January 30, 2013
i. Woodrow Wilson and the World
When he won the 1912 election, he had no foreign policy experience. He was
an academic with mostly that kind of experience.
He hasn't had to deal with questions of foreign policy. He did believed that
the Monroe Doctrine, he upheld American presence in the Southern
Hemisphere; dealing with South America.
He doesn't involve himself with the politics and affairs of Europe. The country
has kept to itself, that it has pursued isolationist policies.
At the outbreak of the First Word War, America declares its neutrality.
America's neutrality allowed it to trade with all powers, whether at war or
not. Also that all American citizens could travel freely in any civilian ship
without breaking any neutrality.
America also believed that since it was neutral, and could remain neutral
because its interests were protected, America was in the best place to
mediate any negotiations. Historically, America had mediated negotiations in
The goal of ending this war was to do it in such a way that would prevent the
outbreak of any future war of that scale.
The neutrality is put to the test when the British blockades European
ports, putting strain on American trade.
Wilson protests but the blockades aren't lifted by the British.
The blockade by the Germans is of more concern to US because they were
using submarines to harass and sink even trade ships. As a fairly new
weapon in the arsenals of countries, there was no international protocol on
their use towards civil ships.
The sinking of the Lusitania, killing 1,260 people.
However, there was discussion to America's preparedness towards a war that
they wanted to stay neutral in. Should America prepare for war, despite
Wilson tries to placate the Peace advocates and the Preparedness camp- but
this is in vain because he is attacked by both sides.
Private loans were at first not allowed(to belligerent nations) but slowly it
was argued that by denying countries credit, they could not continue to
purchase American goods.
Going forward, Wilson begins to increase American spending and its
preparedness, yet Wilson is still penchant towards peace; hoping to mediate
a peace treaty without getting involved in the war.
The terms he favoured was to return to the status quo, no indemnities, no
territorial gains, no reparations. After which, a new world order could be
created. This went against the British and French sentiments who wanted to punish
Germany for its previous military acts that had hurt them.
Peace Without Victory - a speech where he advocated a peace
where their would be no losers that could trigger resentment and revenge.
Balance of power < community of power - an organized common peace.
Known today as Collective Security.
When Germany's chance of victory became slimmer, it began a campaign of
unrestricted submarine attacks on all vessels, sinking America trade ships.
Germany also approached Mexico to have them rise up against their
America enters the war as a ASSOCIATED POWER rather than an actual
traditional ally. On the grounds of principles, to uphold peace and end the
war, the US enters the war.
ii. The Progressive Stake in the War
War Board and the Progressive Spirit - the Progressivists used wartime
production and stress on industry to promote its own agenda on labour laws.
The War Board concedes on certain matters like work days, some organized