Wilson’s Obsession – The League of Nations

Woodrow Wilson, is the only U.S. President with an earned doctorate – Ph.D. in Government and History, Johns Hopkins University, 1886. To say Wilson was a stubborn man would be like saying the Washington Monument is an obelisk. “Let them compromise,” became a mantra with Wilson – he knew better, and in the end it cost him dearly.

A month after the fighting on the Western Front ended in November, 1918, Wilson went to France to prepare for the Paris Peace Conference that would convene in January, 1919; his reception in Paris, London, and Rome was tumultuous; he was the conquering hero, the first international recognition that the United States was a GREAT NATION, and he was here to fashion a peace for the world. Sadly, it would end badly . . .  “A Peace to End All Peace,” said the title of David Fromkin’s 1986 book,

Max Blue in The War Guilt Clause, follows the peace conference through the eyes of correspondent Ed Frederick, and a bright-eyed, spiky Midwesterner with a pen of her own – Peggy Schooner, who enters Ed’s life at the first Paris press conference with the words “Wilson has it all wrong – the League of Nations is not the first priority – a peace treaty with Germany is.”

Wilson had it horribly wrong but was blind to see. He would not be swayed from his bull-headed insistence that the Covenant of the League of Nations must be included in the introduction to what became the Treaty of Versailles.

Here in 2013, it is widely seen that partisan politics is crippling the United States efforts to bring a better life to its citizens. In 1919, bitter hatred for a Democrat President, may have been worse :

Republican Senator William Borah of Idaho – “The Treaty of Versailles represents the most complete moral breakdown in the history of treaty writing.”

Democratic Senator James Phelan of California – “The President has achieved a great triumph; the Treaty of Versailles is a greater boon to mankind than the Magna Charta or the American Constitution.”

It remained for the much maligned future U.S. President, Herbert Hoover, to pen a phrase that might represent A Thought For All Seasons: “We are sadly in need of an idealism that transcends partisan politics – one rooted in principles beyond mere party allegiance.”

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5 thoughts on “Wilson’s Obsession – The League of Nations

  1. ktredshoes

    I’ve been reading “When the Cheering Stopped,” which you recommended to me awhile ago. It underscores everything you’re saying here. Also, of course, the sadness of the last few years of his life, after his collapse and (probable) stroke while on his cross-country tour promoting the League of Nations.

    Reply
    1. MaxBlue Post author

      That book was clearly the inspiration for the last half of The War Guilt Clause- I see Woodrow Wilson as my all time favorite U.S. President – he stood for the Internationalism that I see as ultimately the only thing that will save the World from violent never-ending killing. This is not to say he was wise in all other things – if you don’t believe it as Peggy Schooner of the War Guilt Clause – his idealism kept getting in the way of accomplishing meaningful progress.

      Reply
      1. ktredshoes

        I knew that “When the Cheering Stopped” was a major influence for “The War Guilt Clause.” As for Wilson, I can only imagine how he might deal with today’s Congress…

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