The Origins of the Espionage Act of 1917: Was Judge Learned Hand’s Understanding of the Act Defensible?

50 Ariz. St. L.J. 919 (2018). Geoffrey R. Stone.

In the spring offensives of 1915, England and France lost 240,000 men and Germany 140,000, with no net change in position. The following summer, the British suffered 60,000 casualties on a single day in the Battle of the Somme. Between the outbreak of war in Europe and the decision of the United States to enter the conflict in the spring of 1917, there was continuing debate about the nation’s best course of action. Most Americans believed that the war in Europe did not implicate vital interests of the United States. What finally drew the United States into the war was the German submarine blockade.

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