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PRESIDENTIAL SERIES > 12. WOODROW WILSON: A BIOGRAPHY~ CHAPTER 19 (425 - 453) ~ JUNE 10th - JUNE 16th, No Spoilers, Please

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Bryan Craig Hello Everyone,

For the week of June 10, 2013 - June 16, 2013, we are reading Chapter Nineteen of Woodrow Wilson: A Biography.

This week's reading assignment is:

WEEK TWELVE: June 10, 2013 - June 16, 2013 (p 425 - 453)

Chapter 19. Victory

We will open up a thread for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers. We will also open up supplemental threads as we did for other spotlighted books.

We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, or on your Kindle.

There is no rush and we are thrilled to have you join us. It is never too late to get started and/or to post.

Bryan Craig will be moderating this discussion.

Welcome,

~Bryan

TO ALWAYS SEE ALL WEEKS' THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL

Woodrow Wilson A Biography by John Milton Cooper Jr. John Milton Cooper Jr.

REMEMBER NO SPOILERS ON THE WEEKLY NON SPOILER THREADS - ON EACH WEEKLY NON SPOILER THREAD - WE ONLY DISCUSS THE PAGES ASSIGNED OR THE PAGES WHICH WERE COVERED IN PREVIOUS WEEKS. IF YOU GO AHEAD OR WANT TO ENGAGE IN MORE EXPANSIVE DISCUSSION - POST THOSE COMMENTS IN ONE OF THE SPOILER THREADS. THESE CHAPTERS ARE EXTREMELY DENSE SO WHEN IN DOUBT CHECK WITH THE CHAPTER OVERVIEW AND SUMMARY TO RECALL WHETHER YOUR COMMENTS ARE ASSIGNMENT SPECIFIC. EXAMPLES OF SPOILER THREADS ARE THE GLOSSARY, THE BIBLIOGRAPHY, THE INTRODUCTION AND THE BOOK AS A WHOLE THREADS.

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Woodrow Wilson A Biography by John Milton Cooper Jr. John Milton Cooper Jr.


Bryan Craig Chapter Overview and Summary

Chapter Nineteen: Victory


Industry had begun to increase production, but there were bumps. Turf wars started under the production of airplanes. Senator George Chamberlain held hearings on mismanagement and found Secretary Baker incompetent. Baker showed up at a senate hearing and redeemed himself. Wilson then appointed Baruch to run the War Industry Board.

On February 11 1918, Wilson spoke about four other peace plan points such as justice in a final settlement and people and territory should not be bartered. Wilson also was trying to add more Republicans in the process and brought Taft on the National War Labor Board.

The crackdown on radicals and free speech continued as the Sedition Act was passed. Major radicals were arrested and tried such as Rose Pastor Stokes and Eugene Debs. Wilson and Attorney General Gregory allowed local attorneys to handle the trials, but the locals were swept up by the anti-radical hysteria.

Pershing still did not put American troops under foreign command, and by the summer of 1918, he had enough men to be part of some offensives like Cantigny, Chemin des Danes, Chateau-Thiency, and Belleau Wood. In August, he mounted his own offensives at St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne. Wilson remained hands off regarding specific military strategy and tactics.

During the 1918 Democratic primaries, Wilson did an unusual thing and intervened in a few races to back "loyal" Democrats.

The Czech Tomas Masaryk lobbied Wilson to intervene in Russia using Czech POWs. The Czechs took Vladivostok and the U.S. and Japan moved in. British and French troops also sent men into Russia.

House and Wilson continued to think about the peace plan that included a league. In October 1918, Germany sent a note to Wilson to request peace negotiations based on the Fourteen Points. Wilson responded that the German government of the people must enter negotiations. Wilson did not consult with House or the Allies and the Allies worried this would be the first step of a unilateral peace between the two countries. House went to Europe in October to begin discussions with the Allies on the Fourteen Points and not a unconditional surrender. The Kaiser abdicated on November 9, and the war ended on November 11.

During the election, the Republicans fared pretty well, taking both houses of Congress. Their victory was based more on local and domestic issues. Lodge would now become chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


Bryan Craig I am beginning to appreciate the formulation of the league in Wilson's mind. Before the book, you think, "oh, Wilson was for a full league." Not true. He was leery of a international court and the Senate would even agree that a league can make the choice for the U.S. to go to war. Big foreshadowing here, wouldn't you agree?


Katy (kathy_h) Yes, somehow in American History from high school, I sure missed the complexities on the League of Nations. Cooper has done a nice job on trying to get the reader to see the idea from Wilson's perspective.


message 5: by Bryan (last edited Jun 10, 2013 08:24AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan Craig Indeed, Christopher, apparently the lobbying efforts of Tomas Masaryk seemed to help. I think it is easy to drag yourself into a civil war and it happened.

Questions remains: Cooper paints a picture that Wilson usually figured out a direction to go, and then he talks to someone, and it confirms the direction, and Wilson acts.

Is this true here? Was Wilson leaning toward intervention already? Or was it a case that Masaryk actually persuaded him?

Tragically, Wilson had a history of Mexico to fall back on...he didn't want to interfere with a civil war. Did the lesson fail him?


Bryan Craig Kathy wrote: "Yes, somehow in American History from high school, I sure missed the complexities on the League of Nations. Cooper has done a nice job on trying to get the reader to see the idea from Wilson's pers..."

He does, Kathy, high schoolers only a very tip of the top of the iceberg.


message 7: by Jim (new)

Jim Reid (jreid) | 115 comments Bryan wrote: "Kathy wrote: "Yes, somehow in American History from high school, I sure missed the complexities on the League of Nations. Cooper has done a nice job on trying to get the reader to see the idea from..."

Whew, at my age I can't remember what I was taught in high school, much less where I went to high school.


Bryan Craig It is blur to me, Jim.


Bryan Craig Four Points Speech (February 11 1918), Part One

Gentlemen of the Congress:

On the eighth of January I had the honor of addressing you on the objects of the war as our people conceive them. The Prime Minister of Great Britain had spoken in similar terms on the fifth of January. To these addresses the German Chancellor replied on the tweny-fourth and Count Czernin, for Austria, on the same day. It is gratifying to have our desire so promptly realized that all exchanges of views on this great mattter should be made in the hearing of all the world.

Count Czernin's reply, which is directed chiefly to my own address of the eighth of January, is uttered in a very friendly tone. He finds in my statement a sufficiently encouraging approach to the views of his own Government to justify him in believing that it furnishes a basis for more detailed discusssion of purposes by the two Governments. He is represented to have intimated that the views he was expressing had been communicated to me beforehand and that I was aware of them at the time he was uttering them; but in this I am sure he was misunderstood. I had received no intimation of what he intended to say. There was, of course no reason why he should communicate privately with me. I am quite content to be one of his public audience.

Count von Hertling's reply is, I must say, very vague and very confusing. It is full of equivocal phrases and leads it is not clear where. But it is certainly in a very different tone from that of Count Czernin, and apparently of an opposite purpose. It confirms, I am sorry to say, rather than removes, the unfortunate impression made by what we had learned of the conferences at Brest-Litovsk. His discussion and acceptance of our general principles lead him to no practical conclusions. He refuses to apply them to the substantive items which must constitute the body of my final settlement. He is jealous of international action and of international counsel. He accepts, he says, the principle of public diplomacy, but he appears to insist that it be confined, at any rate in this case, to generalities and that the several particular questions of territory and sovereignty, the several questions upon whose settlement must depend the acceptance of peace by the twenty-three states now engaged in the war, must be discussed and settled, not in general council, but severally by the nations most immediately concerned by interest or neighborhood. He agrees that the seas should be free, but looks askance at any limitation to that freedom by international action in the interest of the common order. He would without reserve be glad to see economic barriers resolved between nation and nation, for that could in no way impede the ambitions of the military party with whom he seems constrained to keep on terms. Neither does he raise objection to a limitation of armaments. That matter will be settled of itself, he thinks, by the economic conditions which must follow the war. But the German colonies, he demands, must be returned without debate. He will discuss with no one but the representatives of Russia what disposition shall be made of the people and the lands of the Baltic provinces; with no one but the Government of France the "conditions" under which French territory shall be evacuated; and only with Austria what shall be done with Poland. In the determination of all questions affecting the Balkan states he defers, as I understand him, to Austria and Turkey: and with regard to the agreement to be entered into concerning the non-Turkish peoples of the present Ottoman Empire, to the Turkish authorities themselves. After a settlement all round, effected in this fashion, by individual barter and concession, he would have no objection, if I correctly interpret his statement, to a league of nations which would undertake to hold the new balance of power steady against external disturbance.

It must be evident to everyone who understands that this war has wrought in the opinion and temper of the world that no general peace, no peace worth the infinite sacrrifices of these years of tragical suffering, can possibly be arrived at in any such fashion. The method the German Chancellor proposes is the method of the Congress of Vienna. We cannot and will not return to that. What is at at stake now is the peace of the world. What we are striving for is a new international order based upon broad and universal principles of right and justice, -- no mere peace of shreds and patches. Is it possible that Count von Hertling does not see that, does not grasp it, is in fact living in his thought in a world dead and gone? Has he utterly forgotten the Reichstag Resolutions of the nineteenth of July, or does he deliberately ignore them? They spoke of the conditions of general peace, not of national aggrandisement or of arrangements between state and state. The peace of the world depends upon the just settlement of each of the several problems to which I adverted in my recent address to the Congress. I, of course, do not rnean that the peace of the world depends upon the acceptance of any particular set of suggestions as to the way in which those problems are to be dealt with. I mean only that those problems each and all affect the whole world; that unless they are dealt with in a spirit of unselfish and unbiased justice, with a view to the wishes, the natural connections, the racial aspirations, the security, snd the peace of mind of the peoples involved, no permanent peace will have been attained. They cannot be discussed separately or in cor ners. None of them constitutes a private or separate interest from which the opinion of the world may be shut out. Whatever affects the peace affects mankind, and nothing settled by military force, if settled wrong, is settled at all. It will presently have to be reopened.

Is Count von Hertling not aware that he is speaking in the court of mankind, that all the awakened nations of the world now sit in judgment on what every public man, of whatever nation, may say on the issues of a confliet which has spread to every region of the world? The Reichstag Resolutions of July themselves frankly aceepted the decisions of that court. There shall be no annexations, no contributions, no punitive damage. Peoples are not to be handed about from onc sovereignty to another by an international conference or an understanding betwreen rivals and antagonists. National aspirations must be respected; peoples may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent. "Self-determination" is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of actions which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their peril. We cannot have general peace for the asking, or by the mere arrangements of a peace conference. It cannot be pieeed together out of individual understandings between powerful states. All the parties to this war must join in the settlement of every issue anywhere involved in it; beeause what we are seeing is a peace that we can all unite to guarantee and maintain and every item of it must be submitted to the common judgment whether it be right and fair, an act of justice, rather than a bargain between sovereigns.

The United States has no desire to interfere in European affairs or to act as arbiter in European temitorial disputes. She would disdain to take advantage of any internal weakness or disorder to impose ber own will upon another people. She is quite ready to be shown that the settlements she has suggested are not the best or the most enduring. They are only her own provisional sketch of principles and of the way in which they should be applied. But she entered this war beeause she was made a partner, whether she would or not, in the sufferings and indignities inflicted by the military masters of Germany, against the peace and security of mankind; and the conditions of peace will touch her as nearly as they will touch any other nation to which is entrusted a leading part in the maintenance of civilization.. She cannot see her way to peace until the causes of this war are removed, its renewal rendered as nearly as may be impossible.

This war had its roots in the disregard of the rights of small nations and of nationalities which lacked the union and the force to make good their claim to determine their own allegiances and their own forms of political life. Covenants must now be entered into which will render such things impossible for the future; and those covenants must be backed by the united force of all the nations that love justice and are willing to maintain it at any cost. If territorial settlements and the political relations of great populations which have not the organized power to resist are to be determined by the contracts of the powerful governments which consider themselves most directly affected, as Count von Hertling proposes, why may not economic questions also? It has come about in the altered world in which we now find ourselves that justice and the rights of peoples affect the whole field of international dealing as much as access to raw materials and fair and equal conditions of trade. Count von Hertling wants the essential bases of commereial and industrial life to be safeguarded by common agreement and guarantees but he cannot expect that to be conceded him if the other rnatters to be determined by the articles on peace are not handled in the same way as items in the final accounting. He cannot ask the benefit of common agreement in the one field without according it in the other. I take it for granted that he sees that separate and selfish compacts with regard to trade and the essential materials of manufacture would afford no foundation for peace. Neither, he may rest asssured, will separate and selfish compacts writh regard to provinces and peoples.

Count Czernin seems to see the fundamental elements of peace with clear eyes and does not seek to obscure them. He sees that an independent Poland, made up of all the indisputably Polish peoples who lie contiguous to one another, is a matter of European concern and must of course be conceded; that Belgium must be evacuated and restored, no matter what sacrifices and concessions that may involve; and that national aspirations must be satisfied, even within his own Empire, in the common interest of Europe and mankind. If he is silent about questions which touch the interest and purpose of his allies more nearly than they touch those of Austria only, it must of course be because he feels constrained, I suppose, to defer to Germany and Turkey in the circumstances. Seeing and conceding, as he does, the essential principles involved and the necessity of candidly applying them, he naturally feels that Austria can respond to the purpose of peace as expressed by the United States with less embarrassment than could Germany. He would probably have gone much farther had it not been for the embarrassments of Austria's alliances and of her dependence upon Germany.

After all, the test of whether it is possible for either goverament to go any further in this comparison of views is simple and obvious. The principles to be applied are these:

First, that each part of the final settlement must be based upon the essential justice of that particular case and upon such adjustments as are most likely to bring a peace that will be permanent;

Second, that peoples and provinces are not to be bartered about from sovereignty to sovereignty as if they were mere chattels and pawns in a game, even the great game, now forever discredited, of the balance of power; but that

Third, every territorial settlement involved in this war must be made in the interest and for the benefit of the populations concerned, and not as a part of any mere adjustment or compromise of claims amongst rival states; and
(Source: http://www.gwpda.org/1918/wilpeace.html)


message 10: by Bryan (last edited Jun 11, 2013 10:38AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan Craig Four Points Speech (February 11 1918), Part Two

Fourth, that all well defined national aspirations shall be accorded the utmost satisfaction that can be accorded them without introducing new or perpetuating old elements of discord and antagonism that would be likely in time to breaks the peace of Europe and consequently of the world.

A general peace erected upon such foundations can be discussed. Until such a peace can be secured we have no choice but to go on. So far as we can judge, these principles that we regard as fundamental are already everywhere accepted as imperative except among the spokesmen of the military and annexationist party in Germany. If they have anywhere else been rejected, the objectors have not been suffieiently numerous or influential to make their voices audible. The tragical circurmstance is that this one party in Germany is apparently willing and able to send millions of men to their death to prevent what all the world now sees to be just.

I would not be a true spokesman of thc people of the United States if I did not say once more that we entered this war upon no small occasion, and that we can never turn back from a course chosen upon principle. Our resources are in part mobilised now, and we shall not pause until they are mobilised in their entirety. Our armies are rapidly going to the fighting front, and will go more and more rapidly. Our whole strength will be put into this war of emancipation, -- emancipation from the threat and attempted mastery of selfish groups of autocratic rulers, -- whatever the difficulties and present partial delays. We are indomitable in our power of independent action and can in no circumstances consent to live in a world governed by intrigue and force. We believe that our own desire for a new international order under which reason and justice and the common interests of mankind shall prevail is the desire of enlightened men everywhere. Without that new order the world will be without peace and human life will lack tolerable conditions of existence and development. Having set our hand to the task of achieving it, we shall not turn back.

I hope that it is not necessary for me to add that no word of what I have said is intended as a threat. That is not the temper of our people. I have spoken thus only that the whole world may know the true spirit of America -- that men everywhere may know that our passion for justice and for self-government is no mere passion of words but a passion which, once set in action, must be satisfied. The power of the United States is a menace to no nation or people. It will never be used in agression or for the aggrandisement of any selfish interest of our own. lt springs out of freedom and is for the service of freedom.
(Source: http://www.gwpda.org/1918/wilpeace.html)


Bryan Craig Wilson writes:

This war had its roots in the disregard of the rights of small nations and of nationalities which lacked the union and the force to make good their claim to determine their own allegiances and their own forms of political life. Covenants must now be entered into which will render such things impossible for the future; and those covenants must be backed by the united force of all the nations that love justice and are willing to maintain it at any cost.

I think we are really seeing his keen interest in a League and self-determination.


message 12: by Jim (new)

Jim Reid (jreid) | 115 comments Bryan wrote: "Wilson writes:

This war had its roots in the disregard of the rights of small nations and of nationalities which lacked the union and the force to make good their claim to determine their own all..."


Wilson's self determination is an enigma to me. Almost at the same time I read this post I saw this in another book I'm reading. It's a letter from Wilson to the mayor of San Francisco during Wilson's 1912 campaign.

"In the matter of Chinese and Japanese coolie immigration, I stand for a national policy of exclusion. The whole question is one of assimilation of diverse races. We cannot make a homogeneous population out of a people who do not blend with the Caucasian race..." (pg 257 in reference below)

On the one hand he is in favor of self determination and yet if you are of the wrong race you must be excluded. Would self determination apply only to Caucasians?


A Shattered Peace Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today by David Andelman by David Andelman


Bryan Craig Interesting, Jim, this appears more fully in the next week's chapter.

So, we have a disconnect between what Wilson thought and the message he is sending. People of many races will be listening to this message and become inspired.


message 14: by Sherry (last edited Jun 11, 2013 12:00PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sherry (directorsherry) | 129 comments Jim wrote: "Bryan wrote: "Wilson writes:

This war had its roots in the disregard of the rights of small nations and of nationalities which lacked the union and the force to make good their claim to determine..."

This is Wilson's blind spot, and it's irrationally blind and does not go with the progressiveness of everything else he does. I don't think he was always so racist. I think the first Mrs. Wilson had a great deal to do with his choice making. Daughter Jessie says, after an Aunt is scandalized that Booker T. Washington is an included guest at his Princeton Inauguration.

"Mrs. Wison felt much more strongly about the color line than did Mr. Wilson." She also recalled that one of Ellen's aunts felt "scandalized" by Washington's presence at the inauguration 'and said if she had known he was to be there she wouldn't have gone' Wilson said that he thought Washington's "speech was the very best at the dinner afterwards bar none." (Cooper. page 79)

His wives influenced him strongly, especially Ellen. In those days disagreement about race could split families.


Bryan Craig Good points, Sherry family does play a major role in how you see the world.

Not much is said about Edith and race in the book as I can remember...I could be missing something, though.


Sherry (directorsherry) | 129 comments Bryan wrote: "Good points, Sherry family does play a major role in how you see the world.

Not much is said about Edith and race in the book as I can remember...I could be missing something, though."

I haven't seen anything either. I was speaking generally about how his wives influenced him in all matters, and Ellen specifically in the matter of race. It sounds like Ellen's family (if the Aunt is any indication) had an extreme southern opinion about race.


Bryan Craig I think so to; Ellen was from Georgia, near Atlanta, I think.


Peter Flom Jim wrote: "Whew, at my age I can't remember what I was taught in high school, much less where I went to high school.
..."


"When I look back on all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can think at all. And my lack of education hasn't hurt me none, I can read the writing on the wall"

Paul Simon - Kodachrome

(Great song, even if I do have a PhD).


Peter Flom I think the roots of the war are either vastly complex or very simple. In the very simple, a bunch of guys (and one woman) had a contest about who had the biggest b*lls. Since these guys (and one woman) ruled Europe (and much of the rest of the world), the result of this contest was 20 million dead (but not any of those guys and one woman).


Bryan Craig I think you got it half right, Peter, straightforward answer. Throw in the military machine that these guys couldn't stop once the order was given. Holy smokes.


Bryan Craig Other presidents like LBJ were heavily involved in the military affairs. Do you think it was a good course of action for Wilson not to say anything about the battles or strategy?


message 22: by Jim (new)

Jim Reid (jreid) | 115 comments Bryan wrote: "Other presidents like LBJ were heavily involved in the military affairs. Do you think it was a good course of action for Wilson not to say anything about the battles or strategy?"

I think any president has the prerogative to interject strategic military decisions in relation to his foreign policies. Two ocean war, one ocean war, relief of this country versus another they are all his call. As for tactical decisions I say no!


Bryan Craig So true, the "commander in chief" is loosely defined. It doesn't sound like Wilson was interested in educating himself like Lincoln did on military strategy.


message 24: by Tomerobber (last edited Jun 12, 2013 12:13PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tomerobber | 334 comments Peter wrote: "Jim wrote: "Whew, at my age I can't remember what I was taught in high school, much less where I went to high school.
..."

"When I look back on all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder..."


I don't have a PhD, Peter but the more I read . . . the more I wonder where I was during the class? Either I missed a lot, or I'm getting senile . . . but most of my knowledge was acquired in places outside of the classroom . . . ;-)


Bryan Craig You don't see a rosy picture in the late summer of 1918. Cooper says others around Wilson thought he was past his peak and he was working too hard.

Also, Wilson felt out of touch because he had to cancel a speaking tour out West, a lost opportunity to explain his peace plan.


message 26: by Bryan (last edited Jun 13, 2013 07:56AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan Craig What do you think about Wilson's appeal to Democrats not to embarrass him and getting involved in the primaries?


Theresa | 84 comments it's hardly inspiring. I would find it difficult to be loyal to a person that spoke directly or indirectly to me like that. and the fact that he said it publicly rather than in private makes it much worse. he was openly calling public scrutiny to a problem within the party.


Bryan Craig It was unprecedented wasn't it , Theresa? I think the cabinet had it right that Wilson lowered himself at that moment.


Bryan Craig Do you agree with Cooper's assessment at the end of the chapter relating to the surrender coming too soon and that Wilson's greatest failure as a war leader was not to stem the passion of anti-radicals and anti-German?


message 30: by Jim (new)

Jim Reid (jreid) | 115 comments Bryan wrote: "Do you agree with Cooper's assessment at the end of the chapter relating to the surrender coming too soon and that Wilson's greatest failure as a war leader was not to stem the passion of anti-radi..."

The short (and smart ass) answer is that no war ends to soon. As for Copper's suggest that the war's end didn't allow Wilson's ideas to tame the future vengeance of future the Germany, I'm not a believer. I suppose in the coming chapters we will see the secret treaties already in place and the Allies cold shoulder to Wilson that will marginalize anything Wilson has in mind. I may be wrong but I don't feel Wilson's prestige / influence building with the Allies over time.


Bryan Craig Thanks, Jim. Wilson certainly had to face the "unconditional surrender" supporters and not telling the Allies he was sending a note to Germany didn't help.

I thought it was interesting that Cooper theorizes that WWI would become more of a WWII situation as trench warfare changes.

The vengeance certainly is still there regardless if it is a settled armistice or total victory.


message 32: by Jim (new)

Jim Reid (jreid) | 115 comments Bryan wrote: "Thanks, Jim. Wilson certainly had to face the "unconditional surrender" supporters and not telling the Allies he was sending a note to Germany didn't help.

I thought it was interesting that Coope..."


I kinda of see the end as preordained. The French are surely looking for a "Carthaginian peace" but I really see it as a birthday party for the european allies with a huge cake they will eagerly slice and dice as a extension of their own financial and colonial designs.


Bryan Craig Good image, Jim, I think they felt they earned some big slices of cake.


message 34: by Jim (new)

Jim Reid (jreid) | 115 comments Bryan,

I'm on the last pages of a book by John Maynard Keynes and through his eyes in 1919 you can see that cake scramble will lead to untold indigestion. What an eye opener of a book.

The Economic Consequences of the Peace by John Maynard Keynes
By. John Maynard Keynes


Tomerobber | 334 comments Jim wrote: "Bryan,

I'm on the last pages of a book by John Maynard Keynes and through his eyes in 1919 you can see that cake scramble will lead to untold indigestion. What an eye opener of a book.

[bookcover..."


Jim,
Thanks for the heads up on this book . . . I bought an eBook edition from iBooks . . .


Tomerobber | 334 comments Bryan wrote: "Do you agree with Cooper's assessment at the end of the chapter relating to the surrender coming too soon and that Wilson's greatest failure as a war leader was not to stem the passion of anti-radi..."

I agree with Jim that no war ends too soon. In re-listening to this part again . . I get the impression of Cooper's comments that if America had had more time before Peace was declared that we would have had more opportunities to gain experience in war . . since we entered so late . . . (we hadn't been involved in such a massive undertaking really since the Civil War) the outcome might have been different.

But I think even if Wilson had been able to pull off the League of Nations ideal . . . that in the long run it would probably only delay the inevitable . . . after all . . . we have the United Nations in existence today . . . but I don't see that it's presence has done much to impact humanity's persistent warmongering.


Bryan Craig Thanks Tomerobber. I agree that I'm not sure a invasion of Germany would have solved a lot.


message 38: by Jim (last edited Jun 14, 2013 03:10PM) (new)

Jim Reid (jreid) | 115 comments Bryan wrote: "Thanks, Jim. Wilson certainly had to face the "unconditional surrender" supporters and not telling the Allies he was sending a note to Germany didn't help.

I thought it was interesting that Coope..."


I've been think about Cooper's remark about WWI and if they had more time they would have learned the tactics of WWII. Not sure why this is important but Poland in 1939 would testify that Germany had modernized their tactics. Given more time to one side means more time for the other.


Bryan Craig True, Jim. Germany learned many lessons


message 40: by G (new) - rated it 4 stars

G Hodges (glh1) | 901 comments I am confused by how Cooper is presenting information. On page 437 of the trade paper he says, referring to the 1918 primaries "As a whole these constituted a notable feat of leadership." Then in the next paragraph he says domestic politics were not uppermost in his mind.

In my view, Wilson has been doing a rather poor job as a leader of his 'war machine'. Blaming Baruch for the failures of Pershing and others does not consider that it is the President who has responsibility for military commanders (Lincoln and Grant, et. al, is an earlier example). It seems to me that Cooper is stretching to find some small practical success for Wilson. I am not detracting from Wilson's principles at all, which were wonderful, but I am not sure Cooper is putting together a good argument for Wilson's presidency during the war.


message 41: by G (new) - rated it 4 stars

G Hodges (glh1) | 901 comments A president is only as good as their advisors, especially since they choose to listen to them. 'Peace without victory' was Wilson's idea, but House (who in my mind is almost Rasputinesque) and Lansing did not give him a reasonable strategy for implementation. The result was an ultimately destructive end to the war. At the end of this chapter, Cooper says 'Wilson was going to have to try to make bricks without straw'. This is a situation Wilson created for himself.


Peter Flom G wrote: "A president is only as good as their advisors, especially since they choose to listen to them. 'Peace without victory' was Wilson's idea, but House (who in my mind is almost Rasputinesque) and Lan..."

Indeed. But this just implies that one of the key skills of a president (or, really, of anyone in charge of a large organization) is being able and willing to pick good advisers.

I think this was one of Wilson's worst areas.


Bryan Craig Interesting . Wilson is hailed as getting us through the war. For some it looks like he could have done better. I come away from Cooper as things worked and others did not.


Sherry (directorsherry) | 129 comments Tomerobber wrote: "Bryan wrote: "Do you agree with Cooper's assessment at the end of the chapter relating to the surrender coming too soon and that Wilson's greatest failure as a war leader was not to stem the passio..."

Mabe the effect of the UN is not felt as it someday will be. But it's there -- if nothing else, I think we all know we have to have an institution that attempts detante as a means to solving problems. And that ultimately we have to grow up and be a world and not just a bunch of greedy clans! Maybe not all of us. I hold out hope.


message 45: by Bryan (last edited Jun 19, 2013 06:08AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan Craig Good points, Sherry, I guess it took another catastrophic war to make leaders stick to a international organization like the UN.

Today, you still see the same issues that Lodge has with the league: sovereignty and national interest. I do think it is better today, but the elements of opposition still exist.


Sherry (directorsherry) | 129 comments Bryan wrote: "Good points, Sherry, I guess it took another catastrophic war to make leaders stick to a international organization like the UN.

Today, you still see the same issues that Lodge has with the league..."

Considered opposition is never a bad thing, as long as there is the awareness that we have to find another way to solve our global problems besides fighting a war.


Bryan Craig It is not a bad thing, but Wilson and the Republicans were moving too far apart.


Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments G wrote: "I am confused by how Cooper is presenting information. On page 437 of the trade paper he says, referring to the 1918 primaries "As a whole these constituted a notable feat of leadership." Then in ..."

Following G's comment on the primaries I thought, as Cooper mover thru pages 436 & 437, that maybe the title of the chapter "Victory" might have been double for the war and the election - but after the primaries he didn't enable the Democrats to take the election.

But I sort of agree with G that Wilson did not really succeed as a "war president"


Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Jim wrote: "Bryan wrote: "Other presidents like LBJ were heavily involved in the military affairs. Do you think it was a good course of action for Wilson not to say anything about the battles or strategy?"

I..."


I do believe it is the obligation of the commander in chief to understand enough to understand and control. McClennan certainly forced Lincoln to, circumstances forced Roosevelt to - if in a less open way, Harry Truman made the big decision. I think Wilson should have tried to be more aware so that he could approve or modify. This basically is a comment on messages 22, 23 & 24


Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Tomerobber wrote: "Peter wrote: "Jim wrote: "Whew, at my age I can't remember what I was taught in high school, much less where I went to high school.
..."

"When I look back on all the crap I learned in high school,..."


Sidney Weiner, Social Studies, Brooklyn Technical High School did a decent job......................


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