArticleBolshevik Peace Resolutions October - Resolutions of Workmen's and Soldiers' Congress
ArticleLuigi Cadorna on Defeat at Caporetto October - Italian Army's Chief of Staff admits defeat
ArticleVon Cramon on the Battle of Caporetto October - German liaison officer's countdown to action
ArticleRomanian Ambassador on the War October - Statement outlining Romania's experiences
ArticleBrazil's Justification to the Vatican for War October - Open letter explaining the need for war
ArticleBalfour Declaration November - Britain's recommendation for a Jewish homeland
ArticleHindenburg on the Battle of Cambrai November - German Army Chief of Staff's account
ArticleConan Doyle on the Battle of Cambrai November - Arthur Conan Doyle's Summary
ArticleLeon Trotsky on Bolshevik Foreign Policy November - Bolshevik desire for a prompt armistice
ArticleVinichenko on Ukrainian Independence November - Ukrainian President's aims for autonomy
Articlevon Kühlmann on the October Revolution November - German Foreign Secretary's Reichstag speech
ArticleFall of Jerusalem December - Decree of surrender to British rule
ArticleLeon Trotsky on Armistice Negotiations December - Trotsky's report on progress of talks
ArticleGerman Report on Armistice Negotiations December - Official German report on progress of talks
ArticleEdmund Allenby on the Fall of Jerusalem December - British Commander-in-Chief's account
ArticleDeclaration of Marshal Law in Jerusalem December - Allenby's official declaration
ArticleAustro-German Report on Fall of Jerusalem December - Gaston Bodart's summary of events
ArticleE W G Masterman on the Fall of Jerusalem December - Summary by British Palestine Society
ArticleRusso-German Armistice December - Preliminary armistice agreement
ArticleLenin's Ultimatum to the Ukraine December - Ultimatum threatening war
ArticleSoviet Recognition of Finnish Independence December - Soviet government's acceptance
ArticleDouglas Haig's Report of 1917 Campaign December - British Commander-in-Chief's report
ArticleFrench Statement on Blockade of Germany December - Statement arguing need to block commerce
ArticleLeague of Neutral Countries on Serbia December - Statement protesting Bulgarian occupation
ArticleD F Houston on U.S. War Readiness December - Secretary of Agriculture's account
ArticleDaniel Willard on Role of U.S. Railroads December - View of President of U.S. Railroads' War Board

"Drum Fire" was an artillery barrage fired not in salvo but by each gun in succession.

- Did you know?

Primary Docs