The "Dry" forces in Washington, who vigorously patted themselves on the back for having been able to get the Eighteenth Amendment through Congress in December of 1917, wanted the law to take effect sooner than the amendment had mandated. Shortly after the signing of the Armistice, they rallied their members on the Hill and launched a piece of legislation through Congress called the Emergency Agricultural Appropriations Bill:
"President Wilson signs the Emergency Agricultural Appropriations Bill, whose rider provides for national prohibition from July 1 next until the American Army is demobilized."
Seeing no use for the measure, President Wilson was very reluctant to sign the bill, but sign it he did.
June 31, 1918 proved to be a hectic day in cities all across the nation, as immigrant and native alike scurried to buy the last bottle. How could they possibly know that Prohibition would be the law of the land for the next twelve years?
Click here to read a 1943 article that looks back on the ten years since the repeal of Prohibition.