Tag Archives: Ed Frederick

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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The Dirty Habit

Max would have to  choose for Mary – Ed or Ted? She couldn’t have them both but how could she give one up since she loved them both in equal measure. Easy – send Ed to France and leave Ted the happy chore of singing and executing the song “Come Josephine in My Flying Machine.” Ted takes Mary in his Curtiss triplane on a sight-seeing trip over London and 100 miles down the Thames to a 300-year-old Inn called the Dirty Habit (grease spots on a Monk’s habit). Mary succumbs; it will be Ted.

Max did not invent The Dirty Habit; he and Liddy lunched there in 2001 as part of their Great Cities of Europe cruise. Who knew it would turn up in a novel?

As Ted and Mary frolic in Kent, Ed and Steed are mucking through the mud in Flanders Fields – the Ypres salient, the most dangerous place in the 1917 world; Ed has convinced Steed that there is a story to be told of Mary’s brothers, Tommy and Ian, manning an observation post in no-man’s land.

The first half of THE WAR GUILT CLAUSE winds to a calamitous end as Ted flies with the Lafayette Escadrille, and Ed loses an eye in the final 30,000 man infantry charge at Pilckem  Ridge in southern Belgium.

A journalist can function nicely with only one eye as Ed Frederick demonstrates in the second half of THE WAR GUILT CLAUSE.