- The war system and war guilt
- European peace activism
- British connections
- Pseudo neutrality and secret intrigues
- On the path to war
- Economic interests and the “Merchants of Death”
- The American Expeditionary Forces
- The Paris peace conference and Versailles Treaty
- Johnny Got His Gun
- Mechanized warfare: “All the fiendish elements of mass killing”
- Repression, vigilantism, and propaganda
- Academic unfreedom
- The responsibility of intellectuals
- Conscription and conscientious objection to war
- Racial discrimination
- Peace reform in the early 20th century
- Peace activism during the neutrality period
- The war years: The peace movement under duress
Did you know?
- For the first 32 months of the Great War, known as World War I today, the U.S. remained officially neutral. President Woodrow Wilson ran for re-election in 1916 on a campaign slogan, “He Kept Us Out of War.”
- In his war message to Congress on April 2, 1917, President Wilson declared that the “present German submarine warfare against commerce is a warfare against mankind.” Senator George Norris of Nebraska suggested that U.S. ships not sail into war zones as an alternative to war.1
- President Wilson framed the war as a fight for “the rights of mankind,” but instituted policies at home that curtailed American Constitutional rights, including freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
- The idea of the Great War as “the war to end all wars” originated with British fiction writer H. G. Wells in August 1914.
- Upon entering the war, the U.S. government initiated a chemical weapons program that involved more than 1,900 scientists and technicians, making it the largest government research program in American history up to that time.2
- More than two million U.S. soldiers were sent to France. Most arrived in the late spring and summer of 1918 and fought for less than six months.
- American fatalities included 53,402 soldiers killed in combat or missing, and 63,114 deaths from disease. Of the latter, roughly 45,000 U.S. soldiers died from the influenza epidemic that swept the U.S. and Europe in 1918.3
- All in all, the Great War took the lives of almost ten million soldiers. U.S. military deaths (116,516) constituted just over one percent.4
- Contrary to the heroic image of warfighting in all countries, two-thirds of all deaths and injuries in battle resulted from artillery and mortar fire from afar. Another 90,000 soldiers died from poison gases.5
- At least ten million civilians died as a result of the Great War. Food shortages in Germany, due to the British blockade, are estimated to have caused 763,000 deaths, according to the National Health Office in Berlin. This was about 50 times the number of British deaths caused by German submarine attacks on merchant vessels.6
- The fighting ended on November 11, 1918, at 11:00 a.m. That date is commemorated today in the United States as Veterans Day, a national holiday.
- According to a Gallup poll in 1937, 70% of Americans believed that U.S. participation in the Great War was “a mistake.”7
When the Great War erupted in Europe in August 1914, few Americans believed that the United States should become involved. There was a long tradition of avoiding “entangling alliances” with European powers, dating back to George Washington, and the United States itself was not threatened. The main concern expressed by some Americans was that the war could disrupt U.S. trade and cause an economic downturn. President Woodrow Wilson, speaking on August 3, advised Americans to remain calm. He expressed confidence that the U.S. would be able to “meet the financial situation growing out of the European war.”8 Two weeks later, he appealed to Americans to avoid taking sides:
The United States must be neutral in fact as well as in name during these days that are to try men’s souls. We must be impartial in thought as well as in action, must put a curb upon our sentiments as well as upon every transaction that might be construed as a preference of one party to the struggle before another. The United States must be neutral in fact as well as in name.”9
The major antagonists in the Great War were the Central Powers of Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Ottoman Empire, and the Triple Entente or Allied Powers of Russia, France, and Great Britain, later joined by Italy. The immediate cause was an attempt by Austria-Hungary to take over Serbia, a small country on its southern border, following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. The larger issue was which of the great powers would have dominant influence in Europe and the Middle East.
During the first 32 months of the 51-month war, the U.S. remained officially neutral. Yet the U.S. was not neutral in practice. The Wilson administration forged ever closer ties with Great Britain, supplying the Allied nations with food, guns, ammunition, and huge loans to pay for it all. Much of that loan money was spent in the U.S., creating an economic boom and also linking American prosperity to an Allied victory.
The U.S. sent over two million soldiers to France, although most did not arrive until the summer of 1918. The American Expeditionary Forces played an important role in the last battles of the war, buoying up British and French forces. The cost was 53,402 U.S. soldiers killed in combat or missing, and 204,002 wounded. Another 63,114 soldiers died from disease, half in military camps in the United States. The total number of U.S. military deaths (116,516) nevertheless constituted less than two percent of all Allied fatalities and slightly more than one percent of all combatant deaths.22
* * *
The Great War, at root, was the product of empire-building. Three great states were vying for control of the Balkans: the Ottoman Empire, which formerly held the region, Austria-Hungary, and Russia. At the same time, small states such as Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece were seeking to expand their borders. The immediate catalyst to war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, on June 28, 1914. The fatal bullets were fired by 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian nationalist, in the city of Sarajevo.26 The plot was hatched with the support of Dragutin Dimitrijević, Chief of Serbian Military Intelligence, who led a secret group known as the Black Hand that was dedicated to liberating all Slavic peoples from Austro-Hungarian rule.
As the world crisis unfolded, all eyes turned to Great Britain. Would the most powerful empire in the world enter the war? On Sunday, August 2, a large antiwar demonstration was held in Trafalgar Square, London. James Keir Hardie, a Scottish Labor Party leader, called for a general strike if Britain declared war. “You have no quarrel with Germany!” he told the crowd.28 The following day, Foreign Affairs Secretary Sir Edward Grey addressed the House of Commons and solemnly declared that his government could not remain neutral due to an 1839 treaty commitment to defend Belgium and an unspecified “commitment to France,” owing to the Anglo-French entente of 1904.29
Germany planned to first conquer France then join Austria-Hungary in defeating Russia whose vast expanse of land and large population made it a daunting foe. The German invasion of Belgium and northeastern France proceeded quickly and brutally in August 1914. The German Army drove within 30 miles of Paris before stopping to allow its supply lines to catch up. French and British forces counterattacked in the Battle of the Marne, September 6-12, leading to a partial retreat by German forces.
The Western Front then settled into a murderous stalemate for the next three and a half years. Both sides dug trenches in northern France that stretched from the English Channel to the Swiss border. The area between the trenches, dubbed “no man’s land,” became a graveyard for millions of men. Infantry soldiers charged headlong into barbed wire, machine guns, artillery barrages, and poison gas. Defensive strategies trumped all offensive maneuvers and the Western Front never moved more than a few miles in either direction. The major battles at Verdun and the Somme River produced immense casualties. On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, July 1, 1916, British casualties numbered 57,000, including 19,240 killed, making it the bloodiest day in British military history. The battle lasted five months and resulted in a total of 1.2 million casualties on all sides.31
The Kerensky government’s determination to continue the war proved its undoing. The Bolshevik Party, led by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, promised “Peace, Bread, and Land.” In late October 1917, the Bolsheviks overthrew the Kerensky government. The new government concluded an armistice with Germany on December 15, followed by a peace treaty on March 3, 1918. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk formally ended Russian participation in the war and ceded huge swaths of territory to Germany. The Allies were displeased with both Russia’s withdrawal and the new Bolshevik government. Great Britain, France, and the U.S. subsequently dispatched troops to aid the overthrow of the new government – contrary to President Wilson’s promise to respect Russian self-determination.33
The Great War extended beyond Europe. In the Middle East, the British moved quickly into Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) to establish control over oil fields against Ottoman resistance. Led by T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), the British also organized an Arab rebellion within the Ottoman Empire, promising independence after the war. This turned out to be a false promise. Following the war, the British took control of what is today modern Iraq, Israel and Jordan, and France reigned over Lebanon and Syria.
The British and French drew upon their far-flung colonial empires for support and soldiers. Former and current colonies – later anointed the British Commonwealth – included about one-fourth of the world’s population in 1914, some 450 million people. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand immediately joined the war effort. Australia and New Zealand together contributed 440,000 soldiers out of a combined population of six million. Of these “Anzac” soldiers, 95,000 were killed, including 8,000 in the Battle of Gallipoli. Their sacrifice continues to be commemorated annually on “Anzac Day,” April 25. Almost 1.5 million Indians served in the Indian Expeditionary Forces as soldiers and laborers, being deployed in northern France, East Africa, and the Middle East.34
The Germans were the first to use poison (chlorine) gas in April 1915, although tear gas had previously been used by both sides. After deploring this “cowardly form of warfare,” the British adopted it, first using poison gas in September 1915. By the end of the war, more than 124,000 tons of poison gases (chlorine, phosgene, and mustard) had been produced by all parties, with the United States taking a leading role in their production in 1917-18.37
Invading armies were prone to kill and abuse civilians when suppressing resistance. According to the historian Alan Kramer, the German Army intentionally executed 5,521 civilians in Belgium and 906 in France during its initial invasion. The victims included women and children, and especially men of military age. One German soldier who had participated in a massacre in the town of Dinant, Belgium, told his French captors, “We were given the order to kill all civilians shooting at us, but in reality the men of my regiment and I myself fired at all civilians we found in the houses from which we suspected there had been shots fired; in that way we killed women and even children.”
Total military and civilian deaths, country by country, in descending order, are estimated as follows: Russia, 3,311,000; Ottoman Empire 2,922,000; Germany 2,477,000; France 1,698,000; Austria-Hungary 1,567,000; Italy 1,240,000; Great Britain 995,000; Serbia 725,000; Romania 680,000; Bulgaria, 187,000; Greece 176,000; Belgium 121,000; United States 117,000; Portugal 89,000, India 74,000; Canada 67,000; Australia 62,000; New Zealand 18,000; South Africa 9,500; Newfoundland 1,200; and Japan 415. To these numbers may be added roughly four million people who died in conflicts attributable to the Great War between 1918 and 1923, including the civil wars in Russia, Hungary, and the collapsing Ottoman Empire.42
The memory of the Great War in the United States tends to highlight President Wilson’s noble ideals and his inability to achieve them. In Europe and much of the rest of the world, it is the deadly horror of the war itself that is somberly recalled. “The magnitude of the slaughter in the war’s entire span was beyond anything in European experience,” writes Adam Hochschild:
. . . more than 35 percent of all German men who were between the ages of 19 and 32 when the fighting broke out, for example, were killed in the next four and a half years, and many of the remainder grievously wounded. For France, the toll was proportionately even higher: one half of all Frenchmen aged 20 to 32 at the war’s outbreak were dead when it was over. . . . Roughly 12 percent of all British soldiers who took part in the war were killed. . . . Even the victors were losers: Britain and France together suffered more than two million dead and ended the war deep in debt . . . The four-and-a-half year tsunami of destruction permanently darkened our worldview.43
Winston Churchill, appointed Minister of Munitions in 1917, mused that the war had left “a crippled, broken world.” Lord Lansdowne (Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice), the former British foreign secretary, came to the realization in November 1917 that there was no goal or purpose that could justify continued slaughter. Writing to the Daily Telegraph on November 29, he cautioned British citizens that the war’s “prolongation will spell ruin for the civilized world, and an infinite addition to the load of human suffering which already weights upon it.” He predicted, “Just as this war has been more dreadful than any war in history, so we may be sure, would the next war be even more dreadful than this. The prostitution of science for purposes of pure destruction is not likely to stop short.”44
The war system and war guilt
British philosopher and Nobel Laureate Bertrand Russell likewise took note of the misdirection of science, writing in 1916, “Never before have so large a proportion of the population been engaged in fighting, and never before has the fighting been so murderous. All that science and organization have done to increase the efficiency of labour has been utilized to set free more men for the destructive work of the battlefield. . . . The degradation of science from its high function in ameliorating the lot of man is one of the most painful aspects of the war.” Russell also noted how fear and insecurity undermine peace, writing, “Militarists everywhere based their appeal upon fear: powerful neighbours, they say, are ready to attack us, and unless we are prepared we shall be overwhelmed.”45
International power politics
- imperial quests for territories, spheres of influence, and economic advantage;
- arms buildups, naval races, and the quest for military superiority;
- the use of diplomacy to gain advantage rather than settle differences;
- the absence, lack of enforcement, or abuse of international laws and norms against aggression;
Domestic institutions and policies
- the use of war to foster militant nationalism and divert social reforms;
- authoritarian decision-making systems and the repression of dissent;
- military-industrial complexes that profit from arm sales and war;
- forced conscription of citizens to fight in wars;
Beliefs and propaganda
- state propaganda that blurs the line between aggression and defense, that dehumanizes the “enemy,” and that indoctrinates citizens with myths of national righteousness;
- racist and pseudo-scientific beliefs that foster notions of racial and national superiority and assume the right to rule over others;
- cultural ideas about manhood, heroism, and war that lead men and boys to want to fight in order to prove themselves;
- military indoctrination that numbs the conscience of soldiers, giving rise to atrocities.
Viewing the war from a broad perspective, it may be seen that Austria-Hungary’s aggressive attempt to incorporate Serbia into its empire, which officially catalyzed the Great War, was not different in kind from actions taken by Great Britain to bring East Africa into its realm, or by France to establish its authority over Southeast Asia. The difference was that Serbia is located in southern Europe, an area of vital interest to both Russia and Austria-Hungary, whereas Africa and Asia were deemed peripheral interests. In all cases, nonetheless, imperial force was employed. The historian Jay Winter comments that “the violence Europeans normally practiced on African and Asian” peoples for centuries “came home to roost” in 1914. “What was tolerable when it was Africans, black men or yellow men, becomes intolerable when it has to do with white Europeans. The imperial system allowed for absolutely appalling behavior in the periphery.”47
Russia also sought to counter the military potential of Germany as well as that of Austria-Hungary. In November 1913, Czar Nicholas II adopted a “Great Military Programme” that called for a 40 percent increase in the size of the standing army over the next four years, and an expansion of the nation’s railway network, made possible by French loans, in order to facilitate rapid mobilization of troops. “One ironic outcome of the Russian undertaking,” notes Martel, “was to encourage those strategists in Germany who advocated a ‘preventative’ war.”51 Given the amount of time it took to organize, equip, and move troops to the front, the nation that mobilized its army first would gain great advantage in a war; hence, the German government’s view of the Russian mobilization as an act of war in August 1914.
In the decade prior to the Great War, Great Britain and Germany engaged in a naval arms race. Kaiser Wilhelm II was a disciple of Alfred Thayer Mahan, the American author of The Influence of Sea Power Upon History (1890). Mahan identified sea power as the single most important ingredient of a nation’s foreign policy, viewing Great Britain as the model naval power. The impetus for Germany’s naval buildup came in 1897 when the British Foreign Office threatened to blockade the German coast if Germany provided assistance to the Dutch Boers in South Africa. The following year, Germany undertook an aggressive program to build a fleet matching that of Great Britain. The British government responded with a buildup of its own, in keeping with its “two-power standard” that required the Royal Navy to be at least the size of the next two largest navies combined.
Such arms races were stimulated by advances in weapons technology. Machine guns, first manufactured in the 1880s, became lighter and more lethal, their capacity increasing to 500 rounds per minute by 1914, then to over 1,000 rounds per minute by 1918. Long-range artillery was developed and produced, such as the French 75, that could fire shells some twenty miles in distance. The British construction of the HMS Dreadnought in 1906, a huge armored battleship, prompted Germany to follow suit. When war came in 1914, Britain had twenty Dreadnoughts and Germany had thirteen. Germany countered Britain’s superiority on the high seas with torpedo-firing submarines, which fundamentally changed the nature and rules of naval warfare. A new terror emerged as the magnificent invention of the airplane was fitted with bombs and machine guns for assaults from the air. Most terrifying was the use of poison gas, despite agreement among the great powers at the Hague conference of 1907 to prohibit its use.
In Germany, General Friedrich von Berhhardi similarly viewed war as a necessary agent of civilized “progress.” In his book, Germany and the Next War (1911), the 65-year-old general wrote, “War is not merely a necessary element in the life of nations, but an indispensable factor of culture, in which a true civilized nation finds its highest expression of strength and vitality. . . . Without war, inferior or decaying races would easily choke the growth of healthy budding elements, and a universal decadence would follow.”54
In the propaganda battles that accompanied the Great War, each side painted its own military policies as protective and noble in intent, whereas the rival power’s military policies were denounced as aggressive and evil in design. While the Allied Powers stood on firmer ground as far as self-defense justifications were concerned, all sought to advance their empires. Beyond defending one’s nation, war was also touted in all nations as a proving ground for manhood and a pathway to heroism. The British were alone among the European powers in not establishing a system of conscription (until the spring of 1916); hence the government produced a prodigious amount of propaganda aimed at encouraging or shaming young men to join the British Expeditionary Forces. Attacks on the home front, such as the German bombardment of Scarborough on December 16, 1914, greatly aided recruitment efforts.
Diplomacy sometimes entailed forming alliances with other powers, whether for protection against attack or for mutual gain. In 1879, Germany and Austria-Hungary formed a Dual Alliance. Three years later, Italy joined the two, making it a Triple Alliance. In 1894, France and Russia established an alliance as a counterweight to the latter. Although Great Britain competed with France for colonies in Africa, and with Russia for spheres of influence in Asia, it nonetheless relied on these two states as counterweights to the Triple Alliance and thus signed an entente with France in 1904, and one with Russia in 1907. The competing alliances were designed to deter war, but instead they turned Europe into a powder keg waiting to ignite.
Another point of cooperation was the Open Door policy toward China, first put forth by Great Britain in 1898.56 This tenuous agreement stipulated that all of the major powers, including the United States, would have equal trading rights in China and that China itself would remain whole. The policy was designed to prevent one great power from dominating China and to prevent wars among the imperial powers. When, in 1900, Chinese nationalists pushed back against foreign domination in the Boxer Rebellion, the imperial powers (Great Britain, France, the United States, Germany, Russia, and Japan) organized a joint expeditionary force of 20,000 soldiers to suppress it.
One of the great ironies of European power struggles was that the European royalty was connected by marriage and family. England’s King George V was the first cousin of Czar Nicholas II of Russia on his mother’s side, the two looking like twin brothers, and the first cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm II on his father’s side. As children, the three future monarchs played together on holiday excursions. Czar Nicholas was married to a German-born princess, Alexandra Feodorovna. He named Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany as godfather to one of his children. Both Nicholas and Wilhelm were at the bedside of their grandmother, Queen Victoria of England, when she died. Royal etiquette and diplomacy continued as the crisis over Serbia unfolded in mid-1914. According to Adam Hochschild:
In late June, a squadron of British battleships and cruisers were welcome guests at Germany’s annual Elbe Regatta. Loving medals and epaulets as much as ever, the Kaiser proudly donned his gold braid as an honorary British admiral of the fleet, and British and German officers attended races and banquet together. When the Royal Navy warships weighed anchor and sailed for home, their commander signaled his German counterpart: “Friends in past, and friends forever.” And why not?59
European peace activism
The International Peace Bureau, based in Berne, Switzerland, coordinated the activities of more than 100 national and regional peace societies. International arbitration and legal structures were promoted by the International Arbitration and Peace Association, based in London, and the International Council of Women, based in Washington, D.C. Universal Peace Congresses, held in different capitals of Europe, brought peace activists together from across the continent.60 The spirit of peace extended to sports with the first modern Olympic Games held in its ancient birthplace – Greece – in April 1896. The Games attracted athletes from 14 nations, with the largest delegations coming from Greece, Germany, France, and Great Britain.
The conference failed to achieve its primary objective of limiting the size of armed forces, but it did adopt conventions prohibiting the use of certain weapons, such as asphyxiating gases and expanding bullets; and it created a Permanent Court of Arbitration to adjudicate disputes between conflicting parties. According to the historian A. C. F. Beales, the conference furthermore “established for every Government the right to offer mediation without the offer being open to interpretation as an unfriendly act,” and created a Commission of Inquiry, composed primarily of neutrals, to set up machinery to mediate disputes between conflicting parties. Following the creation of the court, fourteen cases were settled prior to the outbreak of the Great War.61
Peace activists and organizations could be found in every European country before the war. Alfred Nobel, the Swedish-born scientist who invented dynamite and made other fundamental innovations in weapons technology, pondered whether the development of increasingly powerful explosives would create a war machine so terrible that countries would be deterred from engaging in war. He developed a strong interest in peacemaking, or making war obsolete, encouraged in part by his correspondence with Bertha von Suttner, a Czech-Austrian peace activist and author of the popular antiwar novel, Lay Down Your Arms (1889). Their letters continued for almost two decades. Nobel made his contribution to peace by creating in his will the annual Nobel Peace Prize, first awarded in 1901.64
In Czarist Russia, Count Leo Tolstoy appealed to conscience, calling on all Christians to renounce their participation in every facet of war, including military preparations, conscription, war taxes, and patriotic pomp. In Christianity and Patriotism (1894), he denounced patriotism as “nothing but an instrument for the attainment of the government’s ambitious and mercenary aims, and a renunciation of human dignity, common sense, and conscience by the governed, and a slavish submission to those who hold power.” The Russian Orthodox Church, in league with the czars, excommunicated him. Among those inspired by Tolstoy’s ideas were the Dukhobors, a peasant sect from the Caucasus, which emigrated to Canada after one of its members, a village schoolteacher, was imprisoned for refusing military service.66
When Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28, 1914, Europe’s socialist leaders held an emergency meeting in Brussels, Belgium. Attending were Kier Hardie from Great Britain, Jean Jaurés from France, Rosa Luxemburg and Hugo Haase from Germany, and other representatives. The delegates did not endorse a general strike but instead passed a general antiwar resolution – to no effect. In a last moment of international solidarity, Jaurés stood with his arm around Haase, co-chair of the German Social Democrats, before an antiwar rally of 7,000 people. The crowd sang “The Internationale” and chanted “Guerre a la guerre!” (War against war) as it marched through the streets.70 Upon his return to Paris, Jaurés was assassinated by a militant nationalist.
Seven of the eight major combatants in the Great War had deep roots in Christianity (Austria-Hungary, Russia, Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, and the United States), but national identities, loyalties, and power structures had the stronger pull. Neither socialist worker solidarity nor Christian religious identity nor international peace activism would stop the guns of August. According to peace historian David Cortright:
The international peace movement reached the apogee of its public influence and support in the years immediately preceding World War I. A survey of the international movement at the time counted 190 peace societies, some with thousands of members, in dozens of countries…. Yet for all the apparent strength of the peace movement, it was far too weak politically and ideologically to counter the vast historical forces that were propelling Europe toward disaster.73
Peace advocacy proved difficult during the war, as governments deemed it contrary to the patriotic war spirit, if not treasonous. Especially in the last two years of the war, prominent citizens were imprisoned, including the German socialist deputies Karl Liebknecht and Wilhelm Dittmann, the former French Minister of Finance Joseph Caillaux, the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, and the Italian socialist leader Costantino Lazzari.74 Women peace activists made notable efforts to dilute national animosities, holding an international peace conference at The Hague in April 1915 (See section VIII). Many looked to the United States and President Woodrow Wilson to mediate a peace agreement, but the Wilson administration moved in the opposite direction. When the U.S. entered the war, it imprisoned Socialist Party leader Eugene Debs and hundreds of other peace advocates.
On Christmas eve, in various parts of the trench line, British soldiers noticed strange lights on the German side. Suspicious at first, they recognized the lights as decorated Christmas trees. Graham Williams, a rifleman in the London Rifle Brigade, recalled: “When we started up [singing] ‘O Come All Ye Faithful,’ the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words ‘Adeste Fideles,’ and I thought, well, this was really a most extraordinary thing – two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.”
The following year, on December 7, 1915, President Wilson inched further toward military preparations, warning, “If our citizens are ever to fight effectively upon a sudden summons, they must know how modern fighting is done . . . [and] must be fitted to play the great role in the world.” He asked Congress to approve funds to increase the strength of the regular army from 102,985 to 134,707 enlisted men, and to prepare another 400,000 young men for military training, “raised in increments of 133,000 a year throughout a period of three years.” To fund these and other military initiatives, Wilson asked for additional revenues of $93.8 million for fiscal year 1917.77
Robert Hannigan notes that the portrayal of the president as one driven by “disinterested altruism” and “an unwavering commitment to principle . . . first came broadly to be accepted in popular culture during his presidency. Perhaps this explains why it has been so easy for people to repeat it ever since.” Hannigan takes issue with this self-serving view, arguing that “it should never have gained the kind of authority it has, above all because its origins lay precisely in how the president advertised himself”:
Too many scholars have also failed to explore the meaning of the terms and concepts Wilson employed in his writings and speeches. Wilson’s rhetoric begs to be compared with his practice. Likewise, historians and biographers have no justification for saying that he was committed, for instance, to peace – which he most definitely thought he was – without exploring what Wilson implicitly meant by that. The same is true of his commitments to democracy and self-determination. 78
There are, in fact, a number of scholars, including Hannigan, who have examined Wilson’s policies in context, exposed the contradictions of his idealistic rhetoric, considered the arguments of his many critics, and contemplated the road not taken, that of remaining at peace. The historical account offered here builds on such works, from John Kenneth Turner’s Shall It Be Again? (1922) to Thomas Fleming’s The Illusion of Victory: America in World War I (2003).79 The main points of the story are as follows:
- Soon after the war began, the Wilson administration unofficially aligned the U.S. with the Allied Powers, providing Great Britain and France with arms, ammunition, food, manufactured goods, and large loans.
- After initially offering to mediate the conflict, President Wilson took no action in this direction and furthermore rejected a number of opportunities to work in concert with neutral nations to promote mediated peace negotiations.
- The administration selectively applied the principle of “neutral trade rights,” tolerating the British blockade that shut off U.S. trade with Germany while threatening war if Germany reciprocated, not merely against U.S. merchant ships (attacks were rare), but against British and French merchant and passenger ships.
- Between September 1915 and March 1916, Wilson’s personal envoy, Edward House, engaged in secret negotiations with British Foreign Affairs Secretary Edward Grey to bring the U.S. into the war under the false pretense of holding a peace conference. Although the plan was never put into effect, it was approved by President Wilson, indicating his willingness to go to war.
- The Wilson administration’s furtive movements toward war were reinforced by the growing U.S. economic stake in an Allied victory, including the repayment of billions of dollars in loans.
- Once Wilson was re-elected in November 1916, having claimed credit for keeping the U.S. out of war, he refused to undertake measures to actually keep the nation out of war. He did not prevent or even warn U.S. passengers traveling on belligerent ships in war zones, knowing that the loss of American lives would arouse the American war spirit.
- Germany’s turn to unrestricted submarine warfare on February 1, 1917, and the revelation of the Zimmerman note one month later did, in fact, arouse the American war spirit. Wilson presented the war option as if it were the only honorable alternative.
- Once war was declared, the Wilson administration created an official propaganda agency to drown out contrary views; and enacted repressive laws to silence citizens who continued to advocate for peace.
One reason for the Wilson administration’s bias toward Great Britain was that both President Wilson and his primary foreign policy adviser, Edward House, had family and cultural ties there. Wilson’s mother and House’s father were born in England. At age sixteen, young “Tommy” Woodrow Wilson hung a portrait of British Prime Minister William Gladstone over his desk and announced that he, too, would become a statesman.81 Wilson regarded Great Britain as a natural ally of the U.S. in international relations, notwithstanding economic competition. As president of Princeton University in 1904, he declared, “The Anglo-Saxon people have undertaken to reconstruct the affairs of the world, and it would be a shame upon them to withdraw their hand.”82
Grey’s long experience in diplomacy and foreign affairs stood in sharp contrast to that of President Wilson and his key advisers, including Walter Hines Page, a former editor who was appointed ambassador to Britain, and especially Edward House, a political consultant with whom Grey kept in constant contact. According to the historian H. W. Brands, Wilson’s “training for the presidency, such as it was, lay almost entirely on the domestic side of American politics. As an academic at Princeton and elsewhere, he had studied American government, with an emphasis on the operations of Congress. His only experience in public office was a two-year stint as governor of New Jersey. In his fifty-six years of life he hadn’t traveled much, nor was he fluent in foreign languages. Indeed, he had showed scant interest in the world beyond American borders. As a result, he was abysmally prepared to assume the responsibilities of American diplomacy.” On the eve of his inauguration in March 1913, Wilson commented, “It would be the irony of fate if my administration had to deal chiefly with foreign affairs.” 84
House had no diplomatic training or governmental experience whatsoever before being assigned by Wilson to negotiate the most important foreign policy issues of the day with the most important nations of the world. Heir to his father’s commercial empire that included mercantile and banking interests, House grew up in Texas and became a political consultant to Texas governors. He was given the honorary title of “colonel” by Texas Governor James “Big Jim” Hogg after helping the latter win an election. House adopted the title as his own despite having no military experience.
In late fall 1914, Wilson’s second most trusted adviser, Joseph Tumulty, recorded a conversation in which he and Wilson had discussed a letter from Ambassador Page reporting on Page’s discussion with Sir Grey. Page had criticized the British blockade, to which Grey had responded, “America must remember that we are fighting her fight, as well as our own, to save the civilization of the world. You dare not press us too far.” According to Tumulty:
Turning to me, the President said: “He was right. England is fighting our fight and you may well understand that I shall not, in the present state of the world’s affairs, place obstacles in her way. . . . No matter what may happen to me personally in the next election, I will not take any action to embarrass England when she is fighting for her life and the life of the world. Let those who clamor for radical action against England understand this!”88
President Wilson not only followed the lead of Great Britain but also adopted much of the war rhetoric emanating from the British Isles, including the idea of saving civilization from German militarism. The British, for their part, cultivated American public opinion like a well-tended English garden. The British War Propaganda Board, established in secret at Wellington House in September 1914, compiled a list of 260,000 Americans to receive information from influential sources. With a staff of fifty, Wellington House commissioned books and pamphlets for mass distribution in Britain and the U.S.
Adding to Germany’s public relations problem was sabotage within the United States. The most sensational undercover action took place on July 30, 1916, when German agents detonated more than one million pounds of ammunition sitting on the dock of Black Tom Island, New Jersey. The blast killed five people and sent shock waves that shattered windows in lower Manhattan. The island was the shipping point for 3/4 of ammunition bound for Britain and France.92
The administration turned aside other opportunities to pursue mediation in the ensuing years. On February 8, 1915, Senator Robert La Follette introduced a resolution calling for a conference of neutral nations to offer joint mediation to the belligerents. The administration showed no interest.95 On August 30, 1916, a delegation of peace activists visited Wilson to urge his support for the newly formed Neutral Conference for Continuous Mediation. The president politely refused to endorse the effort. The idea that the U.S. was suddenly thrust into war by a swirl of events does not consider the fact that the administration failed to pursue other available alternatives. As Robert Tucker explains:
However modest the prospects of bringing the war to an early end through mediation, they presupposed a course that Wilson did not take. The course he did take was one almost perfectly fashioned for American’s intervention in the war. By acquiescing in fact in the Allied blockade and by opposing the only active response the Central powers could have made to the blockade, Wilson abandoned the impartiality required of a neutral. Once he had done so, there was but one possible outcome: war with Germany.96
The historian Manfred Berg, interpreting Tucker, adds: “Wilson should have made it clear to both the Allies and the Germans in the early phase of the war that he was determined to defend neutral rights against all infractions. Had he insisted on keeping American trade with Germany open, the Germans would have had no excuses for waging unrestricted warfare and might have been more receptive to American mediation.”97
Pseudo neutrality and secret intrigues
As the U.S. arms trade took off, a number of citizen groups and legislators attempted stop it in the interest of true neutrality. In December 1914, Congressional bills were introduced designed to empower the president to prohibit munitions exports. President Wilson opposed the legislation, in part because he wanted to support the Allies and in part because he “was not about to risk much-needed economy recovery,” according to Justus Doenecke.98 Among the organizations backing the ban were the American Neutrality League, the American Humanity League, the Friends of Peace, the League of American Women for Strict Neutrality, and a number of German-American associations. They gathered some one million signatures on a petition and organized a lobby campaign that flooded members of Congress with letters and telegrams. They argued that arms exports undermined the spirit of U.S. neutrality and America’s potential role as a neutral mediator. They pointed out that the U.S. had recently embargoed weapon shipments to warring factions in the Mexican revolution and urged Wilson to follow suit in the European war.
At the very outset of the Great War, Great Britain instituted a blockade of the Central Powers that sought to cut off neutral trade. Its purpose was not only to block war supplies but also to “starve the enemy,” according to Doenecke. This was carried out in part by the mining of German harbors and in part by British warships patrolling the area. Neutral vessels were directed to British control stations, where they might linger for months. “If British authorities judged the goods contraband [war materials], they were subject to confiscation. If they were not so judged, they could still be snatched, though in this case Britain would pay for the cargo.”102
For the first six months of the war, German warships and U-boats conformed to international maritime rules, capturing or destroying only merchant ships carrying contraband. According to these 19th century rules, warships had the right to stop and search any nonmilitary vessel. If the vessel was found to be transporting contraband, the commanding officer had the option of either seizing the ship as a prize or sinking it; if the vessel was ordered sunk, passengers and crew had to be safely removed first. Such rules proved difficult for German U-boat commanders, as their submarines were highly vulnerable to gunfire when they surfaced and some Allied merchant ships were armed.108
The German submarine cordon in the waters surrounding the British Isles was not nearly as effective as the British blockade. Germany had only 27 U-boats as of February 1915 and some remained in port. The submarines were small, slow, had limited underwater endurance, and were vulnerable to depth charges below and gunfire above. Yet they still made an impact. Between March 1 and September 30, 1915, German U-boats sank 480 vessels weighing a total of 790,000 tons. Only three of these vessels were American. One was the U.S. steamship, Gulflight, which was torpedoed in error on May 1, 1915, resulting in three deaths – the only American fatalities that occurred before 1917.111 After investigating the incident, the German government apologized on June 1.112
The British, meanwhile, increased their restrictions on neutral trade and communications. In December 1915, the British government began inspecting first-class mail between the U.S. and Europe’s neutral ports. By the end of the month, hundreds of bags of U.S. mail had been seized. In July 1916, London released a “blacklist” of 85 U.S. and 350 Latin American firms suspected of trading with the Central Powers. British citizens and companies were prohibited from having any dealings or even communication with the alleged offenders. Both Congress and the White House protested these actions. In September, Congress gave the president the power to retaliate against British trade, but Wilson was reluctant to use this authority despite being “at about the end of my patience” with Britain, as he told House earlier.114 British assaults on U.S. “neutral trade rights” continued. According to Justus Doenecke:
Throughout 1916 other British actions angered Americans. Britain banned the export of hospital supplies to the Central Powers. It prevented a group of German Americans, led by former Harvard professor Edmund Von Mach, from shipping canned milk to German children. On February 18, officers from the British cruiser Laurentic boarded the American passenger ship China close to the entrance of the Yangtse River, forcibly removed thirty-eight subjects of the Central Powers, and detained them as prisoners.115
The British government was nevertheless unable to halt all neutral trade with its enemies. Goods flowed into Scandinavian countries that were transported to Germany and Austria-Hungary and sold for hefty profits. Rear Admiral Consett, the British naval attaché in Scandinavia, was upset to see not only foodstuffs transported but also vital goods such as coal, oil, and metals used for making weapons. He admonished the British government to put a stop to it, believing that the more Germans suffered and starved on the home front, the quicker the war would end.116
Secretary of State Bryan foresaw a crisis. In a letter to Wilson on April 23, he took note of the fact that the president had not taken “any definite steps toward preventing American citizens from embarking upon armed merchants ships,” implying that he should. The administration’s current policies, he warned, were “likely to bring on a crisis.”119
The day after the disaster, U.S. ambassador to Britain Walter Hines Page cabled Washington that Britain’s senior officials were refraining from public comment but privately saying that the U.S. must declare war against Germany or lose the respect of the civilized world. Agreeing with this assessment, Page added, with Wilson in mind, if Washington failed to forcefully respond, “the United States will have no voice or influence in settling the war or in what follows for a long time to come.” Wilson’s top adviser Edward House agreed with Page, writing to Wilson on May 19 that the United States was now “bound up more or less in [the Allies’] success, and I do not think we should do anything that can possibly be avoided to alienate the good feeling that they now have for us. If we lose their goodwill we will not be able to figure at all in peace negotiations.”121
For the U.S. to remain at peace, Bryan believed that the administration must embrace “the true spirit of neutrality.” In the aftermath of the Lusitania crisis, unlike other administration officials, he expressed outrage that Great Britain was using the presence of American passengers to protect its ammunition-laden ships. He declared the practice akin to “putting women and children in the front of an army.” He insisted that the administration must warn Americans against traveling on belligerent ships. Otherwise there would be more deaths, more inflamed public opinion, and more likelihood of war. Wilson rejected the suggestion, saying it deflected from German responsibility and weakened Washington’s protest. Wilson issued a series of warning notes to Berlin, the second of which demanded that Germany end its German submarine warfare without any compensating action on the part of Great Britain. Bryan resigned in protest on June 9, 1915.122
Bryan’s replacement, Robert Lansing, joined House and Page in pushing the U.S. toward war with Germany. Soon after his appointment, on July 11, 1915, Lansing wrote in a private memo that “Germany must not be permitted to win this war [or even] to break even, though to prevent it this country is forced to take an active part. . . . American public opinion must be prepared for the time, which may come, when we cast aside our neutrality and become one of the champions of democracy.124
On March 24, 1916, the French steamer, Sussex, was damaged by a torpedo in the English Channel, resulting in 80 casualties, including two Americans wounded. The U.S. protested once again, and the German government responded by issuing the Sussex pledge on May 4, agreeing to ensure the safety of passengers and crew of any boats sunk. The pledge also contained a caveat that Germany reserved the right to abandon restrictions if the United States did not compel Britain to end its blockade in conformity with international law. The Sussex pledge, in other words, was a two-part agreement. The U.S. never carried out its part of the bargain.
House wrote in his diary on October 14, “I was pleased to find the President cordially acquiescing in my views regarding intervention in Europe. And that it was only a question as to when and how it should be done. I now have the matter in my own hands and it will probably be left to my judgment as to when and how to act.”128 According to Robert Tucker:
House viewed his plan primarily as a way to get into the war. He had considered America’s intervention on the Allied side as inevitable since the sinking of the Lusitania. Although quite prepared to intervene if necessary over the issue of the submarine, House had come to favor intervention for reasons he believed would better justify to the American people the assumption of a new role for the nation in the postwar world. It foreshadowed intervention from, in House’s words, “the highest human motives.”129
Before leaving to confer with leaders in London, Paris, and Berlin, House asked Wilson “what to say in London and what to say in Berlin and how far I shall go.” The president replied in a letter on December 24 that House knew his thinking well and the only stipulation was that House not discuss territorial questions or reparations. House did, in fact, discuss territorial issues in London and Paris, but not in Berlin. The Allies had no intention of diluting their territorial aims in the war, which included the return of the Alsace-Lorraine region to France, the transfer of parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire to Italy, and the acquisition of parts of the Ottoman Empire by Russia, Britain, and France, but these would not be mentioned in the House-Grey agreement.
In Berlin, House met with Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Arthur Zimmermann, and other dignitaries in late January. There he learned that the German Navy was strongly urging unrestricted undersea warfare against Britain. House estimated that this policy shift would likely take place. He thought that another crisis like the sinking of the Lusitania would surely rouse the American public to war more effectively than his plan, but he continued nonetheless, uncertain as to when German policy might change.
In London, House shared his plan for the first time with Ambassador Page on February 11, 1916. Notwithstanding their mutual desire to see the U.S. enter the war, Page was appalled. The “fatal moral weakness of House’s plan,” Page wrote in his diary, “is that we should plunge into the war, not on the merits of the cause, but by a carefully sprung trick.” House did not argue with Page but simply excluded him from future communications. On February 22, House and Grey drew up a memorandum, written by Grey, to present to the British War Cabinet that summarized the commitment of the United States:
President Wilson was ready, on hearing from France and England that the moment was opportune, to propose that a conference should be summoned to put an end to the war. Should the Allies accept this proposal, and should Germany refuse it, the United States would [probably] enter the war against Germany.131
President Wilson approved the House-Grey memorandum with the “probably” insertion. House wrote to Grey and told him that the White House awaited the call from the Allies to initiate the process. The call never came, however. British and French leaders viewed it as a back-up plan, should they fall short of victory on the battlefield. As Tucker writes, “Grey had concluded the agreement with House largely because House had insisted. He looked upon it as an insurance policy of sorts, to be resorted to in the event the war went badly.” British leaders also lacked confidence in Wilson’s leadership; many resented his attempts to commandeer the peace process; and some thought it might be a “stunt for the president’s reelection,” designed for domestic consumption to confirm his image as a peacemaker.132 In any case, it was the Allied governments, not the Wilson administration, that kept the House-Grey plan on the back burner.
On the path to war
“From the rear platform of his train,” writes the historian Patricia O’Toole, “the president assured the inhabitants of Racine [Wisconsin] that he was not acting at the behest of the arms-makers. In Milwaukee, he warned that war might prove impossible to avoid. By the time he reached Iowa City, he was no longer asking audiences to back his defense program, he was voicing his confidence in their support. In Des Moines he added a new thought, a dream of a day when the world’s governments would work together, through an association of nations, to guarantee the world’s peace.” More than 100,000 citizens heard the president speak on this tour. He advocated preparedness while still proclaiming his earnest desire for peace.134
On February 17, 1916, Rep. Jefferson McLemore, a freshman Democrat from Texas, introduced legislation requesting that the president warn citizens not to travel on armed vessels. In the Senate, Thomas P. Gore, a populist from Oklahoma, introduced a stronger bill that would have denied a passport to any American who wanted to book passage on a belligerent ship or on any neutral vessel carrying ammunition. President Wilson lobbied hard against these bills, falsely reassuring Senator William J. Stone, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that “I shall do everything in my power to keep the United States out of war.”136 On February 24, Senator Stone expressed his anxiety over this situation in a letter to the president:
As much and deeply as I would hate to radically disagree with you, I find it difficult from my sense of duty and responsibility to consent to plunge the nation into the vortex of this world war because of the unreasonable obstinacy of any of the Powers, upon the one hand, or, on the other hand, of foolhardiness, amounting to a sort of moral treason against the Republic, of our people recklessly risking their lives on armed belligerent ships. I cannot escape the conviction that such would be so monstrous as to be indefensible.
To Stone, it was unbelievable that the president would risk drawing the whole nation into war for the sake of a handful of citizens wanting to travel to England or France. Such travel was neither essential nor a right. Wilson responded to the senator’s letter that same day, stating that “if the clear rights of American citizens should ever unhappily be abridged or denied by any such action we should, it seems to me, have in honor no choice as to what our course should be. For my part, I cannot consent to any abridgment of the rights of American citizens in any respect.” Rather than acknowledge the incipient danger of war, the president focused on the presumed threat to American “rights,” adding that once a single right is compromised, others “would certainly follow, and the whole fine fabric of international law might crumble under our hands piece by piece.” 137
Wilson ran on a party platform in 1916 that commended him as one “who has preserved the vital interests of our Government and its citizens, and kept us out of war.” Publicists turned this into a campaign slogan, “He Kept Us Out of War.” Wilson thus ran for re-election favoring both peace and preparedness, straddling the war issue in order to appeal to different constituencies. He would need all of their votes in the upcoming election, as he had won the last election with only 42 percent of the popular vote. Though Hughes did not advocate war, his number one campaigner, former president Theodore Roosevelt, pushed military preparedness to the brink of war, labeling Wilson’s peace slogan “the phrase of a coward.”140
Wilson’s calculated ambivalence was on display on June 14, 1916. Anointed “Flag Day,” Wilson led a parade of 60,000 down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington in support of preparedness. In St. Louis, meanwhile, the Democratic National Convention opened with a speech by Martin H. Glynn, former governor of New York, lauding Wilson as a wise peacemaker. “Neutrality may not satisfy the fire-eater or the swashbuckler,” he proclaimed, referring to Roosevelt. “But it does satisfy those who worship at the altar of the God of Peace, and the mothers, fathers, and wives of the land.” The crowd roared its approval and demanded that Gwynn repeat the sentence. He did so, adding that war “would mean the reversal of our traditional policy of government.”141
Wilson kept his war plans under wraps during the election campaign. He met with peace leaders on a number of occasions and assured them of his sincere interest in their peace strategies. “He always took care to praise their motives while turning aside their appeals,” writes the historian Michael Kazin. On May 8, 1916, “Wilson gave a masterly performance” when meeting with a dozen leaders of the American Union Against Militarism (AUAM). Wilson offered that “reasonable preparedness” was not the same as militarism and that he had “never dreamed for a moment that America” would embrace “any militaristic spirit.” When Lillian Wald commented that “there is an obvious attempt to stampede the country” into militarism, Wilson replied, “Yes, but it’s not working,” and declared his support for an “international arrangement” to secure the peace. Only Rabbi Stephen Wise seemed unmoved by the President’s arguments. “Are we to enter the armament gamble in which every nation loses and hell alone is victorious?” Wise asked the president. According to Kazin, “Most AUAM leaders came away feeling that the man in the White House might yet be won over to their point of view.”142 Wald came out of the meeting saying, “we know at heart he is an anti-militarist.”
Neither the Allied Powers nor Central Powers were impressed with Wilson’s diplomatic overture. The German government rightly viewed the U.S. as an ally of Britain and France, while the British and French governments had no intention of allowing Wilson to impose what David Lloyd George called “an inconclusive peace.” The prime minister, speaking at the House of Commons, explained that the British had already made their war aims clear: German evacuation from occupied territories, reparation payments to the Allies, and a guarantee that acts of aggression would not be repeated. In Paris, Premier Georges Clemenceau was incensed that Wilson had lumped all the belligerent nations together, as if there were no moral distinction between the Allies and the Central powers.147
In Berlin, the Allies’ rebuff of the German peace initiative strengthened the hand of military hardliners. Judging that the German war effort could not be sustained much longer, due in large part to a shortage of food on the home front, Berlin announced that unrestricted submarine warfare would commence on February 1, 1917, with the caveat that passenger ships would be allowed weekly travel to the port of Falmouth, England. Otherwise, any ship of any nationality sailing in or out of Allied ports would be sunk without warning.151 This shift in policy was widely supported in Germany, by all accounts, as the home front was suffering from conditions of famine, a situation attributed to the Allied blockade.
As the U.S. moved closer to war, German Foreign Affairs Secretary Arthur Zimmerman, newly promoted from Undersecretary in November 1916, made a diplomatic blunder that enraged many Americans. On January 19, 1917, he sent a coded telegram to Germany’s minister in Mexico: “We shall endeavor to keep the United States of America neutral,” the cable began, but if the U.S. declared war on Germany, then Mexico should be encouraged to ally with Germany. The minister was instructed to offer as incentives “generous financial support” and the possibility of regaining “the lost territory in New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona.” The latter scheme was far-fetched, to say the least. British intelligence decoded this telegram and shared with the Wilson administration on February 24. The administration authorized its release on March 1. It was immediately blazoned in newspaper headlines across the United States.154
Congressional debate on war
Senator George Norris, Republican of Nebraska, assailed Wilson for not telling the whole truth about Germany’s actions. He chided the president for not protesting the British blockade. Why, he asked, had the U.S. kept its ships out of the war zone created by England but refused to keep its ships out of the war zone created by Germany? Norris also pointed out economic factors pushing the U.S. into war:
We have loaned many hundreds of millions of dollars to the Allies in this controversy. . . . The enormous profits of munition manufacturers, stockbrokers, and bond dealers must be still further increased by our entrance into the war. This has brought us to the present moment, when Congress, urged by the President and backed by the artificial sentiment, is about to declare war and engulf our country in the greatest holocaust that the world has ever known.157
Pro-war members of Congress pushed aside these arguments in favor of righteous indignation at Germany. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge declared that any policy short of war amounted to “national degeneracy” and “cowardice.” His son-in-law, Augustus Gardner, thundered, “Too long have we suffered other nations to bear our burden in this war for liberty. Now we must descend from the seat of rest into the blood and dust.” With patriotic passion, Congress overwhelmingly approved Wilson’s war resolution by votes of 82-6 in the Senate and 373-50 in the House. Jeanette Rankin, Republican of Montana and the first woman elected to Congress, voted “no,” saying “I want to stand by my country – but I cannot vote for war.”159
Economic interests and the “Merchants of Death”
Just days before the war broke out in Europe, U.S. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan warned President Wilson against letting “powerful financial interests [get] involved in the war.” On August 15, 1914, Bryan ordered U.S. bankers not to fund any of the combatants, stating that “loans by American bankers to any foreign nation which is at war” betray “the true spirit of neutrality.” Five days earlier, he had written, “Money is the worst of contrabands – it commands everything else.” During the debate over the Hitchcock bill to place an embargo on arms sales to European belligerents, which failed, Senator La Follette spoke for many peace progressives in finding but one purpose to the munitions trade: “to sacrifice human life for private gain.”162
André Tardieu, the French High Commissioner in the U.S., stated that from the time “loans from the allies obtained from New York banks swept the gold of Europe into American coffers, whether desired or not, the victory of the Allies became essential to the United States.”168 Between August, 1914 and February 1917, more than $10.5 billion worth of goods were shipped from the United States, with Britain, France and Russia buying 40 percent of their war material from the U.S. Shipyards were running at capacity, as were machine tool manufacturers. Munitions exports increased to $1.29 billion, up from $40 million in 1915.169 London even began stationing purchasing missions in America, their staffs numbering at least 1,600, with J. P. Morgan serving as an intermediary. William McAdoo, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, wrote Wilson that “high prices for food products have brought great prosperity to the farmers, while the purchases of war munitions have stimulated industry and have set factories going to full capacity.”170 American munitions exports alone jumped from “approximately $10,000,000 on June 30, 1914, to $189,000,000 on June 30, 1915, to $715,000,000 on June 30, 1916,” according to a 1936 Congressional report.171
At least 21,000 new American millionaires were created as a result of the war. The stock of DuPont, a major manufacturer of gunpowder, went up from $20 to $1,000 per share, and J. P. Morgan claimed to have made more money in two years than the elder Morgan made in all his life.174 His company had direct investment in at least 15 prime military contractors (including General Electric, International Harvester Company, United States Steel, and Midvale Steel and Ordinance) and many more subcontractors, and purchased three-year, five percent gold notes issued by Remington Arms Union Metallic Cartridge Company taking almost $1 million apiece. The Guggenheims reaped a fortune after Stettinius’s Export Department bought up three-quarters of all electrolyte copper mined in the United States for the British (J. P. Morgan had helped the Guggenheims organize Kennecott Copper as a public company). Baldwin locomotives, a Morgan subsidiary, saw a 500 percent increase in profits, while the resources of fifty national banks in New York City increased by $98 million.175
The greatest stock gambler of them all, J. P. Morgan, was a key figure driving support for intervention as a means of securing repayment of his loans, some of which had been secured by selling public liberty bonds. Morgan had always held animus toward Germans, which he had inherited from his father. The company fortunes had been down because of involvement with the $400 million collapse of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad’s financial structure.184 Thomas W. Lamont, who acted as an official representative of the Treasury department at the Paris Peace conference, acknowledged that the Morgan Company “had never for a moment been neutral. We didn’t know how to be. From the very start we did everything we could to contribute to the cause of the Allies.” His colleague, Henry P. Davison, said in Paris in April 1919 that “some of us in America realized that this was our war from the very start.”185
During the 1930s, publicity regarding the role of munitions makers in the war was aroused by the publication of exposés such as Seymour Waldman’s Death and Profits (1932), a Book-of-the Month club selection that portrayed a “world-wide munitions racket,” and Merchants of Death (1934), by H.C. Englebrecht and F.C. Hanighen. The latter book, a best seller, detailed every facet of armament manufacturing while blaming managers in war industries for ignoring the social consequences of their work. Though the authors of both works stopped short of alleging a ruthless conspiracy to promote war for economic benefit, their studies painted a dark picture of the leaders who were in charge of the munitions industry during World War I.
Over a period of eighteen months, the Nye Committee held 93 hearings and questioned over 200 witnesses, including banker J. P. Morgan, Jr., and chemical manufacturer Pierre du Pont. Based on these hearings the Nye Committee charged that private armament interests worked contrary to arms embargoes and treaties, sold weapons to both sides in World War I, stimulated arms races between friendly nations, and benefited from excess profits with government blessings.
That investment, Nye and his colleagues concluded, was protected and partially paid off when the United States entered the First World War and took up the Allies’ financial burden. In carrying out its responsibilities, J. P. Morgan and Company dealt regularly with political and economic elites on both sides of the Atlantic, including the British prime minister and the American president. The Nye committee ultimately confirmed many allegations about special interests and their role in dictating government policy and compromising U.S. democracy. Although the committee found little evidence of an outright conspiracy, its disclosures aroused great public interest and added to the public’s distrust for war.189
Unwrapping Wilson’s rhetorical packaging, the essential mission was to make the United States a great global power equal to or greater than European powers; and not just a great power, but a great moral power, one that would presumably wield its influence and sword for protection and justice. Wilson believed that the U.S. was ready to shoulder the responsibility of global leadership.192 The endgame became clear in the aftermath of the Great War. Speaking to the Senate in July 1919, Wilson remarked:
There can be no question of our ceasing to be a world power. The only question is whether we can refuse the moral leadership that is offered to us, whether we shall accept or reject the confidence of the world. . . . The stage is set, the destiny disclosed. It has come about by no plan of our conceiving, but by the hand of God who led us into this way. We cannot turn back. We can only go forward, with lifted eyes and freshened spirit, to follow the vision. It was of this that we dreamed at our birth. America shall in truth show the way. The light streams upon the path ahead, and nowhere else.193
The rationales needed to justify this quest for global power and influence were still under construction when the Wilson administration contemplated entering the war in 1917. At a cabinet meeting on March 20, 1917, Secretary of State Robert Lansing suggested the theme of “Democracy versus Autocracy.” To be sure, it was not intended as a plan of action but rather as a propagandistic justification for U.S. entry into the war. According to Robert Hannigan:
. . . what probably most appealed to Wilson at this time was the potential Lansing’s formulation offered for mobilizing Americans behind the war. The president was worried that much of the U.S. public continued to lack enthusiasm for military involvement and would not rally to the idea that Germany’s “submarine blockade” merited that response. The idea of a final, titanic struggle between “democracy” and “autocracy,” meanwhile, might both heighten the public’s sense that America was itself in jeopardy and counter the criticisms he was likely to face. . . . A war for “democracy” might also advance Wilson’s longer-term goals more effectively. The president had lately come to view belligerency as his ticket to participation in the peace conference . . . The country therefore needed to be prepared for a mission that went beyond the question of how Germany from this time forward would, or would not, use its U-boats.194
The idea of justifying U.S. entry into the war in the name of extending democracy across the globe was reinforced by the Kerensky Revolution in Russia, which set up a prototype democratic state in place of the old Czarist regime. Although the U.S. had nothing to do with the overthrow, the event nonetheless suggested that democratic governance was the wave of the future. With Great Britain, France, and Russia all having democratic governments, Imperial Germany could be condemned not only for aggression and militarism, but also for authoritarianism. In order to maintain the ideological duality, the Wilson administration had to ignore the fact that Germany had an elected legislative national body, the Reichstag, that shared power with the Kaiser.
Once in the war, the administration’s propaganda agency, the Committee on Public Information, went to work promoting the theme of “Democracy versus Autocracy” far and wide. Lansing wrote a pamphlet for the agency titled, “America’s Future at Stake,” in which he argued, like O’Sullivan, that democracies are inherently peaceful while autocracies are inherently warlike:
I do not know in the annals of history an instance where a people, with truly democratic institutions, permitted their government to wage a war of aggression, a war of conquest. Faithful to their treaties, sympathetic with others seeking self-development, real democracies, whether monarchial or republican in their forms of government, desire peace with their neighbors and with all mankind.
Were every people on earth able to express their will, there would be no wars of aggression, and, if there were no wars of aggression, then there would be no wars, and lasting peace would come to this earth. The only way that a people can express their will is through democratic institutions. Therefore, when the world is made safe for democracy, when that great principle prevails, universal peace will be an accomplished fact.197
The theme of “Democracy versus Autocracy” captured the public imagination. On October 8, 1917, Wilson proclaimed that the United States was “fighting now for the same ideals of democracy and freedom that have always actuated the nation.”198 Except that the U.S. was not fighting for national independence, nor for control of North America, but to expand U.S. power and influence in the world. It was the beginning of a new “manifest destiny” for the United States. U.S. leaders would henceforth justify wars and interventions, and demand the right to determine the governments and policies of other nations in the name of advancing freedom and democracy. The American rhetorical crusade against autocratic and despotic regimes, the infidels of the modern era, would continue in various guises into the 21st century, assuring American citizens that their government was doing good in the world.199
Granted that politics is rife with hypocrisy, and not just in Washington, Wilson seemed especially talented in explaining away contradictions. When confronted on the segregation issue by Oswald Garrison Villard in 1913, for example, Wilson explained that segregation ultimately benefited African Americans. “I sincerely believe it to be in their interest . . . . we are rendering them more safe in their possession of office and less likely to be discriminated against.”202 Wilson offered another contorted rationale in May 1917 when signing the Selective Service Act, which forcibly conscripted young men into the army. He disingenuously clothed the new law in the language of voluntarism:
It is a new thing in our history and a landmark in our progress. It is a new manner of accepting and vitalizing our duty to give ourselves with thoughtful devotion to the common purpose of us all. It is in no sense a conscription of the unwilling. It is, rather, selection from a Nation which has volunteered in mass.203
At times, Wilson found it convenient to simply lie; for example, assuring Senator William Stone, “I shall do everything in my power to keep the United States out of war,” while at the same time secretly conniving with the Allies to “probably” enter the war. In another case, Wilson publicly proclaimed in the first point of his famous “Fourteen Points” speech on January 8, 1918, that “diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view”; yet at that very time, he was colluding with the British and French to overturn the Russian Revolution. He also promised to respect Russian self-determination, saying, “Whether their present leaders believe it or not, it is our heartfelt desire and hope that some way may be opened whereby we may be privileged to assist the people of Russia to attain their utmost hope of liberty and ordered peace.”204 In practice, Wilson joined Britain and France in sending troops to abet the overthrow the new Bolshevik government.
Wilson also deceived peace advocates, leading them to believe that he was with them in spirit. After gaining most of their votes in the 1916 election with a campaign slogan, “He Kept Us Out of War,” Wilson moved furtively toward entry into the war. Once involved, Wilson turned against peace advocates, silencing and imprisoning them. “In a Flag Day speech in June ,” writes David Patterson, “he lumped the entire peace movement with German traitors and schemers, and he branded pacifists and antimilitarists as ‘the agents or dupes of the Imperial German Government.’”205 The next day, Wilson signed the Espionage Act into law. Henceforth, as the historian David Kennedy writes, “to criticize the course of the war, or to question American or Allied peace aims, was to risk outright prosecution for treason.”206
Another subterfuge was the president’s advocacy of “peace without victory” in his address to the Senate on January 22, 1917. The speech was designed in part to encourage Germany to give up based on the promise a lenient peace settlement. After the U.S. entered the war on April 6, Wilson abruptly discarded the “peace without victory” rationale like a worn-out campaign promise after an election. Theodore Roosevelt wrote in frustration, “What is perfectly impossible, what represents enormous hypocrisy, is to say that we have gone to war to make the world safe for democracy, in April, when sixty days previously we had been announcing that we wished a ‘peace without victory,’ and had no concern with the ‘causes or objects’ of the war.”207 In fact, Wilson was concerned with the objects of war, but his “peace without victory” rhetoric was no longer useful in pursuit of those aims. As Robert Hannigan writes:
From the spring of 1917 onward “Peace without Victory” was no longer seen as satisfactory. The administration wanted to see changes made in the structure of the German government. It also wanted to see Berlin thwarted from becoming a more formidable world power via formal or informal expansion in Europe and to the southeast. In the face of mounting exhaustion and international sentiment eager to see the conflict end, Wilson ironically became the most important voice pushing to keep it going.208
Once engaged in war, Wilson abandoned all pretense of seeking a peace agreement short of victory. “He brushed aside various peace feelers,” writes David Patterson, and “rejected Pope Benedict XV’s mediation appeal in August 1917, which called for the evacuation of occupied lands, no indemnities, disarmament, and territorial boundaries based as much as possible on the principle of self-determination. Wilson would not seriously consider any peace proposal until Germany had been defeated and the German militarists had been driven from power.” British ambassador Cecil Spring Rice wryly pointed out that the president was doing “his utmost to kindle a warlike spirit throughout [the] states and to combat pacifists.”209 Indeed, Wilson employed his righteous idealism to beatify war, turning the slaughter into a crusade for freedom, democracy, “the rights of mankind,” and even peace, rendering mute traditional American antipathy toward involvement in European wars. He twisted and monopolized the peace ideal to serve his martial ends.
Part of Wilson’s dubious legacy as a peacemaker centers on his advocacy of the League of Nations. The fact that conservatives such as Taft, nationalists such as Roosevelt, and leaders of Imperial Britain supported the League should indicate that power motives were not absent. The League was designed to keep the peace, to be sure, but Wilson also sought to extend U.S. influence through it. Robert Hannigan explains:
Confronted by domestic American concern about the pitfalls of overseas involvement, the League was the president’s principal way of trying to make U.S. power a factor in eastern hemisphere affairs. Its objectives were to put constraints on the activity of rivals that might threaten the international order that Washington desired and simultaneously to bring as many of the other major powers as possible into a collective effort to oversee and “reform” the “backward regions” of that part of the globe.214
Wilson embraced the idea of the league only after it had achieved a fair amount of popularity in the U.S., due in large part to the League to Enforce Peace, led by Taft, and to the Woman’s Peace Party, which emphasized the league’s conflict resolution aspects. The British, in any case, laid much of the groundwork for the League of Nations. On January 5, 1918, Prime Minister Lloyd George called for the “creation of some international organization to limit the burden of armaments and diminish the probability of war.” Soon after, British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour appointed a Committee on the League of Nations to study the feasibility of creating such an institution. A draft outline in March suggested the establishment of a “Conference of Allied States” whose members would agree to submit their disputes to arbitration and refrain from war. In December 1918, Lloyd George made a pledge to the British people to promote the establishment of the league at the upcoming Versailles peace conference. Voters, he said, would punish him “sooner rather than later” if he returned from Paris empty-handed.215
Wilson’s misplaced legacy as a peacemaker also arises from his “Fourteen Points” speech in January 1918, which seemed to promote a lenient peace settlement with Germany along the lines of his “peace without victory” speech one year earlier. Wilson made a magnanimous statement in the prologue, declaring, “We have no jealousy of German greatness, and there is nothing in this program that impairs it.” Yet not one of his fourteen points indicated any merciful intent or promised to prevent punitive measures after the war. To do so would have conflicted with Allied war aims as well as his own desire to break the back of German militarism.216 On territorial issues, Wilson’s points adhered closely to those of British Prime Minister Lloyd George who delivered a speech on “British War Aims” three days earlier. Both leaders sought to carve up the Central Powers after victory: Austria-Hungary would be dismantled completely; the Ottoman Empire, nearly so; and Germany would surrender the Alsace-Lorrain region in the west and a Polish corridor in the east. Lloyd George, no less than Wilson, ended his address by highlighting his desire for peace:
If, then, we are asked what we are fighting for, we reply as we have often replied: we are fighting for a just and lasting peace, and we believe that before permanent peace can be hoped for three conditions must be fulfilled; firstly, the sanctity of treaties must be established; secondly, a territorial settlement must be secured, based on the right of self-determination or the consent of the governed, and, lastly, we must seek by the creation of some international organization to limit the burden of armaments and diminish the probability of war.217
When the U.S. declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, the situation in Europe remained at a standstill, although the Allies held one distinct advantage. They had the United States to supply them with arms and food, whereas Germany was experiencing increasing shortages due to the British blockade. Indeed, the winter of 1916-17 is remembered in Germany as the “turnip winter.”
In late April 1917, the French Army suffered an ignominious defeat in northern France, incurring 187,000 casualties. French General Robert-Georges Nivelle had assembled some 1,200,000 men, 5,000 guns, 200 tanks, 47 squadrons of artillery-spotting aircraft, 39 observation balloons, and 8 squadrons of fighter planes for the attack, but the Germans had captured his battle plan and effectively resisted.
The American Expeditionary Forces
To lead the U.S. armed forces in Europe, President Wilson chose General John J. “Blackjack” Pershing, a compatriot of Theodore Roosevelt who had earned his nickname because of his command of black “Buffalo soldiers” with the 10th Cavalry. Pershing looked and acted the part of the disciplined commander though he was still coping emotionally with the loss of his wife and three daughters in a tragic home fire in San Francisco on August 28, 1915.225 He had participated in the army’s final campaign against the Apaches in Arizona (to capture Geronimo), in the Spanish American War in Cuba, and in the occupation of the Philippines, where he helped put down an insurrection led by Moro Muslims. Most recently, he had led a punitive expedition into Mexico to capture the bandit Poncho Villa, which failed. None of these campaigns remotely resembled the Great War battles in Europe. Nor was the U.S. Army prepared for such a war.
To assess the situation in Europe, Pershing and 190 officers and staff members disembarked from New York on May 28, 1917, traveling first to London, where Pershing met with Field Marshal Sir John French and various dignitaries, then to Paris, where Pershing was given a hero’s welcome. In meetings with General Pétain and British Field Marshal Douglas Haig, Pershing learned first-hand of the exhaustion and declining morale in Allied units. The Allied commanders beseeched Pershing to place American troops at their disposal, but Pershing insisted on keeping U.S. troops under U.S. command, partly to assure U.S. credit for any battle victories and partly to ensure that U.S. troops did not serve as replacements for British troops sent elsewhere to advance the British empire.
In the United States, meanwhile, training and mobilization were hampered by a lack of provisions and by contagious diseases running rampant at training camps. Augustus P. Gardner, who gave up his Senate seat for an assignment as a major in the U.S. Army, arrived at Camp Wheeler, Georgia, in October 1917. In a letter to Wilson’s adviser Joseph Tumulty, he complained that 7,000 of the 10,000 men at the camp lacked overcoats and none had any experience sleeping out of doors in tents. Many had come from farms and had not been exposed to measles; hence they succumbed to the disease in droves and some contracted pneumonia as well. Gardner himself died of pneumonia on January 14, 1918. Later that year, an influenza epidemic swept the U.S. and spread to Europe, taking the lives of some 45,000 U.S. soldiers at home and abroad.226
On the Eastern Front, the new Bolshevik government in Russia signed an armistice with Germany on December 15, taking Russia out of the war. Lloyd George rightly expected that tens of thousands of German troops would soon be transferred to the Western Front. On December 2, 1917, he sent President Wilson an urgent plea to accelerate the deployment of U.S. troops in France: “We shall be hardpressed to hold our own and keep Italy standing during 1918. Our manpower is pretty well exhausted. . . . Even half-trained American companies or battalions would fight well if mixed with two or three years’ veterans.”228
Germany was in the odd position of gaining momentum on the battlefield but losing ground at home as deprivation set in. Seeking a quick victory, the German Army launched an all-out offensive on March 21, 1918. Using new weapons to break through barbed wire barriers, the German Army routed French defenders near Champagne, then marched to within forty miles of Paris. Dispensing with all pretense of “peace without victory,” President Wilson declared on April 6 that there can be “but one response possible from us: Force, force to the utmost, force without stint or limit, the righteous and triumphant force which shall make right the law of the world and cast every selfish dominion down in the dust.”229
The U.S. doubled its efforts to ship soldiers to France. General Pershing allowed some U.S. divisions to fight under overall British command and assigned four black U.S. infantry regiments of the 93rd Division to French Army divisions. The grateful French treated the African American soldiers with respect, having already fought alongside black French colonial troops from Senegal. The African American regiments saw more military action than any other AEF unit. The 369th Infantry, nicknamed the “Harlem Hellfighters,” also produced two of the first American “war heroes,” Needham Roberts and William Henry Johnson. While on guard duty on May 14, 1918, the two soldiers fought off a 24-man German patrol, suffering severe wounds. The French awarded both men the Croix de Guerre.230
American troops began arriving in force in the spring and summer of 1918: 245,000 men in May, 278,000 in June, and 306,000 in July. The American buildup allowed the Allies to move more of their reserves to the front. AEF divisions took the initiative in the Battle of Belleau Wood in June, and in the Battle of Château-Thierry in July, which some later American accounts described as the turning point in the war.232
There followed the Battle of Aisne-Marne beginning in late July, in which Americans suffered 40,353 casualties in 20 days. According to 38-year old General Douglas MacArthur, the battle “was savage and there was no quarter asked or given. Bitterly, brutally, the action seesawed back and forth… There was neither rest nor mercy.” On August 2, after hearing reports that the enemy had withdrawn, MacArthur, who won seven Silver Stars and a Distinguished Service Cross after being gassed twice, went out to examine the battlefield. He later recalled:
I will never forget that trip. The dead were so thick in spots we tumbled over them. There must have been at least 2,000 of those sprawled bodies. I identified the insignia of six of the best German divisions. The stench was suffocating. Not a tree was standing. The moans and cries of wounded men sounded everywhere.233
Allied forces, meanwhile, launched a renewed assault on German lines in the Flanders region of Belgium, known as the Third Battle of Ypres. By September, the German Army was in retreat but still fighting. Pershing, with nearly 550,000 men under his command and aided by 110,000 French soldiers, undertook a major offensive on September 12 to capture the fortified city of Metz. Known as the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, the AEF encountered surprisingly little resistance and completed its mission in just four days. The stunning victory, however, was due to a planned German evacuation, as intelligence reports later made known. The four-day battle nonetheless featured the most formidable air combat of the war, with nearly 1,500 Allied and U.S aircraft facing 500 German aircraft. The Allied squadrons, organized by U.S. Colonel William (Billy) Mitchell, secured dominance over the area.234
The next and last American offensive proved much more difficult. The Battle of Meuse-Argonne began on September 25 and continued in fits and starts until the armistice on November 11. Coordinated with Allied assaults from Flanders to Verdun, the key to driving the Germans out of the forest was artillery. The AEF fired an estimated four million shells, devastating the land. Historian Edward Lengel wrote, “no single battle in American military history, before or since, even approached the Meuse-Argonne in size and cost…. though within a few years of its end, nobody seemed to realize that it had taken place.” U.S. casualties amounted to 26,777 killed and 95,786 wounded in this one offensive, the last battle of the war.235
The guns of August finally fell silent on November 11, 1918, at 11:00 a.m. The sacrifice of American lives in the Great War has been memorialized in ten cemeteries in France, maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission. On March 4, 1923, President Warren Harding signed legislation that established the commission and made the new agency responsible for the construction of monuments and memorial chapels honoring the American Expeditionary Forces. Of the 116,516 Americans who lost their lives during World War I, 30,973 are interred at overseas American military cemeteries and another 4,456 commemorated as missing in action, lost, or buried at sea.236
The Paris peace conference and Versailles Treaty
It was a long-shot strategy. The U.S. was an Associate Power rather than part of the Allied coalition; Allied leaders had not signed on to the Fourteen Points; and the points themselves were silent on how Germany should be treated after the war. The Allies had suffered a great number of casualties and all three major leaders, Lloyd George of Great Britain, Georges Clemenceau of France, and Vittorio Orlando of Italy, had promised their electorates that Germany would pay for the war.
In Paris, Wilson was greeted as a savior. Some two million people lined the streets on December 16 as Wilson and French President Raymond Poincare rode together in an open carriage, Wilson making sweeping gestures to the crowd with his tall silk hat. Parisians responded with shouts of “Vive Wilson!” and “Vive l’Amérique!” A huge banner saluted “Wilson le Juste.” What moved Parisians was not the Fourteen Points but the fact that American forces had come to the aid of France in her hour of need, preventing defeat at the hands of Germany.
In Germany, meanwhile, Berlin erupted in revolution on the night of January 5, 1919, owing in large part to the continuing Allied blockade that was causing starvation. Leftists led by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg attempted to take over government buildings. The government called on the army to suppress the rebellion. Army units did so with brutal efficiency, using flamethrowers, machine guns, hand grenades, and artillery against their own people. Liebknecht and Luxemburg were killed.239 The militant right, aiding the army, united under the banner of the German Worker’s Party, which was renamed the National Socialist German Workers Party, or Nazis, the following year.
Formal negotiations of the Paris Peace Conference began on January 18, 1919, and lasted for four months before a treaty was presented, or dictated, to Germany. During this time, the Allies, with U.S. support, continued the economic blockade, knowing that German leaders were unlikely to sign the treaty without this leverage. The Wilson administration, to its credit, attempted to persuade the Allies to allow food to go through, but British and French leaders refused.
Wilson’s popularity in Europe proved of little benefit in negotiating with Allied leaders. When Wilson met with Clemenceau, the latter insisted on “just punishments” for Germany. This included heavy reparation payments and the partial dismemberment of the German state. Both Wilson and Lloyd George agreed that Germany must be “punished,” but they feared that, if taken too far, such measures could produce a violent reaction. The British envisioned Germany eventually regaining economic prosperity, although not military power, and becoming a trading partner.
After months of wrangling over the issue of reparation payments, the victors could not agree on a definite amount, so they left the matter to a Reparations Commission for future settlement. As such, notes Robert Hannigan, “Germany would essentially be asked to sign a blank check.”240 In 1921, the Reparations Commission set the amount of money due the Allies at 132 billion gold marks ($33 billion), which covered civilian damages and pensions. Payments were set at $500 million annually, plus 26 per cent of the value of German exports. Perpetual austerity in Germany was assured. To this was added the “war guilt” clause in the Treaty of Versailles, ensuring perpetual humiliation.
On other treaty matters, President Wilson’s statements to the effect that small and large nations would be treated as equals and that all peoples had the right of “self-determination” were never seriously considered. Only a few national groupings within the defeated Central Powers, such as Poles and Czechs, were given the opportunity to form their own states. More than six million Germans – one-tenth of the population – were consigned to live under other governments. Parceling out territories based on ethnic-national identity was a messy business, as world geography was not neatly divided by ethnic populations. In keeping with the 1915 Treaty of London, Italy was awarded parts of the dissolved Austro-Hungarian Empire (Trentino, Trieste, Tyrol and Istria), although not all it wanted. The French regained the Alsace-Lorraine region and took control of the German Saar Valley coal fields. France and Great Britain divided up the Arab territories of the Ottoman Empire, albeit under the formal oversight of the League of Nations.
Others were disappointed as well: Korean nationalists who hoped to see their country freed from Japanese rule; Indian nationalists who sought to end British control over their country; Ho Chi Minh, who came to Paris with a petition seeking the independence of Vietnam from French rule; and Russians, not invited to the conference, who resented the military intervention of their country by their former allies.
The voices of Africans were among those neglected. African American civil rights leader W. E. B. DuBois traveled to France in December 1918 with the goal of assembling a Pan-African Congress alongside the peace conference. The meeting was held from February 19 to 21 at the Grand Hotel in Paris, with 58 delegates in attendance, but the big powers took no interest. They were not about to endorse the “withdrawal of Europeans from Africa,” as stated in one Congress resolution.244
Keynes noted another oddity. Writing in The New Republic in December 1919, he expressed dismay at President Wilson’s lack of planning and forethought in terms of achieving his idealistic goals:
It was commonly believed at the commencement of the Paris Conference that the President had thought out, with the aid of a large body of advisers, a comprehensive scheme not only for the League of Nations but for the embodiment of the Fourteen Points in an actual Treaty of Peace. But in fact the President had thought out nothing; when it came to practice, his ideas were nebulous and incomplete. He had no plan, no scheme, no constructive ideas whatever for clothing with the flesh of life the commandments which he had thundered from the White House. He could have preached a sermon on any of them or have addressed a stately prayer to the Almighty for their fulfillment; but he could not frame their concrete application to the actual state of Europe. . . . He not only had no proposals in detail, but he was in many respects, perhaps inevitably, ill informed as to European conditions.246
Keynes critique lends support to the thesis that Wilson’s main use of idealism was to sway the American public in favor of entering the war. The League proposal was part of a grab bag of rationales and slogans — “peace without victory,” making the world “safe for democracy,” and unselfishly fighting for the “rights of mankind” — allowing Wilson to claim that the war would be fought for noble purposes. Once these idealistic slogans were accepted by the public as credible reasons for entering the war, the president had arguably achieved his main goal. The League might have been more carefully constructed at another time, without the stress of concluding a war, but Wilson insisted that it must be attached to the peace treaty, lest he return to the U.S. without some tangible evidence that the war was worth fighting, that the loss of over 100,000 American lives was justified.
Wilson was nonetheless determined to see his work in Paris bear fruit with the Senate ratification of the Versailles Treaty and establishment of the League of Nations, which was part of the treaty. He returned to Washington in early July 1919 and immediately began lobbying senators. On July 10, Wilson spoke to the Senate, reasserting his idealistic justifications for the war and declaring that the League of Nations was “an indispensable instrumentality for the maintenance of the new order . . . of civilized men. . . . Dare we reject it and break the heart of the world?”247
Senator George Norris spoke five days later. He had long endorsed some sort of international organization to prevent war, but the organization outlined in the Versailles Treaty, in his view, would be little more than a tool for imperial “greed and avarice,” citing the transfer of Shantung to Japan as an example. While most senators supported the harsh treatment of Germany, Philander Knox, Republican of Pennsylvania, predicted that the “hard and cruel peace” would force Germany to evade the terms and begin planning for another war. Irish Americans, a large voting bloc, were disgruntled that Wilson had made no reference to Ireland as a small nation deserving of independence.248
Senators were divided, more or less into four camps: supporters, mild reservationists, strong reservationists, and irreconcilables. Wilson needed the votes of the mild reservationists and some of the strong reservationists to obtain the requisite two-thirds vote to ratify the treaty. The reservationists were mainly concerned that the League would undermine American freedom of action abroad and Congressional powers related to war making. They wanted to add language to the treaty that would acknowledge the right of the U.S. to send troops where it wished, and to not send troops where it did not wish. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge introduced fourteen reservations to the League of Nations provision in the treaty. Wilson considered such amendments superfluous, given that the League’s executive council could only advise nations on security matters. Article 10 of the Versailles Treaty stated:
The Members of the League undertake to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League. In case of any such aggression or in case of any threat or danger of such aggression the Council shall advise upon the means by which this obligation shall be fulfilled.249
Although Wilson essentially agreed with the reservationists as to the preservation of American freedom of action, he was nonetheless disposed to seeing the treaty ratified without reservations. Unable to reach a compromise, Wilson decided to appeal directly to the American people, as if treaty ratification were an election campaign. During the first 25 days of September, he made 40 speeches in cities across the United States.
Wilson’s rhetoric became harsher as he made his way west. Reverting to his wartime speeches in which he discredited peace advocates, Wilson began equating “opposition to the treaty with disloyalty and foreign interests,” according to Robert Hannigan. “Willingly or not, he implied, his critics were doing the enemy’s work…. This theme – that his opponents were intentionally or unintentionally ‘unAmerican’ – was front and center in what would turn out to be his last speech of the trip, in Pueblo, Colorado, on September 25.”251 Wilson repeated a theme in this speech that he had made at the American cemetery at Suresnes, France, on May 31, when he told the crowd, “The league of nations is the covenant of government that these men shall not have died in vain.” In Pueblo, he asked the audience rhetorically:
Again and again, my fellow citizens, mothers who lost their sons in France have come to me and. taking my hand, have shed tears upon it not only, but they have added, “God bless you, Mr. President!” Why, my fellow citizens, should they pray God to bless me? I advised the Congress of the United States to create the situation that led to the death of their sons. I ordered their sons oversea. I consented to their sons being put in the most difficult parts of the battle line, where death was certain, as in the impenetrable difficulties of the forest of Argonne. Why should they weep upon my hand and call down the blessings of God upon me? Because they believe that their boys died for something that vastly transcends any of the immediate and palpable objects of the war. They believe, and they rightly believe, that their sons saved the liberty of the world. They believe that wrapped up with the liberty of the world is the continuous protection of that liberty by the concerted powers of all civilized people.
The agency for the continuous protection of “the liberty of the world” was, of course, the League of Nations. “Thus,” writes communications professor J. Michael Hogan, “Wilson claimed, in effect, that [those] who died in the war died for the League of Nations. And to reject the League now would not only diminish their sacrifice but tarnish their memory.”252 It may be that Wilson was trying to convince himself that this was true, recognizing that he was responsible for the deaths of many young men. Having framed the creation of a League of Nations as a just cause for U.S. entry into the war, he was now obliged to explain the resulting American deaths as a justified sacrifice for this noble cause.
Johnny, get your gun, get your gun, get your gun.
Johnny Got His Gun
In 1939, Dalton Trumbo published Johnny Got His Gun, a classic antiwar novel which spotlights the plight of Joe Bonham, a First World War American doughboy who marched off to war so innocently, like many others, and returned home as a mere stump of a man, with no legs or arms, blind and deaf, with no jaw, mouth or tongue (he was fed through a tube in his stomach). All that Bonham has left are the memories of the life that he once had and eons of time to contemplate the senselessness of the war for which he had sacrificed his body. Joe thinks back to the good times he had with his girl-friend, Kareen, about his hard-working father, then how he had become swept up in all the war propaganda drummed up about Germany and how everybody wanted “the tar kicked out of her.” But now, in his incapacitated state, he recognized that:
Joe, Joe . . . This was no war for you. This thing wasn’t any of your business. What do you care about making the world safe for democracy? All you wanted to do Joe was to live. You were born and raised in the good healthy country of Colorado and you had no more to do with Germany or England or France or even Washington, D.C. than you had to do with the man on the moon. It wasn’t your fight Joe. You never really knew what the fight was all about.255
These comments display the hollow shell underlying the idealistic rhetoric adopted by the Wilson administration to sell American intervention in the Great War, which cast the war as a great moral crusade. Trumbo suggests that the main consequence of the war was to ruin the lives of innocent youth like Bonham who were sacrificed for a pipe dream. Bonham’s main wish is that the doctors allow him out of the hospital so he can demonstrate to others what war really does to people. Alas, the doctors won’t allow him to leave – a metaphor for how the authorities repress the human costs and truth about war.
Bonham reflects on the fact that there are “always people willing to sacrifice somebody else’s life. They’re plenty loud and they talk all the time. You can find them in churches and schools and newspapers and legislatures and Congress. They sound wonderful. Death before dishonor. This ground sanctified by blood. These men who died so gloriously. They shall not have died in vain. Our noble dead.” Bonham goes on to ask:
But what do the dead say? Did anybody ever come back from the dead … and say by god I’m glad I’m dead because death is always better than dishonor? Did they say I’m glad I died to make the world safe for democracy?… And all the guys who died all the five million or seven million or ten million who went out and died to make the world safe for democracy to make the world safe for words without meaning, how did they feel as they watched the blood pump out into the mud? How did they feel when the gas hit their lungs and began eating them all away? How did they feel as they lay crazed in hospitals and looked death straight in the face and saw him come and take them?
Answering his own question, Bonham continues:
If the thing they were fighting for was important enough to die for then it was also important enough for them to be thinking about it in the last minutes of their lives…. So did all those kids die thinking of democracy and freedom and liberty and honor and the safety of the home and the stars and stripes forever? You’re goddam right they didn’t…. They died yearning for the face of a friend. They died whimpering for the voice of a mother, a father, a wife, a child. They died with their hearts sick for one more look at the place where they were born; please god just one more look. They died moaning and sighing for life. They knew what was important. They knew that life was everything and they died with screams and sobs. They died with only one thought in their minds and that was I want to live, I want to live.256
Johnny Got His Gun testifies to the value of life and the corruption of this value in war. It provides a heartfelt antiwar statement that echoes the theme of disillusionment also found in other novels such as Erich Maria Remarque’s 1928 book All Quiet on the Western Front, which described German soldiers’ extreme physical and mental stress during the war.257 The term “lost generation” was used as an epigraph in Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises (1926): “You are all a lost generation.” The label attests to the emotional disorientation, moral disillusionment, and lack of purpose for those who grew up and lived through the horrific war, who were then in their twenties and thirties.
Mechanized warfare: “All the fiendish elements of mass killing”
Vannevar Bush, a computer pioneer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and director of the office responsible for coordinating war production in World War II, pointed out in a 1949 book that World War I was a turning point in the history of military technology. In addition to the production of barbed wire, artillery, and the machine gun, the internal combustion engine using petroleum was adapted to create submarines, tanks, and aircraft. Chemical engineering was applied to the production of poison gas, including mustard gas, phosgene and lewisite, an oily liquid that blisters the skin, manufactured by the DuPont Company. The gases were contained in mortar shells lobbed over enemy lines. Submarines were equipped with torpedoes propelled by steam engines and controlled by gyroscopes that kept them in a straight line. Radio also appeared, primarily for communications at sea.261
Field Marshal Douglas Haig extolled the virtues of mobilizing British scientists and industry in support of the war, proclaiming afterwards that “without science, the Allies could not have attained general superiority in the mechanical contrivances which contributed so powerfully to Germany’s defeat.”265
According to historian Michael Freemantle, author of The Chemists’ War, 1914-1918, millions of artillery shells filled with high explosives were fired in the war, including over 100,000 alone in the first hour of the Battle of Verdun. At Ypres, the British fired 3.5 million shells over a ten-day period, while the Germans unleashed 170 tons of chlorine gas from cylinders, killing as many as 6,000 French, Moroccan and Algerian troops. An eyewitness stated that the valleys down which the ghastly dew had descended “were as yellow as the Egyptian desert when the tops of the ridges remained in their spring green.”267
José de la Luz Sáenz, a Mexican American soldier who fought at the battles of St. Mihiel and Meusse-Argonne with the 360th Infantry Regiment, wrote about enemy shells exploding in the forest, scattering into the air thousands of leaves of every color as “even the poor and defenseless trees that adorn Mother Nature suffered man’s barbarity.” Referring to the Germans as “barbaric Huns descendant of Attila” and “beasts,” Sáenz also noted that the men in his unit who were struck by gas “seemed resigned to die, and even welcome[d] it when a shell hit them and [could] not stop the hemorrhage. Dying slowly from the poison in our lungs and the loss of our minds is horrible,” he said. “Watching the wretched scene of victims agonizing, drooling, purplish and feverish is just as bad.”270
These comments vividly capture the horrors of modern mechanized warfare, which could never achieve humanitarian ends. Responsibility for the methodical devastation lay with the celebrated scientists and technicians who had conceived and perfected so many instruments of death. Molded by elite academic institutions and their work for large corporations, scientists enjoyed prestige and access to power, and believed their creations would help win the war for their side. Historian Ernest Volkman points to the near total lack of unease in applying their skills “to perfect the art of killing.”272
The AEF began using mustard gas offensively in June 1918 when U.S. mustard gas production was 30 tons per day. By the end of the war, James Conant and a team of scientists at a secret laboratory in Willoughby, Ohio, had succeeded in mass producing an even greater wonder-weapon, lewisite gas, an arsenic that caused instant blistering, was difficult to detect, and was lethal in minute quantities. General Amos Fries, commander of the AEF’s Gas Service and later director of the Chemical Warfare Service, characterized lewisite as the “dew of death” because there were plans to spray it over the enemy from airplanes, and the gas was thought to be so deadly that ten planes armed with it could eliminate every trace of life in Berlin.275
Famed British soldier poet Wilfred Owen testified to the horrors of modern mechanized warfare in his epic poem, Dulce et Decorum Est (1918):
One of the ironies of this war of mass destruction centered on the efforts of the Wilson administration to keep American soldiers pure, free from the traditional “vices” of drinking alcohol and consorting with prostitutes. The administration established agencies such as the Committee on Training Camp Activities to monitor off-camp fraternization with young women and to close down nearby red-light districts. Alcohol was banned not only in training camps but also in surrounding areas. It became illegal to serve alcoholic drinks to soldiers even at home. President Wilson proudly wrote in April 1918, “I do not believe it is an exaggeration to say that no army ever before assembled has had more conscientious and painstaking thought given to the protection and stimulation of its mental, moral, and physical manhood.”285 That the men were being trained to participate in mass carnage seemed not to intrude upon the program of moral uplift.
The Center for Public Information, meanwhile, along with compliant journalists whipped up anti-German propaganda that fostered dehumanizing stereotypes of Germans as brutal Huns and overly disciplined automatons. Major Hermann von Giehrl, chief of staff of the German 16th Army Corps, noted with much accuracy that all the “war propaganda” induced American soldiers to see Germans as “the personification of almost all the wickedness of humanity.”286 Dehumanization combined with the exigencies of war helped fuel what Robert Jay Lifton characterized as an “atrocity producing environment” in which violent excesses became the norm.287 Reverend James R. Laughton, a pastor from rural Virginia who served with the 80th Division at Meuse-Argonne, reflected that “we ceased to be human, we became beasts lusting for blood and flesh.”288
Oftentimes, bloodlust was driven by a desire for revenge. Private Joe Rizzi wrote that “the sight of mangled bodies [of his buddies] brought curses and prayers that we might get to the cause of the butchery. We vowed no more prisoners if those bastards wanted war in that fashion…. Our minds were becoming warped, not stopping to figure out that our artillery was doing the same to those poor unfortunate wretches…. I had become as vicious as the rest.” One soldier told of an incident where a captured German soldier approached a group of Americans begging for water but was instead shot through the temple; and another where a lieutenant was asked by his superior what he had done with the prisoners, and replied that rather than waste time escorting prisoners, he had killed them all.289
Clarence Mahan noted that being shot changed his whole feeling about being able to kill someone. “We were scared but we had to develop a numbness and unfeeling attitude toward it all. Otherwise we would have lost our minds. War does something to a person. To see blood and carnage everywhere as men horses and mules are blown to bits developed in us a certain savagery and hate that pushed us on toward a terrible enemy with a willingness to see him destroyed.” Eight million horses were killed in the Great War. Another combat veteran stated flatly that combat experience molded and stiffened his character and “lessened his sensitivity to the value of human life. That rigidity was detrimental to my career in industry and in my personal life.”292
The war in the skies was followed with excitement back on the home front. Citizens followed the exploits of “aces” such as Captain Eddie Rickenbacker who shot down 28 enemy planes during the war. Yet air combat took a heavy toll on the pilots. The planes they flew, adorned with elaborate nose art, including in one case the insignia of the head of a Sioux Indian in full war paint and feathers, were sometimes described as “flaming coffins” due to unprotected gas tanks that exploded when hit. The pilots were issued no parachutes. In the barracks, clubs, and cafes frequented by pilots during the evening hours, the refrain of a song was often heard:
At least 235 American pilots were killed in combat, 130 were wounded, and 125 were captured. Another 650 died in accidents or from illness. Among those killed was Quentin Roosevelt, the fourth son of former President Theodore Roosevelt, shot down by a German Fokker plane over the Marne River in France on July 14, 1918. German Zeppelins — motorized blimps — were even more likely to end up in a raging fireball and plunge to earth. Sent over Britain in the first strategic bombing campaign early in 1915, the combination of British defenses and accidents produced a 40 percent casualty rate.300
Men coped with the perils of trench warfare in different ways. They sang, told stories and jokes, drank to excess, gambled, and even made trench art from spent shell casings. Some experienced neurosis and descended into a state of “loggish stupor.” More than a few removed themselves from the battlefield by taking unauthorized leaves of absence, becoming “stragglers” in Army lexicon. Major General Hunter Liggett estimated that 100,000 U.S. soldiers left their units during the one-and-a-half-month Meuse-Argonne offensive, an astounding one-tenth of the doughboys involved in the campaign. Some did so for lack of food and water, a result of the difficulty of moving supplies to the front. Although few GIs later spoke about their motives, one infantryman cited commanders who “had forgotten that there is a limit to human endurance.”305 Less understanding officers called them cowards and drove them back to the front.
On June 15, 1917, Congress passed, and President Wilson signed into law, the Espionage Act, empowering the federal government to censor newspapers, ban publications from the mail, and imprison anyone who “interfered” with conscription or the enlistment of soldiers. The penalties set forth were harsh, up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Irritated that peace advocates were still making speeches, President Wilson requested additional legislation to silence dissent. Congress responded in May 1918 by amending the Espionage Act to include the Sedition Act which made it illegal to “utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States.” Under these acts, the government prosecuted over 2,100 people.309
Among those convicted was Socialist Party leader Eugene Debs who was sentenced to ten years in prison for telling a crowd in Canton, Ohio, on June 16, 1918:
. . . it cannot be repeated too often – that the working class who fight all the battles, the working class who make the supreme sacrifices, the working class who freely shed their blood and furnish their corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war, and they alone make peace.310
Repression, vigilantism, and propaganda
Leading the administration’s offensive against the opponents of war were Postmaster General Albert S. Burleson and Attorney General Thomas W. Gregory, both Texans. Burleson zealously withdrew mailing privileges from any journal that “impugned the motives of the government,” as Burleson explained, including any publication that claimed “the government is controlled by Wall Street or munitions manufacturers, or any other special interests.” All foreign language newspapers had to be submitted to the Post Office Department in advance of publication in order to assure their loyalty to the American war effort. When Victor Berger wrote in his newspaper, the Milwaukee Leader, that Congress was “a rubber stamp of Woodrow Wilson and the Wall Street Clique,” Burleson banned the socialist journal from the mails.311
Attorney General Gregory, meanwhile, initiated a nationwide surveillance system utilizing members of the newly formed American Protective League (APL). Claiming to be federal officers, and brandishing badges that said “American Protective League – Secret Service,” APL members monitored the activities of anyone not considered “100% American,” including citizens of German origin, pacifists, leftists, and independent intellectuals. Gregory boasted that his APL agents, which numbered 250,000 by the end of the war, assisted “the heavily overworked Federal authorities in keeping an eye on disloyal individuals and making reports of disloyal utterances.” According to David Kennedy:
Though Gregory admiringly called the APL a “powerful patriotic organization,” and claimed that it was “well-managed,” the League in fact constituted a rambunctious, unruly posse comitatus on an unprecedented national scale. Its “agents” bugged, burglarized, slandered, and illegally arrested other Americans. They opened mail, intercepted telegrams, served as agents provocateurs, and were the chief commandos in a series of extralegal and often violent “slacker raids” against supposed draft evaders in 1918. They always operated behind a cloak of stealth and deception, frequently promoting reactionary social and economic views under the guise of patriotism.313
The American Protective League never caught even one spy. Other vigilante organizations also emerged in the repressive climate. According to Robert Hannigan:
With the blessing of state and local governments, tens of thousands of “councils of defense” were set up around the United States. Originally the idea was for them to help with the economic mobilization of the country. As that job came instead to be taken over by national agencies focused on different sectors of the economy, these local bodies of volunteers increasingly turned to other tasks, among which were promoting public enthusiasm for the war and suppressing dissent. People were investigated by them for “disloyalty,” hauled before “slacker courts,” encouraged to keep an eye on their neighbors, and warned that they were “under surveillance.” Other, similar organizations had titles like the Minute Men, the knights of Liberty, the Sedition Slammers, and so on. Pacifists, pacifist religious sects (like the Mennonites), radicals, and above all, Americans of German ancestry were particular targets of such activity. In some cases, the federal government simply lost control of tendencies it had set in motion, but it was frequently also slow to condemn or rein in vigilantism.314
Before 1914, German immigrants and German-American citizens were considered by many to be the most esteemed ethnic group in the United States, deemed upright, hardworking citizens. With U.S. entry into the war, those of German ancestry became targets of suspicion, surveillance, repression, and violence. The governor of Iowa forbade the speaking of German in public. Familiar words like “hamburger” and “sauerkraut” were replaced by “liberty sandwich” and “liberty cabbage.” In one of the most infamous cases of vigilante violence, Robert Praeger, a young man born in Germany who had tried to enlist in the U.S. Navy but had been rejected for medical reasons, was lynched by a mob near St. Louis in April 1918 “to the lusty cheers of five hundred patriots,” according to Kennedy:
A trial of the mob’s leaders followed, in which the defendants wore red, white, and blue ribbons to court, and the defense counsel called their deed “patriotic murder.” The jury took twenty-five minutes to return a verdict of not guilty, accompanied by one jury member’s shout, “Well, I guess nobody can say we aren’t loyal now.” The Washington Post commented: “In spite of excesses such as lynching, it is a healthful and wholesome awakening in the interior of the country.”315
Raymond B. Fosdick, who later became the first Under-Secretary of the League of Nations, remembered attending a church meeting in New England where a speaker demanded that the Kaiser be boiled in oil and the entire audience stood to scream its hysterical approval. “This was the mood we were in,” Fosdick wrote. “This was the kind of madness that had seized us.”316 According to Charles DeBenedetti, “Extending the country’s long tradition of middle-class vigilante violence, local figures of respectability and power unleashed a veritable “reign of terror” across the nation against dissidents and in defense of conservative nationalism.”317
In Butte, Montana, on August 1, 1917, self-styled enforcers of national unity lynched Frank Little, an organizer for the radical Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union, also known as the Wobblies. No one was charged with the murder. The following month, federal agents raided IWW headquarters in 33 different cities and also ransacked the Socialist Party national headquarters in Chicago. Fifteen IWW leaders received sentences of 20 years in prison under the terms of the recently passed Espionage Act.318 In Oklahoma, where the IWW had recently organized an Oil Workers Union, the Tulsa Daily World gave voice to calls for vigilante violence after someone set off a bomb outside the home of a local oil man. Suggesting that the Wobblies were in the pay of the Kaiser, the lead editorial proclaimed on November 10: “The first step in the whipping of Germany is to strangle the IWW’s. Kill them, just as you would kill any other kind of snake. Don’t scorch ‘em, kill em dead. It is no time to waste money on trials and continuance and things like that. All that is necessary is the evidence and a firing squad.”319
The limits of dissent became apparent in a court case concerning the film, “The Spirit of ’76,” which opened in Chicago in the summer of 1917. Producer Robert Goldstein had sought to rouse the patriotic spirit by dramatizing the Revolutionary War, but his depiction of the 1778 Wyoming Valley massacre, in which the British burned an estimated 1,000 homes and killed women and children, was deemed suspect by censors. The U.S. Justice Department seized the film and took Goldstein to court. Prosecutors argued that the film was part of a pro-German conspiracy. Goldstein himself was a Jewish immigrant with German parents. District Judge Benjamin Bledsoe said that Goldstein’s film exhibited “exaggerated scenes of British cruelty” that might make people “question the good faith of our ally, Great Britain.” He ruled that the film was likely to sow disloyalty and insubordination in the armed forces and thus violated the Espionage Act. Goldstein was sentenced to ten years in the federal penitentiary. Attorney General Thomas Gregory personally congratulated the prosecutor, Robert O’Connor, on what was the first successful prosecution of an “unpatriotic” motion picture in U.S. history.325
If not silenced by repressive laws and extralegal vigilantism, peace advocacy was drowned out by state propaganda. Just one week after war was declared, President Wilson issued an executive order creating the Committee on Public Information (CPI), an official propaganda agency. To lead the CPI, Wilson chose George Creel, a liberal on domestic issues and a journalist who utilized modern advertising techniques to sell the war. The agency produced and distributed pamphlets and posters, made newsreels and feature-length films, issued press releases and published a daily newspaper, sponsored patriotic exhibitions in cities, organized “Loyalty Leagues” in immigrant communities, and recruited some 18,000 “Four-Minute Men” speakers to whip up enthusiasm in every town and city. The speakers, in turn, recruited young men for the U.S. Army, peddled Liberty Bonds, encouraged food conservation, and pressured citizens to become active in the war effort. Quipped one writer, “George Creel was so talented, he got Americans to support a war they had just voted against.”326
CPI also worked with educators and professional associations such as the National Board for Historical Service. The latter distributed study guides for students at all age levels. According to Kennedy, the suggested themes for younger children were “patriotism, heroism, and sacrifice,” and for older children, the “differences between the autocratic German form of government and the democratic American way.” The Board rejected one curriculum because it raised doubts about “the positive values of nationalism” and did not sufficiently distinguish between the benevolent imperialism of Great Britain and the “predatory” imperialism of central European countries. These courses served as the prototype for future courses on “Western Civilization” taken by American students.329
And prosecute he did. During 1917 and 1918, Butler saw to it that no one at Columbia University dissented. In one of the worst violations in the history of academic freedom in higher education, some of the country’s top scholars were told either to leave or be dismissed, while others resigned in protest because of Butler’s patriotic highhandedness. For Butler, caught in the war fever, loyalty to the country was paramount. “Men who feel that their personal convictions require them to treat the mature opinion of the civilized world without respect or with contempt may well be given an opportunity to do so from private station and without the added influence and prestige of a university’s name.” Consequently, James McKeen Cattell, Leon Fraser, Henry R. Mussey, and Ellery C. Stowell were told to leave—while the eminent historian Charles Beard, who supported the war, resigned in protest over the dictatorial actions of the Columbia Board of Trustees and its president.331
The New York State Legislature passed a 1917 law mandating that teachers would be subject to dismissal for “the utterance of any treasonable or seditious word” and even created a commission to hear and examine complaints about “seditious” textbooks in subjects like civics, history, economics, and English literature. New York followed the recommendations of the National Board for Historical Service and required elementary school teachers to teach the themes of “patriotism, heroism, and sacrifice” and the differences between German autocracy and the American democratic way of life.334
The responsibility of intellectuals
Dewey and other progressive intellectual supporters of war underestimated the war’s impact on the American psyche and the power of anti-democratic forces at work. If the war was being fought for social reform, in Dewey’s estimation, he was totally unprepared for the scathing attack Randolph Bourne leveled against his overly optimistic and misguided reasoning. For Bourne, a literary critic and one of Dewey’s most brilliant students, it was a time when innocence abruptly came to an end and idols who had trumpeted the virtues of progressive reform reached their twilight.339
The answer to the question was, of course, yes. The claims of pro-war intellectuals would prove delusory. Bourne grew up in comfortable circumstances in New Jersey but always identified with the oppressed, owing to his small stature (he was only five feet) and experience living with a handicap. His first essay in the Atlantic Monthly, “The Handicapped,” published in 1911, explored the inner life of disabled people, and the stigma and persecution that they faced. Bourne’s subsequent writing promoted his progressive views on education and included ruminations on the “deadening subordination of workers to machines.” According to historian Christopher Phelps, Bourne was an “elegant refuter of ‘pragmatic’ pretensions in those who believed that the state, even in a time of unleashed militarism, could be tamed simply by their own moral presence in the corridors of power.”341
In October 1917, Bourne wrote a follow-up to “The War and the Intellectuals” called “The Twilight of the Idols,” in which he lamented how the country’s best intellects were “caught in the political current and see only the hope that America will find her soul in the remaking of the world [through violence].” Bourne took specific aim at John Dewey, the great philosopher who was his mentor at Columbia University, who subscribed to the illusion that the war could be “molded” and “controlled” to achieve a liberal purpose:
A philosopher who senses so little the sinister forces of war, who is more concerned over the excesses of the pacifists than over the excesses of military policy, who can feel only amusement at the idea that any one should try to conscript thought, who assumes that the war-technique could be used without trailing along with it the mob-fanaticism, the injustice and hatreds, that are organically bound up with it.
Bourne wrote of Dewey and his counterparts, “There seems to have been a peculiar congeniality between the war and these men. It is as if the war and they had been waiting for each other.”343
One of the men to whom he was referring, Walter Lippmann, was a prominent progressive thinker, passionate in his belief that the world could be made over along liberal principles. As a young man, Lippmann considered war to have resulted from colonialism and imperialism and that America should not become enmeshed in Europe’s quarrels. However, Lippmann was also an Anglophile who developed a distaste for Germany after hearing stories from his grandfather who had escaped Prussian oppression. Lippmann was convinced, in turn, that America had a great world role to fill and that “isolationism must be abandoned if we are to do anything effective for internationalism…The supreme task of world politics is not the prevention of war but a satisfactory organization of mankind.”
Becker would come to disavow his wartime propaganda work, writing to a friend in 1920 that “a man of any intelligence should have known that in this war, as in all wars, men would profess to be fighting for justice and liberty but in the end would demand the spoils of victory.” He later wrote an essay, “Loving Peace and Waging War,” which proclaimed that America’s “much heralded attempt to make the world safe for democracy” had actually “made the world safe for dictators.”351
Conscription and conscientious objection to war
The strategy appeared to work as nine and a half million men registered on the appointed day. The first induction order came seven weeks later when 687,000 men received notices to join the U.S. Army. The penalty for refusing induction was up to one year in prison. By war’s end, over 24 million men had registered and 2,810,296 had been drafted. Conscripts comprised 72% of U.S. forces.354
The exact number of draft-age men who did not register is unknown, but a common estimate is around three million. There were also 337,000 men who registered for the draft but failed to appear for their physical examinations when called, about one in nine.356 While there were no public burnings of draft cards, as happened in the Vietnam War fifty years later, defying conscription was widespread. The journalist-historian James Weinstein offers some examples:
In Donora, Pennsylvania, 40 percent of the men who registered gave fictitious addresses, such as vacant lots…. One district in Chicago reported that of 345 men called, 139 did not appear. In the month of August alone 2,500 slackers were reported in Cleveland.… Even among those who did appear when called for their physical examinations large numbers were reluctant to serve. Seventy per cent of those appearing in New York City, a center of interventionist sentiment, filed exemption claims. In Philadelphia several draft boards exhausted ten times the number of exemption blanks originally provided; the government was unable to keep up with the demand for these forms.357
In central Oklahoma, draft opponents organized the Green Corn Rebellion in the summer of 1917. Some 500 debt-ridden tenant farmers, including American Indians and African Americans, resisted the government’s efforts to force them to fight a war they did not support. Many were members of the Working Class Union (WCU), a socialist-oriented group in a state with the largest Socialist Party membership in the nation. Throughout the summer of 1917, the farmers denounced the war and many refused to register for the draft. Along country roads, they hung posters that read: “Now is the time to rebel against this war with German boys. Get together boys and don’t go. Rich man’s war. Poor man’s fight. If you don’t go, J. P. Morgan Co. is lost. Speculation is the only cause of the war. Rebel now.”359 When local authorities pursued the draft resisters, gunfights began. Three men were killed during the month of August. Some rebels talked of marching to Washington to spark a nationwide protest against the war and the draft, eating roasted green corn and barbecued beef along the way. The march never took place. Walter Strong, a Green Corn rebel leader, described the motives of his comrades:
We decided we wasn’t gonna fight somebody else’s war for ‘em and we refused to go. We didn’t volunteer and we didn’t answer the draft. Most of us had wives and kids and we didn’t want to leave them here to do all the work of harvesting and have us go over to France to fight people we didn’t have anything against. We didn’t have any bands and uniforms and that stuff down there in the sandhills so that crap about the Germans comin’ over here when they finished up the English and the French didn’t go over with us.360
The suppression of the rebellion was swift and overly broad, owing to the fact that authorities wanted to suppress the WCU, the Socialist Party, and the IWW. Government agents rounded up revolting farmers and Socialist Party members alike, even though the Socialist Party had no part in the rebellion. Of the 450 detained, 150 were convicted or pleaded guilty to charges, and about half of those received jail terms ranging from 60 days to ten years. Five men remained in the federal prison in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, until February 1922.361 Oscar Ameringer, a popular socialist speaker in the region who had advised the farmers against launching the rebellion, nonetheless vouched for their integrity. “There was a great deal of native intelligence and common sense among the people,” he later wrote. “Their state of illiteracy protected them, partially at least, against the flood of lying propaganda with which their ‘betters’ of press pulpit and rostrum deluged the country while their native common sense allowed them to see through the pretensions of the warmongerers better than could many a Ph.D.”362
By mid-1918, the Justice Department had prosecuted some 10,000 draft evaders and resisters. Among them was civil libertarian Roger Baldwin, a founder of the American Civil Liberties Union. Baldwin spent one year in jail in New Jersey as a conscientious objector who refused to register for the draft. To capture more young men, the Justice Department initiated an aggressive tactic known as “slacker raids.” In early September 1918, government agents aided by local police and members of the American Protective League conducted a series of raids in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Boston, New York, and other cities. Young men were apprehended at bayonet point in ball parks, restaurants, street corners, and other public places. More than 50,000 men of apparent draft age were detained.363
At various camps, C.O.s were jeered, hosed, beaten, starved, and placed in solitary confinement. Army officers often looked upon physical punishment and pressure as the best means of testing the genuineness and sincerity of a man’s convictions. According to the historian Edward M. Coffman, “the objector was virtually at the mercy of his fellow recruits, noncoms, and officers. . . . At Camp Sheridan, Alabama, Lieutenant Scott Fitzgerald pulled out his pistol and forced one in his company to drill at gunpoint. Others who fell into the hands of sadists were beaten, jabbed with bayonets, and abused in various ways.”
At Camp Funston, Kansas, where General Leonard Wood pronounced all conscientious objectors “enemies of the republic, fakers and active agents of the enemy,” Private Otto Gottschalk, suffering from his German name and pacifist beliefs, was dragged from his tent, stripped, thrown in a ditch, forced to swallow mired water, and then badly beaten.”368
The combination of humiliation and abuse resulted in more than 16,000 certified conscientious objectors renouncing their combat exemptions. Of the 3,989 men who held firm, two-thirds accepted some form of noncombatant work. Beginning in June 1918, conscientious objectors could be granted furloughs to work in agriculture, industry, and relief activities. Pacifists associated with the historic peace churches took it upon themselves to establish non-combatant relief work programs approved by the government. At least 88 C.O.s were assigned to work in the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) reconstruction program in France, rebuilding villages and growing crops.369 Rufus Jones and the Philadelphia-area Society of Friends founded the AFSC in April 1917.
If life in army camps was bad, life in federal prisons was intolerable. At least seventeen conscientious objectors died in prison as a result of physical abuse or prison conditions; one committed suicide. At Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, 30 C.O.s were subjected to a disciplinary rule that kept prisoners who refused to work manacled in chains in a standing position, their wrists bound to the top of a doorway, for nine hours a day.371 Among those who suffered this torture were members of the Molokans, a Christian pacifist sect that had emigrated from Russia, who were sent to Ft. Leavenworth in October 1918. At the Alcatraz prison, some pacifists were placed in straitjackets and locked to a ball and chain in a damp and dreary dark cell for five consecutive days. Two Hutterite pacifists, Joseph and Michael Hofer, died from such abuse after being transferred to Fort Leavenworth.
Over 200,000 black soldiers served in France, but only one in five saw combat, in contrast to two-thirds of the American Expeditionary Forces as a whole. Most African Americans soldiers were assigned to labor and service units, unloading ships, digging ditches, cleaning latrines, transporting supplies, and burying corpses. Those in the fighting divisions, the 92nd and 93rd, suffered high levels of casualties, 1,647 and 3,534, respectively. The 92nd division was led by Lt. General Robert E. Lee Bullard, a man known for his hard drive, ruthless disregard for losses, and racist views. He deemed “Negroes as hopelessly inferior soldiers,” as he wrote in his memoir.375 This was markedly out of step with the view of the French, who awarded the entire 369th Infantry regiment the Croix de Guerre (War Cross medal) for its contribution in the Battle of the Meuse-Argonne. General Pershing nonetheless barred black soldiers from participating in the Victory Parade in Paris.376
When the war ended, African American soldiers sought the same respect accorded to their white peers. On February 17, 1919, returning black soldiers of the 369th Infantry, the Harlem Hellfighters, marched up Fifth Avenue in Harlem before some 250,000 white and black onlookers. On the whole, however, “black soldiers received a rude awakening upon their return,” according to the military journal editor Jami Bryan:
Back home, many whites feared that African Americans would return demanding equality and would try to attain it by employing their military training…. During the summer and fall of 1919, anti-black race riots erupted in twenty-six cities across America. The lynching of blacks also increased from fifty-eight in 1918 to seventy-seven in 1919. At least ten of those victims were war veterans, and some were lynched while in uniform.379
Mexican Americans also faced discrimination in the military. José de la Luz Sáenz was a teacher and Mexican-American community leader from South Texas whose war diary includes discussion of this discrimination. He recorded witnessing unfair practices; for example, when his superiors at Camp Travis refused to grant the petition of an old and blind Mexican man who asked that one of his two sons be allowed to remain at home to care for him. Sáenz also noted his irritation with superiors who twice denied him admission to an officer training school – without explanation. He remained a private throughout his military service. After the war, Saenz was further disappointed by the lack of recognition of Mexican American veterans in Texas, epitomized by the failure to support a statue to recognize the sacrifices of Mexican Americans in the war.380
When the Great War broke out in Europe, Americans fully expected their nation to stay out of it, just as the United States had always stayed out of European wars. On August 2, 1914, one day after Germany declared war on Russia, an editorial in the New York Times captured the mood of the country. Titled “Kings Going Forth to War,” the editors described the incipient war as “a frightful backsliding” and asked, rhetorically, whether the “fruits of a war of vengeance” were worth the losses that Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Russia would surely incur. As for England and France, not yet in the war:
What can England and France gain that will reimburse them for the incalculable material and moral loss of a resort to war? The moral loss is greatest of all, for the friends of peace have counted upon the highly civilized nations like England, France, with the United States, to discountenance war, to make great wars impossible. . . . It is medieval, it is barbarous, it is horrible, that men should turn out at the behest of sovereigns and war councils to be shot to death for purposes wholly unrelated to their own welfare.381
France and Great Britain soon entered the war, but the sentiment that war constituted a regression from civilized progress remained strong in the U.S. and many citizens placed their hopes in the U.S. government to help the Europeans regain their senses. Although most Americans favored the Allied Powers, they were more intently committed to American neutrality, at least until early 1917. Wilson’s declaration of U.S. neutrality on August 19th was endorsed by 878 of the 897 major newspapers in the nation.382
The peace persuasion in the United States was rooted in a mixture of traditional, cultural, and reform orientations. The traditional orientation dates back to the Revolutionary era when antipathy toward centralized government and high taxes cast a shadow on maintaining large standing armies and navies. To this was added Thomas Jefferson’s advice in 1801 to avoid “entangling alliances” with scheming European nations. The anti-imperialists of the late 19th century built upon these traditional concerns in challenging Henry Cabot Lodge’s “large policy” of acquiring territories, protectorates, and spheres of influence in the Pacific and Latin America. Imperialist policies, they believed, would lead to unnecessary wars, large armies and navies, high taxes, entangling alliances, and undue executive power, such that democratic rights and freedoms at home would be jeopardized.383
Irish antipathy toward Great Britain had deep roots. During the Great Famine in the late 1840s, catalyzed by a potato blight, British authorities did very little to aid the starving population. Approximately 1.1 million Irish died and over a million emigrated between 1845 and 1855, many to the United States or Canada. By 1850, the Irish made up a quarter of the population in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. The searing memory of the Great Famine was revived in the Irish rebellion that erupted in April 1916. The rebellion was swiftly and harshly put down by British troops. One Irish-American, James K. McGuire, a former mayor of Syracuse, wrote in 1915, “Liberty for Ireland can only be won through the triumphs of Germany-Austria.”385 Most Irish-Americans, however, advocated American neutrality.
New organizations formed after the war broke out in Europe included the Women’s Peace Party, founded in January 1915 with a strong internationalist orientation, the American Union Against Militarism, established in early 1916 to counteract the preparedness movement, and the U.S. chapter of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, chartered in November 1915 by religious pacifists. Steady, if quiet support for peace also came from the traditional peace churches – Mennonite, Brethren, and Friends (Quaker).
Peace reform in the early 20th century
Perhaps the most recognized peace movement leader in the pre-war era was Jane Addams, famous for her work with immigrants and urban reform at Hull House in Chicago. Her life-long, twin commitments to peace and justice were reflected in her writings. In Newer Ideals of Peace (1907), Addams called for a “genuine evolutionary democracy” that would expand to meet the growth of human needs and relationships. It was her constant belief that all national leaders had a moral obligation to resolve economic and territorial disputes without recourse to war. While average citizens were not responsible for starting wars, they were invariably called to fight them; hence citizens must take an active interest. Addams was a founding member of the Woman’s Peace Party in 1915 and served as its president.388
Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie made his contribution to peace by creating the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In December 1910, he donated $10 million to the Endowment and instructed the trustees to use it “to hasten the abolition of international war, the foulest blot upon our civilization.” (The amount translates to roughly $3.5 billion in 2018 dollars.)391 Based in New York City, the Endowment developed programs of research and public education, and funded groups such as the World Peace Foundation. Seeking to establish “a veritable Faculty of Peace,” the Endowment sponsored interchanges of American and foreign professors and built up an admirable research library, collecting all the scholarly works on the development of international law, the causes of war, and past records of peace efforts.392
Among the well-known religious peace advocates was Unitarian minister John Haynes Holmes. A representative of the Social Gospel movement, Holmes urged every social worker to be “a peace fanatic.” Peace workers, he wrote, “must join forces” with Labor and strike “at the things which make war – first militarism; second, political autocracy; and third, commercialism. The axe must be laid at the roots of the tree – which are armaments, dynasties, and exploitation.” The Social Gospel movement was a predominantly Protestant reform movement that emerged in the late 19th century in response to the growing ills of the urban-industrial age.395
Peace advocates included teachers such as Fannie Fern Andrews who initiated the American School Peace League (ASPL) in 1908. The group promoted an annual “Peace Day” in schools, sponsored annual peace essay contests, and developed elementary and secondary school curricula designed to teach conflict resolution skills and encourage children to appreciate and respect other cultures, religions, races – known today as multicultural education.396 Once the U.S. entered the war, however, ASPL board members deemed it unpatriotic to advocate for peace and thus closed down most of ASPL’s operations for two years. When the organization resumed activities in 1919, it was renamed the American School Citizenship League, in line with a more conservative, nationalistic orientation.397
Peace activism during the neutrality period
The first peace demonstration in the United States after war broke out in Europe took place on August 29, 1914. Organized by women associated with the New York Peace Society, including Fanny Villard and Lillian Wald, more than 1,200 women paraded down New York City’s Fifth Avenue. Dressed in black or white, they marched silently to a muffled drum beat in support of the president’s policy of neutrality.398 They also sought to push the administration to take further action in mediating an end to the war. President Wilson had mildly offered his assistance in acting as a mediator but had not pressed the point.
With the Wisconsin plan in hand, WPP leaders joined European women peace activists in organizing an International Congress of Women at The Hague in late April 1915. One hundred international representatives, including 47 Americans, attended the meeting along with some 1,000 Dutch women. They gathered in the Great Hall of Peace Palace to call upon the warring nations to declare a ceasefire and seek mediation.400
The failure of women’s mediation effort did not deter the fiery Hungarian author and peace activist, Rosika Schwimmer, from trying again. Upon hearing of Henry Ford’s declaration in August 1915 that he was prepared to devote his fortune to the cause of peace, Schwimmer and Louis Lochner, Executive Secretary of the Chicago Peace Society, met with the Detroit car magnate and came up with a plan to charter a “peace ship” to the neutral countries of Europe to jump-start the mediation process. That fall, the activists made contacts with their European counterparts, chartered the Oscar II for the journey, and recruited some 50 peace activists, 40 journalists, and 25 college students for the voyage. The WPP did not officially endorse the endeavor, though it supported the goal. Ford met with President Woodrow Wilson and sought his endorsement but was turned down (again).
Just before the “peace ship” left New York Harbor on December 4, 1915, Ford foolishly predicted, “We’re going to try to get the boys out of the trenches before Christmas.” The boast made him the subject of ridicule in the press.405 The journey across the Atlantic was plagued by sickness and arguments. Ford wanted all passengers to sign a statement condemning U.S. military preparations for war, but some refused, including Louis B. Hanna, the Republican governor of North Dakota. Upon arrival in Oslo, Norway, on December 18, the weather was frigid, and few people came out to welcome the peace ship. Schwimmer and Lochner began meeting with their European counterparts, but Ford, apparently sick, decided to sail home on a Norwegian liner on December 23. The U.S. media focused on Ford’s “desertion,” which he refuted, but the project nonetheless continued.
The “peace ship” visited Sweden, Denmark, and Holland, where receptions were more encouraging. The organizers ultimately succeeded in establishing a new organization, the Neutral Conference for Continuous Mediation, made up of delegates from several neutral countries. Ford continued to be part of the year-long project, making recommendations and providing funding, although he remained in the background. The first notable action of the Neutral Conference was an appeal to the neutral governments of Europe in March 1916, urging them to take the initiative in proposing mediation to the belligerent powers. Legislation to that effect was introduced in the parliaments of Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, but no action was taken.406
I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier,
There was perhaps no better representative of this view than Alan Seeger, a 1910 Harvard graduate who joined the French Foreign Legion in 1914 and served in France. With a flair for poetry and writing, Seeger sent letters and verses to the New York Sun and the New Republic, offering “uplifting descriptions of war, cast in the literary conventions of medieval romance,” according to David Kennedy. His book of Poems, published after his death in July 1916, “spoke powerfully of war’s ennobling glory.” His book became a best seller in 1917, as did two other books romanticizing war, The Glory of the Trenches and My Home in the Field of Honor.411
The preparedness movement gained momentum following the sinking of the Lusitania in May 1915. The National Security League (NSL) worked overtime to magnify the alleged danger of Germany to the United States. By October, the organization boasted a membership of 50,000. Headed by retired General Leonard Wood, NSL established its first voluntary military training camp in Plattsburg, New York, on August 8, 1915, with 1,200 enrollees. Camps soon sprang up around the country, what became known as the “Plattsburg movement.” By the end of 1916, some 40,000 men had undergone training at the camps, including prominent young businessmen and professionals.413 Military training, said Wood, “will bind together all classes of society into one common purpose.”414 Already, thousands of young men had responded to British and Canadian recruiters and voluntarily joined the fight in Europe. NSL leaders also lobbied Congress to approve compulsory military training, such that every physically capable young American male would be required to undergo six months of military training and afterwards serve in a reserve unit.
Peace groups met the challenge by organizing new groups and shifting their emphasis to opposing “militarism,” their term for military “preparedness.” Two new groups were formed in December 1914, the Emergency Federation of Peace in Chicago and the American League to Limit Armaments in New York City. The latter was led by Episcopal bishop David H. Greer and Columbia University president Nicholas Murray Butler. In the spring of 1915, pacifist-socialists Jessie Wallace Hughan and Frances Witherspoon (secretary of the WPP) along with Rev. Holmes organized the Anti-Enlistment League. Operating out of Hughan’s home in Brooklyn, the group reached out to college students and signed up 3,500 young men over the next two years who pledged never to “volunteer for any military or naval service in international war, either offensive or defensive.”417
With financial assistance from the Carnegie Endowment, the WPP put on a lavish production of The Trojan Women, the Classical Greek play satirizing war, which toured major cities. In conjunction with Mother’s Day in May 1915, WPP sponsored “Peace Day” in schools, featuring antiwar songs, poems, and parades.418
In February 1916, Frank Donnblazer, a farmer and officer of the National Farmers’ Union, testified before the Senate Hearing on Military Preparedness. He came as a representative of the union, which encompassed 22 states. “Nebraska,” he said, “has over 44,000 male members in the farmer’s union, and at their State meeting just a week or two ago they unanimously and without a single solitary objection opposed preparedness, opposed going into this expensive preparedness and telling our boys to drill and get ready to fight.” Donnblazer, whose ancestors came from Germany before the Revolutionary War and whose great uncle, grandfather, and father had fought, respectively, in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Mexican War, read his union’s resolution on military preparedness to the committee:
We demand economy in all operations made by Congress, and we are especially opposed to any great increase in expenditure for the Army and Navy, but approve a reasonable outlay for coast defense by submarine or other weapons, proved by recent experience to be effective for that purpose. We are unalterably opposed to a large standing army and to any change in our military system tending to compulsory military service.423
Although Congress voted to increase the size of the U.S. armed forces in 1916, it balked at enacting universal military training legislation, fearing a public backlash.
One of the AUAM’s outreach projects was a speaking tour in April 1916 that followed the exact route of the president three months earlier. Speaking in St. Louis, Wilson had referred to opponents of preparedness as “hopelessly and contentedly provincial.” He expressed confidence that the public would reject their message as “folly.” AUAM leaders took up the challenge and assembled a group of speakers, including Amos Pinchot, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, and Congregationalist minister A. A. Berle, to make the tour. The first event was held in New York’s Carnegie Hall on April 6; then proceeded on to Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Des Moines, Minneapolis, and Detroit. The tour drew large, receptive audiences in each city.424
Another event was the opening of the “War Against War” exhibit in downtown Brooklyn in mid-April 1916, sponsored by the AUAM and the WPP. The exhibit consisted of 23 panels (3 feet by 5 feet) and seven cartoons (2 feet by 3 feet). One panel contrasted two images of Uncle Sam, one a “fighter” and one a “friend.” It asked viewers to decide which Uncle Sam is more appealing: the one on the left standing for “preparedness” with cannon and hand grenade, or the one on the right standing up as “the world’s greatest mediator,” carrying a scroll calling for world federation, international courts of equity, international police, bonds of brotherhood, and warfare against social evils “of which militarism is the greatest.”
Also included in the exhibit was “Jingo,” a huge papier-mâché dinosaur, or “military lizard,” adorned with the inscription, “This is jingo, the armored dinosaur: All Armor Plate and No Brains. This animal believed in Huge Armaments – he is Now Extinct.” Jingo’s genus was identified as “Dinosaurus Theodorus Rooseveltus.” After three weeks in Brooklyn, the exhibit moved to Manhattan. “In both venues,” writes Michael Kazin, “it attracted an astonishing five to ten thousand visitors a day. That summer it moved on to Philadelphia, where the reception was just as warm, and then to nine other cities around the country,” including Washington, DC. Both sponsoring organizations used the exhibit to enlist sympathetic supporters.425
In the battle for the American soul between proponents of peace and preparedness, the preparedness movement had one distinct advantage: it could conjure up the robust spirit of patriotism and attached it to military preparedness without ever mentioning war, death, and sacrifice. As such, the grim possibility of war was magically transformed into a joyous celebration of patriotism and camaraderie, especially in the form of marching parades. In the spring of 1916, the National Security League organized a dozen large parades in major cities. More than 100,000 people marched in Chicago, where marchers were costumed and choreographed to look like a gigantic American flag moving down the street. The grandest was the Citizens’ Preparedness Parade in Manhattan on May 13, 1916, which counted 135,000 marchers and 200 bands. “Fifth Avenue is aflutter with flags from end to end,” wrote the New York Times, “while nearly every building has been decorated, in nearly every instance, with American flags exclusively.”426
Incredibly, the progressives’ long fight against the President’s preparedness program did not move them to desert Wilson in the 1916 presidential election. Negatively, they felt little attraction to the Republican nominee, Charles Evans Hughes. Positively, they felt genuine enthusiasm for Wilson following his shift toward advanced reform. Beginning in January  the President backed the Congress in concluding a series of landmark progressive legislative achievements, including laws regarding rural credits, workmen’s compensation, child labor reforms, and fuller autonomy for the Philippines.428
The mainstream of the Socialist Party, however, rallied behind their presidential candidate in 1916, Allan Louis Benson, a newspaper editor and author of A Way to Prevent War (1915) and Inviting War to America (1916). Benson strongly criticized Wilson for promoting preparedness, arguing that it was drawing the U.S. into war. He was also critical of American industrialists and financiers who were profiting from the arms trade. In his 1916 book, he labeled the preparedness movement “the greatest attempt of its kind in all history to stampede a nation into committing an act of monumental folly.” To set things right, the Socialist Party platform in 1916 endorsed mediation by neutral nations, the repeal of preparedness legislation, and a public referendum on war. Election results proved disappointing for the party that year. Benson garnered only 590,524 votes, or 3.19% of the popular vote.430
Others were wary of the president or concerned that events were leading the U.S. into war unless a sharp turn was made. During the month of February, peace organizations held rallies, circulated petitions, and organized the Emergency Peace Federation in response to the impending crisis. The latter group placed a full-page appeal for help in the New York Times that netted $35,000 in contributions for organizing a large antiwar rally in Madison Square Garden that month.432 The opponents of war proposed a public referendum on the war question, which presumably would be held before any Congressional vote. There was no guarantee that the outcome of a referendum would be peace, but the idea of giving the public a choice embodied the democratic principle and was thought to have a good chance of rallying public support. According to Michael Kazin:
In February, most American peace activists and associations embraced a popular referendum as the best and, perhaps, last chance to halt the march to war. Bryan asked the crowd at Madison Square Garden to urge it on their congressmen and senators. The Woman’s Peace Party and Emergency Peace Federation promoted it with public appeals and rallies. So did the Friends of Irish Freedom and the German-American Alliance, anxious as ever to show Wilson “that the vast majority of your countrymen and women want peace and abhor war.” Two new groups, the Committee for Democratic Control and the Keep Out of War Committee, the latter led by union officials and Socialists, formed almost solely to lobby for the referendum. In Chicago, ingenious pacifists paid five local theater owners to run the slogan “Let the People Decide” across their screens and then asked moviegoers if they favored going to war.433
The AUAM conducted a mini-referendum on its own, sending 100,000 postcards to voters in five congressional districts. The resulting “votes” returned were overwhelmingly for peace. In the House of Representatives, nine different bills proposing referenda were introduced. However, all were quickly tabled and the House Foreign Affairs Committee debated only one proposal for forty minutes.
- “We can keep American citizens off belligerent ships.”
- “We can refuse clearance to ships of the United States and other neutral countries carrying contraband and passengers on the same ship.”
- “We can repudiate responsibility for American citizens who are willing to jeopardize the nation’s peace by traveling as seamen with contraband on American or neutral vessels.”
- “We can, if necessary, keep all American vessels out of the danger zone for the present, just as the Mayor of a city keeps citizens in their homes when a mob is in possession of the street.” 434
Paul Kellogg, writing in The Survey on February 17, urged Congress and the president to “distinguish strongly” between the right of Americans to travel on U.S. ships and those who sail on “a foreign ship, carrying munitions and armed with a naval gun on deck.” He called on American citizens to voluntarily refuse to travel on belligerent ships. The Socialist Party took a step further and called for an embargo on American shipments to every belligerent nation.435
On February 28, 1917, Jane Addams and a small group of peace advocates met with President Wilson in the White House. In her memoir of 1922, Addams recalled that the president “announced the impossibility of any form of adjudication” and confessed “that war had become inevitable.” He indicated “that, as head of a nation participating in the war, the President of the United States would have a seat at the Peace Table, but that if he remained the representative of a neutral country he could at best only ‘call through a crack in the door.’” Addams reflectively asked herself “whether any man had the right to rate his moral leadership so high that he could consider the sacrifice of the lives of thousands of his young countrymen a necessity.”437
The war years: The peace movement under duress
The peace movement fell apart when the U.S. entered the war in April 1917. Many of the most prestigious organizations along with a number of prominent individuals put their peace ideals on hold and joined the war effort, leaving peace advocacy to pacifists, socialists, and “radical” intellectuals, in the main. Charles DeBenedetti, in The Peace Reform in American History, describes the secession of the conservative wing of the pre-war peace movement:
Legalist leaders of the ASIL [American Society of International Law] simply suspended their work, explaining that the world chaos made the study and extension of international law quite irrelevant. More aggressively, the CEIP [Carnegie Endowment for International Peace] set aside its low-keyed peace preachments and research in favor of the slogan, “Peace Through Victory,” while the APS [American Peace Society] endorsed Wilson’s campaign “to secure recognition of the claims of justice and humanity” through force of arms. The LEP [League to Enforce Peace] flung money, organizers, and pamphlets into a massive campaign to persuade the public that the war was being waged for the sake of a league that would protect the future peace against potential aggressors. Protestant peace spokesmen in the CPU [Church Peace Union], FCCCA [Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America], and WAIFTC [World Alliance for International Friendship Through the Churches] gravely blessed the U.S. intervention. Even more, church peace leaders joined LEP activists in forming the National Committee on the Churches and the Moral Aims of the War in a sustained attempt to give moral gloss to the American war machine.438
“More quietly,” writes Michael Kazin, “the peace movement was also losing the support of prominent liberal intellectuals,” among them the eminent Columbia philosopher John Dewey, suffragist leader Carrie Chapman Catt, peace movement leaders Lillian Wald and Rabbi Stephen Wise, and AUAM board member Paul Kellogg. Kellogg was swept up in Wilsonian idealism, stating that Wilson had “lifted the plane of our entrance into the war from that of neutral rights to an all-impressing fight for democracy.”439
Each organization in the peace movement struggled with its response. The AUAM debated the issue for five months without resolution. Meeting in September 1917, the organization divided into two. Half the members chose to follow the young pacifist social worker, Roger Baldwin, in forming the Civil Liberties Bureau (forerunner of the American Civil Liberties Union). The organization set forth as its main task advising young men facing conscription and aiding those seeking conscientious objector status. The other half followed Paul Kellogg who later organized the League of Free Nations Association (forerunner of the Foreign Policy Association), which DeBenedetti describes as “a new strain of liberal internationalism that supported U.S. intervention as the quickest way toward major international reform.”440 The association attracted prominent intellectuals such as John Dewey, Herbert Croly, and Columbia historian Charles Beard.
The Woman’s Peace Party, unable to decide what to do at the national level, left the question to its state and local chapters. Some local branches disbanded, some took up war relief, and some continued to promote peace. Of the latter was Crystal Eastman’s New York chapter which published the antiwar journal, Four Lights, despite periodic bans on distribution by government censors. The national WPP board, meanwhile, advanced placid proposals for a national referendum and for neutral mediation of the war, as though the U.S. were still neutral.441 Jane Addams carved out a middle position. She did not abandon her antiwar position, but she muted her voice so as to avoid prosecution and persecution. She and others presented testimony before Congressional committees in opposition to conscription and in support of freedom of speech. She worked with Herbert Hoover’s Food Administration in providing overseas relief and also opposed military training in schools.
The Socialist Party held an emergency meeting in St. Louis, April 7-9, 1917, just after the U.S. declared war on Germany. Of nearly 200 delegates attending, 140 voted to oppose U.S. entry, while only five voted to support it. A resolution was subsequently passed that began, “The Socialist Party of the United States in the present grave crisis reaffirms its allegiance to the principle of internationalism and working-class solidarity the world over, and proclaims its unalterable opposition to the war just declared by the government of the United States.” The resolution branded the U.S. declaration of war “a crime against the people of the United States” and pledged “continuous, active opposition to the war” and to conscription.442 The Socialist Party’s major newspapers and periodicals adopted this antiwar stance as well. The party subsequently became a prime target of state repression and vigilante violence. Government agents raided local offices and postal authorities prevented the circulation of socialist publications.
Stalwart peace activists came together in New York City on May 2, 1917, to reformulate plans and establish a new organization, the People’s Council of America for Democracy and the Terms of Peace, later shortened to the People’s Council of America. The Organizing Committee in charge was populated by a who’s who list of socialist and pacifist leaders: Emily Greene Balch, Roger Baldwin, Eugene Debs, Crystal Eastman, Max Eastman, Morris Hillquit, John Haynes Holmes, David Starr Jordan, Florence Kelley, Fola La Follette, Louis P. Lochner, Tracy Mygatt, Scott Nearing, Rebecca Shelley, and Frances Witherspoon. Lochner served as executive secretary and Jordan as treasurer. The first conference, held on May 30, was chaired by Judas Magnes, a prominent reform rabbi, who also delivered the keynote address.
Among the few African Americans to publicly voice opposition to the war were Chandler Owen and A. Philip Randolph of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, founders and editors of the socialist monthly publication, The Messenger. The journal urged blacks not to fight, enlist, or be drafted into the army. Embracing W. E. B. DuBois’s analysis of imperialism, the editors argued that the European nations were fighting over who would rule the non-white peoples of Africa and Asia. Randolph and Owen published a pamphlet in 1917, Terms of Peace and the Darker Races, urging a peace settlement that would end colonization and racial discrimination. “To maintain peace,” they argued, “we must remove the conditions which create war. Democracy must be enthroned. White and black workingmen must recognize their common interest in industry, in politics, in society, in peace.” To the president, they wrote, “Stop the disenfranchisement in the South which makes your cry of ‘making the world safe for democracy’ a sham, a mockery, a rape on decency and a travesty on common sense.”444
The following year, socialist Victor Berger of Milwaukee, Wisconsin won a seat in the House of Representatives. House members, however, refused to seat him. Berger had four strikes against him: he was born in Austria-Hungary; he spoke with a German accent; he was a leader of the Socialist Party in Milwaukee; and he opposed the war. Berger was charged with sedition under the Espionage Act for publicizing his anti-militarist views. He was convicted in 1919 and sentenced to a 20-year prison term, but the verdict was overturned by the Supreme Court. Berger was subsequently elected to three more successive terms in the 1920s.448
In the Congressional elections of November 1918, held just six days before the Armistice, President Wilson’s Democratic Party did poorly, losing four seats in the Senate and 22 in the House, becoming the minority party. Though victory on the battlefield was assured, the president reaped no political benefit. Republican leaders hailed the election as a repudiation of Wilson’s leadership. “The Republican victory,” said Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, “means a country-wide revolt against dictatorship and a desire to return to the constitutional limitations.” CPI director George Creel candidly suggested to the president that the administration had gone too far in silencing its former political allies on the liberal-left. In a letter to Wilson on November 8, Creel wrote, “All the radical or liberal friends of your anti-imperialist war policy were either silenced or intimidated. The Department of Justice and the Post-office were allowed to silence or intimidate them. There was no voice left to argue for your sort of peace.”449
- In the winter of 1921-22, the Washington Naval Conference resulted in a Five-Power Agreement aimed at limiting the naval arms race, signed by Great Britain, the United States, Japan, France, and Italy.
- In 1925, a Geneva Protocol banned the use of poison gases and bacteriological methods of warfare, although not their production and stockpiling.
- In 1928, the Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawed offensive war; the pact was signed by 62 nations.452
- In 1933, the U.S. announced the “Good Neighbor Policy,” foreswearing military interventions in the Western Hemisphere.
- Between 1935 and 1937, Congress passed three separate neutrality laws that placed an embargo on arms sales to belligerents, forbade American ships from entering war zones and prohibited them from being armed, and barred Americans from traveling on belligerent ships. Clearly, Congress was determined not to repeat what it regarded as the mistakes that had plunged the United States into World War I.
The Great War marked the beginning of a profound paradigm shift in which war is recognized war as an option to avoid, a problem to be solved, a disease to be cured. Ultimately, the goal is to remake social systems on the basis of cooperative and ecological principles, eschewing domination and aggression.
 “Wilson’s War Message to Congress, April 2, 1917,” WWI Document Archive, https://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/Wilson’s_War_Message_to_Congress; and Congressional Record, 65th Congress., 1st Session., Volume. LV, pt. I, pp. 212-13.
 Gerard J. Fitzgerald, “Chemical Warfare and Medical Response During World War I,” American Journal of Public Health, 98/4 (April 2008): 611-25, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2376985.
 Peter C. Wever and Leo van Bergen, “Death from 1918 Pandemic Influenza during the First World War: A Perspective from Personal and Anecdotal Evidence,” Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 8.5 (2014): 538–546.
 Carol R. Byerly, “War Losses (USA),” 1914-1918 International Encyclopedia of the First World War, https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/war_losses_usa; and “America’s Wars,” U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, https://www.va.gov/opa/publications/factsheets/fs_americas_wars.pdf.
 Stephen Bull, A History of Trench Warfare on the Western Front (United Kingdom: Osprey Publishing, 2014), 17; and Michael Duffy, “Weapons of War: Poison Gas,” https://www.firstworldwar.com/weaponry/gas.htm.
 “The Blockade of Germany,” British National Archives, http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/firstworldwar/spotlights/blockade.htm; and J. F. C. Fuller, The Conduct of War, 1789–1961 (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1961), 178.
 Stuart D. Brandes, Warhogs: A History of War Profits in America (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1997), 224.
 “President Advises Nation To Be Calm,” New York Times, August 4, 1914. George Washington, in his 1796 Farewell Address, said, “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world.” Thomas Jefferson, in his Inaugural Address of 1801, stated, “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”
 Woodrow Wilson: “Message on Neutrality,” August 19, 1914, The American Presidency Project, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=65382.
 On the number of vessels sunk by German U-boats, see Spencer C. Tucker, ed., World War I: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection, Vol. 1 (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2014), 1512. The Wilson administration issued a mild protest against the use of U.S. flags on British merchant ships only after the American press raised a fuss about it in February 1915; Britain responded that it would not prevent its merchant vessels from continuing the practice. See Ryan Floyd, Abandoning American Neutrality: Woodrow Wilson and the Beginning of the Great War, August 1914 – December 1915 (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 100-102.
 “U.S. Merchant Ships, Sailing Vessels, and Fishing Craft Lost from all Causes during World War I,” American Merchant Marine at War website, http://www.usmm.org/ww1merchant.html; and Gottlieb Von Jagow, “German Government’s Response to the Sinking of the Lusitania, 28 May 1914,” http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/lusitania_germanresponse.htm.
 In the sinking of the Lusitania, the large number of drowning deaths was due to the fact that the ship sank in just 18 minutes, a very short period for such a large ship. Some analysts have reasoned that a secondary explosion of ammunition stored in the hull occurred, precipitating the rapid sinking. The German government, while apologetic for the loss of civilian lives, argued that the ship was a legitimate target and was known to transport significant amounts of war material.
 John Updike, “Remember the Lusitania,” The New Yorker, July 1, 2002, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2002/07/01/remember-the-lusitania.
 Robert E. Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 1914-1924 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017), 63.
 See Charles Paul Vincent, The Politics of Hunger: The Allied Blockade of Germany, 1915-1919 (Ohio University Press, 1985).
 Robert Carlisle, “The Attacks on U.S. Shipping that Precipitated American Entry into World War I,” The Northern Mariner, XVII No. 3 (July 2007): 41-66, https://www.cnrs-scrn.org/northern_mariner/vol17/tnm_17_3_41-66.pdf.
 “Wilson’s War Message to Congress, April 2, 1917,” WWI Document Archive, https://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/Wilson’s_War_Message_to_Congress.
 Congressional Record, 65th Congress., 1st Session., Volume. LV, pt. I, pp. 212-13. By “either of these military zones,” Senator Norris meant the areas of the North Sea laden with British mines and the waters surrounding the British Isles declared a war zone by Germany. The idea of placing restrictions on U.S. merchant ships in order to avoid war was not unprecedented. In 1807, when the British Navy was stopping U.S. ships and sometimes seizing U.S. sailors believed to be Englishmen, President Thomas Jefferson banned all oceanic trade for a period of time.
 “Wilson’s War Message to Congress, April 2, 1917.”
 See Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 statement in support of a League of Nations in Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 1914-1924, 36. On June 17, 1915, some three hundred people gathered in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall to established the League to Enforce Peace (LEP), led by former President Taft. President Wilson endorsed the League when addressing the LEP on May 27, 1916; see President Woodrow Wilson, “Address delivered at the First Annual Assemblage of the League to Enforce Peace: “American Principles, May 27, 1916,” The American Presidency Project, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=65391.
 Charlie Laderman, “The United States and the League of Nations,” Oxford Research Encyclopedias, http://americanhistory.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199329175.001.0001/acrefore-9780199329175-e-314. For an in-depth examination of the British role in supporting and establishing the League of Nations, see Peter Yearwood, Guarantee of Peace: The League of Nations in British Policy 1914-1925 (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2009). The idea of world government stretches back two centuries. The germ of the idea was suggested by Charles Castel, Abbé de Saint-Pierre (1658–1743), in his Project for Making Peace Perpetual in Europe (1713). In the U.S., the American Peace Society, the first national peace organization formed in 1828, advocated the creation of a Congress of Nations. In the late 19th century, many international associations formed and promoted the ideas of world law, federation, mediation, and war prevention. For brief background on European thinkers, see “World Government,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/world-government.
 Carol R. Byerly, “War Losses (USA),” 1914-1918 International Encyclopedia of the First World War, https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/war_losses_usa; and “America’s Wars,” U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, https://www.va.gov/opa/publications/factsheets/fs_americas_wars.pdf. The high number of fatalities from disease was due in large part to an influenza epidemic that struck the U.S. in 1918 and spread overseas.
 Patricia O’Toole, The Moralist: Woodrow Wilson and the World He Made (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2018), 400.
 There is no way to prove “what if” questions, or counterfactual arguments. What if the U.S. had not entered the war? Historians have considered alternate possibilities, some envisioning an Allied victory (especially in early 1917), others envisioning a German victory (especially in early 1918); some estimating that the war would have gone on even longer than it did, others estimating a sooner ending, facilitated perhaps by mutinies on all sides. John Milton Cooper Jr., in Woodrow Wilson: A Biography (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009), assumes that, had the U.S. not intervened, the war would have gone on interminably, and thus he credits Wilson with shortening the war and saving “hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions” of lives (pp. 6-7).
 For an overview of wars, alliances, ententes, and great power politics preceding the Great War, see Gordon Martel, Origins of the First World War (New York: Routledge, 2017, 4th edition).
 Questions remain about whether Russia knew about or encouraged the assassination in conjunction with its allies, and whether it wanted to provoke war. See Harry E. Barnes, The Genesis of the World War: An Introduction to the Problem of War Guilt, rev ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1929).
 See Martel, Origins of the First World War, documents 34, 36, 37, 38. In Document 38, “Germany’s response to the Serbian Reply” (to Austria-Hungary’s ultimatum), the Kaiser wrote to his foreign secretary: “I am convinced that on the whole the wishes of the Danube Monarchy have been acceded to. The few reservations that Serbia makes in regard to individual points could, according to my opinion, be settled by negotiation.” Still seeking a way to enable Austria-Hungary to seize Serbia, he proposed “that we say to Austria: Serbia has been forced to retreat in a very humiliating manner, and we offer our congratulations. Naturally, as a result, every cause for war has vanished. But a guarantee that the promises will be carried out is unquestionably necessary. That could be secured by means of the temporary military occupation of a portion of Serbia, similar to the way we kept troops stationed in France in 1871 until the billions were paid.” In this way, the Kaiser turned an act of appeasement by Serbia into a cause for military occupation of the country.
 Adam Hochschild, To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011), 90-91.
 “Statement by Sir Edward Grey, 03 August 1914,” United Kingdom API Parliament information, https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/commons/1914/aug/03/statement-by-sir-edward-grey. The Treaty of London of 1839 guaranteed the independence and neutrality of Belgium. Signed by Britain, France, Prussia, Russia, and Austria, it required the signatories to defend Belgium in case of attack. Thus, had France invaded Belgium before Germany, even as a preventative military operation, Britain would have been obliged by the treaty to declare war against France. It was Germany, however, that made the fateful transgression.
 Hochschild, To End All Wars, 90-92.
 “Ten Significant Battles of the First World War,” Imperial War Museum, Great Britain, January 3, 2018, https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/10-significant-battles-of-the-first-world-war.
 “Ten Significant Battles of the First World War,” Imperial War Museum.
 Timothy C. Dowling, Virginia Military Institute, “Eastern Front,” October 8, 2014, 1914-1918 International Encyclopedia of the First World War; and “President Wilson’s Fourteen Points, Delivered in Joint Session, January 8, 1918, https://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/President_Wilson’s_Fourteen_Points. The promise to respect Russian self-determination was made by President Wilson in his Fourteen Points speech.
 “The Anzac Story,” http://www.anzacs.net/AnzacStory.htm; and Anne Bostanci, “How was India involved in the First World War?” 30 October 2014, British Council, https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/how-was-india-involved-first-world-war.
 In 1938, Armistice Day, November 11, was recognized as a national holiday in the U.S. In 1954, following the Korean War, Congress changed the name to Veterans Day.
 Nadège Mougel, “World War I casualties,” Centre européen Robert Schuman, http://www.centre-robert-schuman.org/userfiles/files/REPERES%20%E2%80%93%20module%201-1-1%20-%20explanatory%20notes%20%E2%80%93%20World%20War%20I%20casualties%20%E2%80%93%20EN.pdf; and Bull, A History of Trench Warfare, 17
 Tim Cook, No Place to Run: The Canadian Corps and Gas Warfare in the First World War (UBC Press, 1999), 37; Duffy, “Weapons of War – Poison Gas”; and Fitzgerald, “Chemical Warfare and Medical Response During World War I.”
 “The Blockade of Germany,” British National Archives, http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/firstworldwar/spotlights/blockade.htm; O’Toole, The Moralist, 159; and Holger H. Herwig, “Total Rhetoric, Limited War: Germany’s U-Boat Campaign 1917-1918, Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1 (1998), https://jmss.org/jmss/index.php/jmss/article/view/19/18. The figure of 763,000 wartime deaths also does not include 150,000 German victims of the 1918 influenza pandemic.
 Alan Kramer, “Atrocities,” International Encyclopedia of the First World War, January 2017, https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/atrocities; Benoit Majerus, “War Losses (Belgium),” January 25, 2016, 1914-1918 International Encyclopedia of the First World War, https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/war_losses_belgium; and Sophie de Schaepdrijver, “The ‘German Atrocities’ of 1914,” British Library (World War One), January 29, 2014, https://www.bl.uk/world-war-one/articles/civilian-atrocities-german-1914.
 Rodney Madison, “Air Warfare, Strategic Bombing,” The Encyclopedia of World War I: A Political, Social and Military History, Vol. 1 (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2005), 45–46. Air, sea, and artillery bombardments resulted in the deaths of 3,357 civilians in France, 1,260 in Great Britain, and 720 in Germany, the total of which was a very small proportion of all civilian deaths.
 “Countries that Recognize the Armenian Genocide,” Armenian National Institute, http://www.armenian-genocide.org/recognition_countries.html.
 Nadège Mougel, “World War I casualties”; and Daniel Gorman, “H-Diplo Forum on ‘Legacies of World War I Commemorative Issue,’” Diplomatic History 38:4 (September 2014), 793-94.
 Hochschild, To End All Wars, xiii, xv. See also, Jay Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History (Cambridge University Press, 1996).
 Hochschild, To End All Wars, 347, 302.
 Bertrand Russell, Justice in War-Time (London and Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Company, 1917; first pub. 1916), 16-17, 198.
 Julius W. Pratt, Vincent P. DeSantis, and Joseph M. Siracusa, A History of United States Foreign Policy (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1980), 259. Many historians and scholars who have studied the Great War have identified nationalism, militarism, and imperialism as underlying causes of the war. See, for example, Martel, Origins of the First World War, 6-8.
 Patt Morrison, “Historian Jay Winter: The five things Americans should know about the Great War” (interview), Los Angeles Times, June 24, 2014, http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-morrison-winter-20140625-column.html.
 Hochschild, To End All Wars, 35. The British also carried out massacres in Southern Rhodesia following resistance to their conquest by Shona King Lobengula.
 “History of Namibia,” History World, http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ad32.
 Martel, Origins of the First World War, 41.
 Ibid., 76.
 Spencer coined the term “survival of the fittest” in Principles of Biology (1864), after reading Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859). Charles Darwin’s half-cousin, Sir Francis Galton, was the father of the eugenics movement, aimed at inhibiting the reproduction of “inferior” people.
 Frank Ninkovich, “Theodore Roosevelt: Civilization as Ideology.” Diplomatic History, vol. 10, no. 3, 1986: 233–34.
 General Friedrich von Berhhardi, “Germany and the Next War (1914),” Document 40 in Martel, Origins of the First World War, 146-47.
 Justus D. Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War: A New History of America’s Entry into World War I (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2011), 25.
 In April 1898, the British government proposed a joint Anglo-American declaration calling for equal commercial opportunity in China. In September 1899, U.S. Secretary of State John Hay promoted an alternative version to the governments of Britain, Germany, Russia, Japan, Italy, and France, after which the U.S. became known as the champion of the Open Door policy. In most areas of the world, however, the great nations sought to maintain their “closed door” spheres of influence, as the U.S. did in Latin America and the Philippines. For a brief review, see “Open Door Policy – Laying down the policy,” Encyclopedia of the New American Nation, http://www.americanforeignrelations.com/O-W/Open-Door-Policy-Laying-down-the-policy.html#ixzz5QABFI43V.
 “Andrew Carnegie Proposes a League of Peace (1905),” in John Whiteclay Chambers II, The Eagle and the Dove: The American Peace Movement and United States Foreign Policy, 1900-1922 (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1991), 10-12.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 36.
 Hochschild, To End All Wars, 75.
 Martel, Origins of the First World War, 99; and Paul Laity, “1907-1914: The Pre-War Peace Movement,” 2002, Oxford Scholarship Online, January 2010: DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199248353.001.0001. See also, Thomas Richard Davies, NGOs: A New History of Transnational Civil Society (New York: Oxford Press, 2014).
 A. C. F. Beales, The History of Peace: A Short Account of the Organised Movement for International Peace (New York: The Dial Press, 1931), 234, 237. On the European peace movement, see also Justin Quinn Olmstead, ed., Reconsidering Peace and Patriotism during the First World War (Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).
 Sandi Cooper, Patriotic Pacifism: Waging War on War in Europe, 1815-1914 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 60-61.
 International Committee of the Red Cross, “Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and its annex: Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land. The Hague, 18 October 1907,” http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/FULL/195?OpenDocument. Consult Calvin C. Davis, The United States and the First Hague Conference of 1899 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University press, 1962); Davis, The United States and the Second Hague Peace Conference: American Diplomacy and International Organization, 1899-1914 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1976); and Cooper, Patriotic Pacifism, 101-110.
 For a cogent summary of Nobel’s views, see “Alfred Nobel’s Thoughts About War and Peace,” http://www.nobelprize.org/alfred_nobel/biographical/articles/tagil. On Suttner’s role in Nobel’s peace prize, see Heffermehl, The Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2010), 25-28. On von Suttner’s efforts to promote peace, see “Bertha von Suttner- Biographical,” http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1905/suttner-bio.html.
 Cooper, Patriotic Pacifism, 158.
 Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God and Peace Essays (translated by Alymer Maude; Oxford University Press, 1960), 517, cited in Sanderson Beck, “Tolstoy on the Law of Love,” http://www.san.beck.org/GPJ18-Tolstoy.html#1; and Peter Brock, Freedom from War: Nonsectarian Pacifism 1814-1914 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991), 212-219. The village schoolteacher was named Evdokhim Nikitch Drozhzhin.
 Julius Moritzen, The Peace Movement of America (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1912), 401.
 Hochschild, To End All Wars, 59; and David E. Sumler, “Opponents of War Preparedness in France, 1913-1914,” in Solomon Wank, ed., Doves and Diplomats: Foreign Offices and Peace Movements in Europe and America in the Twentieth Century (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1978), 112. At the 1907 conference of the Second International in Stuttgart, Germany, some 900 socialist delegates from various nations passed a resolution calling for gradual disarmament through arbitration and the replacement of standing armies with popular militias. Michael Kazin, War Against the War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2018), 11.
 Hochschild, To End All Wars, 68, 63, 86; and Solomon Wank, “The Austrian Peace movement and the Habsburg Ruling Elite, 1906-1914,” in Charles Chatfield and Peter van den Dungen, eds., Peace Movements and Political Cultures (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1988), 51.
 Hochschild, To End All Wars, 88.
 Ibid., 91-93.
 Michael Clinton, “Review of Justin Quinn Olmstead, ed., Reconsidering Peace and Patriotism during the First World War,” Peace & Change, 43 (2), April 2018, 258-60; and “Fellowship of Reconciliation, Historical Introduction,” Swarthmore College Peace Collection, https://www.swarthmore.edu/library/peace/DG001-025/DG013/dg13forhistintro.htm.
 David Cortright, Peace: A History of Movements and Ideas (New York: Cambridge university Press, 2008), 43-44.
 Eberhard Demm, “Propaganda at Home and Abroad,” 1914-1918 Online International Encyclopedia of the First World War, https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/propaganda_at_home_and_abroad.
 John Simkin “Christmas Truce and the First World War,” December 2014, Spartacus Educational website, http://spartacus-educational.com/FWWchristmas.htm. The website lists fourteen primary sources for the article, with quotes below from each. See also, Stanley Weintraub, Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce (New York: Penguin Books, 2001).
 President Woodrow Wilson, “Second Annual Message to Congress,” December 8, 1914, American Presidency Project, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29555.
 President Woodrow Wilson, “Third Annual Message to Congress,” December 7, 1915, American Presidency Project, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29556.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, xi-xii.
 John Kenneth Turner, Shall It Be Again? (New York: B. W. Huebsch, Inc., 1922); and Thomas Fleming, The Illusion of Victory: America in World War I (New York: Basic Books, 2003). See linked Historiography essay.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 294.
 O’Toole, The Moralist, 1-3.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 1 (epigraph).
 Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 45.
 H. W. Brands, “Woodrow Wilson and the Irony of Fate,” Diplomatic History, Vol. 28, No. 4 (September 2004), 503.
 Edward M. House, Philip Dru, Administrator: A Story of Tomorrow (New York: B.W. Huebsch, 1912); Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, 9, 10; Charles Neu, Colonel House: A Biography of Woodrow Wilson’s Silent Partner (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015); Godfrey Hodgson, Woodrow Wilson’s Right Hand: The Life of Colonel Edward M. House (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 48-53.
 Robert Tucker, Woodrow Wilson and the Great War: Reconsidering America’s Neutrality, 1914-1917 (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015), 147.
 Esposito, The Legacy of Woodrow Wilson, 34.
 Joseph Patrick Tumulty, Woodrow Wilson as I Know Him (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1921), 231.
 Pines, America’s Greatest Blunder. 34-39; Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 113; Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, 45. 81; and Rudyard Kipling, “Human Beings and Germans,” June 21, 1915, The Project Gutenberg eBook, New York Times Current History; The European War, Vol. 2, No. 4, July, 1915, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/26377/26377-h/26377-h.htm. In July 1917, Parliament established an above-board propaganda agency, the National War Aims Committee, which took over and expanded the functions of Wellington House. See David Monter, Patriotism and Propaganda in First World War Britain: The National War Aims Committee and Civilian Morale (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2012).
 Philip Knightly, The First Casualty: From the Crimea to Vietnam: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist, and Myth Maker (London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975), 120; and Arthur Ponsonby, Falsehood in Wartime (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1928), 130. Significantly ignored in the American press were British and French atrocities, including the shooting of Prisoners of War (POWs) and unarmed shipwreck survivors and the use of poisonous gases (along with Germany), and Russian atrocities in East Prussia, where 866,000 people were driven from their homes, 34,000 buildings were burned and an estimated 1,620 civilians murdered. See Docherty and MacGregor, Prolonging the Agony, 48.
 Kenneth D. Rose, The Great War and Americans in Europe, 1914-1917 (New York: Routledge, 2017), 75-76. Other Americans in Belgium reporting atrocities included Richard Harding Davis, E. Alexander Powell, Manly Whedbee, Robert Grant, Robert Herrick, James O’Donnell Bennett, and Will Irwin. United Press correspondent William Shepherd, in contrast, wrote in 1917 that he had spent a considerable amount of time in Belgium in late 1914 trying to find an authenticated atrocity story and had failed to do so (page 71). See also, Knightly, First Casualty.
 Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, 62. See also, Chad R. Fulwider, German Propaganda and U.S. Neutrality in World War I (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2016). Larry Zuckerman indicts the Germans in The Rape of Belgium: The Untold Story of World War I (New York: New York University Press, 2004), as does Alan Kramer and John Horne in German Atrocities, 1914: A History of Denial (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002).
 Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, 45.
 Kennedy, The Will to Believe, 68.
 Congressional Record, 63rd Cong., 3rd sess., LII, 3230, February 8, 1915; and Kazin, War Against War, 297.
 Tucker, Woodrow Wilson and the Great War, 86.
 Manfred Berg, “He Kept Us Out Of War!” A Counterfactual Look at American History without the First World War,” The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Vol. 16, Issue 1 (January 2017): 2-23 (part II), published online: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1537781416000438.
 Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 55.
 Ibid., 53-54; and Pratt, DeSantis, and Siracusa, A History of United States Foreign Policy, 234. Doenecke notes that later studies of the war by the historian Charles Callan Tansill and the journalist Walter Millis upheld the view of arms embargo proponents, insisting that the Wilson administration missed a valuable opportunity to bring the war to an early end by preventing arms sales, and that there was nothing whatsoever in international law to prohibit imposing such measures provided they applied equally to all belligerents.
 Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 55-57.
 Burton Yale Pines, America’s Greatest Blunder: The Fateful Decision to Enter World War One (New York: RSD Press, 2013), 107.
 Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 47-48.
 Mark Jefferson, “Our Trade in the Great War,” Geographical Review 3, no. 6 (1917): 474-80. In 1916, U.S. trade with the Central Powers amounted to only $8.8 million.
 Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 43.
 “Cotton Prices in the World Wars,” Monthly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, March 1944, 2, https://fraser.stlouisfed.org/files/docs/publications/frbrichreview/pages/65097_1940-1944.pdf
 Pines, America’s Greatest Blunder, 90-91. The article ran in the November 1915 issue.
 Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 52.
 David M. Esposito, The Legacy of Woodrow Wilson: American War Aims in World War I (Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing, 1996), 28.
 Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 52.
 Ibid., 29, 63; and Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 43. On January 25, 1915, Germany placed cereals and flours under government control to prevent hoarding and price-gouging. Two days later, Sir Edward Grey notified Ambassador Walter Page Hines that, since the German government had taken control of food rationing, all food cargoes to Germany would henceforth be subject to seizure. D. F. Fleming, The Origins and Legacies of World War I (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1988), 204.
 Spencer Tucker, ed., World War I, 1512; and “U.S. Merchant Ships, Sailing Vessels, and Fishing Craft Lost from all Causes during World War I,” American Merchant Marine at War, http://www.usmm.org/ww1merchant.html. See also, Paul E. Fontenoy, Submarines: An Illustrated History of Their Impact (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2007), 15-17.
 Gottlieb Von Jagow, “The Germans Defend Their Submarine Policy,” Berlin, May 28, 1915, p. 3, reprinted from U.S. Department of State, Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, 1915, Supplement: The World War (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1928), 419-421, online: http://mark.levengood.people.cpcc.edu/HIS132/LessonDocs/WWIdocs.pdf.
 “August 7, 1915,” The Literary Digest, Volume LI, July, 1915 – December, 1915 (New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company), 1915, page 235.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 65.
 Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 176, 183, 186.
 Rear Admiral M.W.W. P. Consett, The Triumph of Unarmed Forces (1914-1918): An Account of the Transactions by which Germany During the Great War Was Able to Obtain Supplies Prior to Her Collapse Under the Pressure of Economic Forces (London: Williams and Norgate, 1923). Gerry Docherty and Jim McGregor, in Prolonging the Agony: How the Anglo-American Establishment Deliberately Extended World War I for Three-and-a-Half Years (Walterville, OR: Trine Day, 2018), cast further suspicion on the British government, or some agents within, for allowing trade to reach Germany. They describe an incident in November 1916 in which a German vessel, The Deutschland, unloaded 341 tons of nickel, a mineral essential for hardening steel for weapons production, in Baltimore harbor, and then returned with a full cargo which included 6.5 tons of silver bullion. They point out another incident involving the American SS Llama, which, after its capture by British authorities, was mysteriously released and allowed to break the blockade. The ship was carrying a large supply of oil derived from international conglomerates which was allegedly sold in Germany at a high price. The authors suspect that American and British companies may have been profiting from fueling the very same U-boats which were also sinking American and British ships, which leads them to their thesis that the “Anglo-American Establishment” was conspiratorially extending the war.
 Tucker, Woodrow Wilson and the Great War, 132-33.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 46.
 Brian to Wilson, April 23, 1915, reprinted in William Jennings Bryan and Mary Baird Bryan, The Memoirs of William Jennings Bryan (New York: Haskell House Publishers, 1971), 396-87.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 46-47.
 O’Toole, The Moralist, 155, 159.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 47-48.
 The Resignation of William Jennings Bryan as Secretary of State and the Documents That Present the Issue (brochure, n.d.), 4-7, in William Jennings Bryan Papers, series 5, box 3, Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, NE.
 Robert Lansing, “Consideration and Outline of Policies,” July 11, 1915, in Tucker, Woodrow Wilson and the Great War, 32.
 See Haiti section in Roger Peace, “’Yankee Imperialism,’ 1901-1934,” United States Foreign Policy History and Resource Guide website, 2018, http://peacehistory-usfp.org/yankee-imperialism.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 55. For a complete list of ships sunk by German U-boats, month by month, see “Ships Hit during World War I,” https://uboat.net/wwi/ships_hit/losses_year.html.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 63; and Count Johann von Bernstorff, My Three Years in America, 1920, 128, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/30865/30865-h/30865-h.htm#page_127.
 Tucker, Woodrow Wilson and the Great War, 148. See also, George Viereck, Strangest Friendship: Woodrow Wilson and Colonel House (New York: H. Liveright, 1932).
 Tucker, Woodrow Wilson and the Great War, 146.
 Ibid., 160-61.
 Ibid., 166, 168.
 Ibid., 173.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 63.
 O’Toole, The Moralist, 187-89; and William L. Genders, “Woodrow Wilson and the ‘Preparedness Tour’ of the Midwest, January-February 1916,” Australasian Journal of American Studies, vol. 9, no. 1, 1990: 75–81.
 Kazin, War Against War, 104.
 Ibid., 106.
 “The Agitation Concerning the Right of Americans to Travel on Armed Vessels” (reprinted letters of President Woodrow Wilson and Senator William J. Stone, February 24, 1916) The Commercial and Financial Chronicle, Vol. 102, Part One, p. 766.
 Kazin, War Against War, 299.
 Tucker, Woodrow Wilson and the Great War, 204. Wilson, the academic president, was no doubt familiar with President James Polk’s subterfuge to embroil the United States in a war against Mexico in 1846 for the sake of obtaining Mexico’s northern territories of Nuevo México and Alta California. Polk, never admitting to this objective, sent U.S. troops into a contested border area, prompting Mexican troops to fire on them, after which he claimed that “American blood has been shed on American soil.” Although the ruse worked, it was too obvious and public opposition increased over the course of the war. In the 1848 elections, despite victories on the battlefield and a treaty transferring the desired territories to the United States, Polk’s Democratic Party lost control of the White House and Congress. See Roger Peace, “The United States-Mexican War, 1846-1848,” United States Foreign Policy History and Resource Guide website, 2016, http://peacehistory-usfp.org/US-Mexican War.
 O’Toole, The Moralist, 213; and Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 212.
 O’Toole, The Moralist, 224-25, 210-13.
 David S. Patterson, The Search for Negotiated Peace: Women’s Activism and Citizen Diplomacy in World War I (New York: Routledge, 2008), 197-98; and Kazin, War Against War, 47, 109-10.
 Kazin, War Against War, 135.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 73.
 Kazin, War Against War, 137-38.
 Ibid., 143; and Information Annual 1916: A Continuous Cyclopedia and Digest of Current Events (New York: Cumulative Digest Corporation, 1917), 159.
 Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 183; and O’Toole, The Moralist, 236. Lloyd made the statement on September 28, 1916.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 70-71; and “President Wilson’s Peace Note, December 18, 1916,” WWI Document Archive, https://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/President_Wilson%27s_Peace_Note,_December_18,_1916.
 President Woodrow Wilson, “Address to the Senate of the United States: ‘A World League for Peace,’ January 22, 1917,” The American Presidency Project, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=65396; and Kazin, War Against War, 142.
 The historian Richard Striner views Wilson’s phrase of “peace without victory” as a serious proposal, then notes that Wilson did not use the substantial economic leverage of the U.S. to force the issue on the Allies: “And if he had used this leverage to force an agreement on a non-vindictive peace before he went to Congress seeking the declaration of war, he might have succeeded in pre-committing the British and the French to ‘peace without victory.’ But he never even made the attempt – indeed, it appears that he never even thought of it. Instead, when the United States joined the allies, Wilson just gave them the financial assistance that they needed for free, no strings attached.” Striner then criticizes Wilson for “inattention to power orchestration, neglect of strategy,” and the like, but does not consider that Wilson’s memorable phrase was intended as propaganda aimed at the American people, not strategic policymaking. Richard Stiner, “Woodrow Wilson’s Blunders as a Wartime President,” History News Network, June 8, 2014, https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/155786.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 74-75.
 Ibid., 74.
 Robert M. La Follette, “The Armed Ship Bill Meant War,” March 27, 1917, New York City: Emergency Peace Federation (pamphlet), https://archive.org/details/armedshipbillmea00lafo. See also, Barnes, The Genesis of the World War, 600; and Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, 35, 36.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 76-77. Some historians have argued that German submarine warfare forced Wilson’s hand, that he was justified in retaliating for the pain inflicted on Americans by German U-boats. The esteemed U.S. diplomat George F. Kennan argued, contrarily, that a president may have the “privilege to defend the rights of our citizens to travel on belligerent vessels, but it is hardly a duty.” George F. Kennan, American Diplomacy, 1900-1950 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951), cited in Pines, America’s Greatest Blunder, 114. Wilson’s biographer Arthur S. Link of Princeton University was among the historians to support Wilson’s decision, claiming that Germany would have become a security threat to the United States if the United States hadn’t confronted them (Arthur S. Link, Woodrow Wilson: Revolution, War and Peace. New York: Wiley Blackwell, 1979, 306). However, Link, a deep admirer of Wilson, does not consider that Germany became more of a security threat because the United States supported British arms shipments and blockade; nor did Link compare the losses incurred by the U.S. during the war to the relatively minor losses during the period of neutrality. Political scientist Benjamin Fordham calculates that during the U.S. neutrality period from August 1914 to April 1917, 236 Americans were killed by U-boats, all except 14 being killed on ships flying the flags of belligerent states. Benjamin O. Fordham, “Revisionism Reconsidered: Exports and American Intervention in World War I,” International Organization, 61 (02), April 2007: 277-310, cited in Pines, America’s Greatest Blunder, 114.
 Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 285.
 Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, 31-32.
 “George William Norris Opposing U.S. Entry Into World War I, 4 April 1917,” Congressional Record, 65th Cong., 1st Sess., Vol. LV, pt. I, pp. 212-13, http://americainclass.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/antiwar-speeches.pdf. See also, Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, 32.
 Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, 33-36.
 Ibid., 31; and Kazin, War Against War, 181, 182-83.
 David M. Kennedy, Over Here: The First World War and American Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), 168-69.
 Ferdinand Lundberg, America’s 60 Families (New York: The Vanguard Press, 1937). Cleveland Dodge had no love for Labor. In 1915, miners who struck for higher wages in Dodge’s Arizona mines were violently beset by gunmen brought in from the city’s underworld, an example of his ruthless attitude towards organized labor.
 C. Hartley Grattan, Why We Fought (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1969), 142; and Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 57.
 Munitions Industry, Report on Existing Legislation, Special Commission on Investigation of the Munitions Industry, U.S. Senate, Pursuant to S. Res 206, Chapter 5: The Change in Loan Policy and Its Effect (Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O., 1936).
 Charles Callan Tansill, America Goes to War (Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1963), 114, 115; and Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 45.
 Lloyd C. Gardner, Safe for Democracy: The Anglo-American Response to Revolution, 1913-1923 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987),109.
 Pines, America’s Greatest Blunder, 90; Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, 69; Niall Ferguson, The Pity of War: Explaining World War I (New York: Basic Books, 1999), 328; and Munitions Industry, Report on Existing Legislation, Chapter 5, page 66.
 See Lundberg, America’s 60 Families, 133-148.
 Munitions Industry, Report on Existing Legislation, Chapter 5.
 H.C. Engelbrecht and F.C. Hanighen, Merchants of Death, with foreword by Harry Elmer Barnes (New York: Garden City: The Garden City Publishing Co., 1937), 173, 174, 177.
 Pines, America’s Greatest Blunder, 86; and Tansill, America Goes to War, 114, 115, 116.
 Munitions Industry Report, No. 944, 74th Cong., 2nd sess. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1936), pt. 5, 3: 25-26, 29-33.
 Ron Chernow, House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1990), 188, 189. When the United States formally joined the war, Stettinius, the former president of the Diamond Match Company and a speculator in the Chicago wheat pits, was appointed surveyor general of supplies for the U.S. army. His son became a prominent State Department officer during the era of the early Cold War.
 Lundberg, America’s Sixty Families, 133-148; Turner, Shall It Be Again?, 306; and Paul A.C. Koistinen, Mobilizing for Modern War: The Political Economy of American Warfare, 1865-1919 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1997), 123. Some of the appointees to the War Industries Board were Julius Rosenwald, head of Sears, Roebuck and Company; Daniel Willard, president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; Walter S. Gifford, then vice-president of American Telephone and Telegraph; Howard E. Coffin, president of the Hudson Motor Car Company; Alexander Legge, of the International Harvester Company; J. Leonard Replogle, steel magnate; Herbert Bayard Swope, brother of General Electric’s Gerard Swope; Clarence Dillon, of Dillon, Read and Company; Elbert H. Gary, chairman of United States Steel; James A. Farrell, president of United States Steel and son-in-law of Anthony N. Brady; and John D. Ryan, president of Anaconda Copper (Amalgamated Copper), Assistant Secretary of War, and head of the copper-buying committee.
 Engelbrecht and Hanighen, Merchants of Death, 173, 174, 177; Turner, Shall It Be Again? 275.
 Chernow, House of Morgan, 190; Koistinen, Mobilizing for Modern War, 118, 119; and Turner, Shall It Be Again? 283. The Nye committee was not able to obtain complete information about this so the full scale of Morgan’s war profiteering will likely never be known.
 Pines, America’s Greatest Blunder, 88; Ross Gregory, The Origins of American Intervention in the First World War (New York: W. W. Norton, 1971); and Hew Strachan, The First World War (New York: Penguin, 2005), 991.
 Engelbrecht and Hanighen, Merchants of Death, 176; W. A. Swanberg, Citizen Hearst: A Biography of William Randolph Hearst (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1961), 350, 359; and Turner, Shall It Be Again? 260. Calloway was a radical agrarian populist who subsequently lost his seat and retired to Comanche, Texas, where he died in 1947. Some of his statements were expunged from the Congressional Record. The charges though were retaken up by Congressmen Alfred Michelson, a Republican from Illinois in 1921.
 Pines, America’s Greatest Blunder, 95-96; and “National Security League,” National Teaching History Clearinghouse, http://teachinghistory.org/category/keywords/national-security-league.
 “Review from the New York Times, August 7, 1915,” The Norma Talmadge Website, https://web.stanford.edu/~gdegroat/NT/oldreviews/bcop.htm#nyt.
 Munitions Industry, Report on Existing Legislation, Chapter 5.
 Smedley Butler, War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America’s Most Decorated Soldier (Los Angeles: Feral House, 2003), 27, 28; Engelbrecht and Hanighen, Merchants of Death, 176, 177, 178; and Koistinen, Mobilizing for Modern War, 263. Utah and Anaconda Copper, the International Nickel Company, Central Leather and General Chemical Companies were also major war profiteers. In 1918, the real income of American farmers was 29 percent higher than it had been in 1915, a relatively prosperous year itself.
 Stuart Brandes, Warhogs: A History of War Profits in America (Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 1997), 140.
 Lundberg, America’s 60 Families, 133-148; Chernow, The House of Morgan, 195.
 Grattan, Why We Fought, 131; and Chernow, House of Morgan, 189. The Morgan bank actually undertook intelligence work for the British in the United States, and the British exempted the company from mail censorship in and out of Britain and allowed it to retain a special code for communication.
 Koistinen, Mobilizing for Modern War, 119, 120.
 Will Irwin, The Next War: An Appeal to Common Sense (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1921), 84. Coolidge quoted in Charles H. Beard, The Devil Theory of War: An Inquiry Into the Nature of History and the Possibility of Keeping Out of War (New York: The Vanguard Press, 1936), 104. On the red scare, see Regin Schmidt, Red Scare: FBI and the Origins of Anticommunism in the United States (Museum Tusculanum Press, 2000); and William K. Murray, Red Scare: A Study in National Hysteria, 1919-1920 (University of Minnesota Press, 1955).
 Paul A.C. Koistinen, Planning War, Pursuing Peace: The Political Economy of American Warfare, 1920-1939 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1998), 254.
 See William H. Leuchtenberg, The Perils of Prosperity 1914-1932, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993); and Barnes, The Genesis of the World War, 698. Barnes characterized it as a “League of Victors” rather than a league of nations which was essentially in the beginning an “Anglo-French organization,” although eventually it was “able to make a number of notable contributions to peace.”
 Koistinen, Planning War, Pursuing Peace, 293, 294; and Stuart D. Brandes, Warhogs: A History of War Profits in America (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1997), 224. See also, John E. Wiltz, In Search of Peace: The Senate Munitions Inquiry, 1934-1936 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963), which reflects a cold warrior’s view in its criticism of Nye.
 “Wilson’s War Message to Congress, April 2, 1917,” WWI Document Archive, https://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/Wilson’s_War_Message_to_Congress.
 Nationalist histories have reinforced this view by describing U.S. entry into the war as a time when America “came of age,” a kind of natural maturation into a full-fledged great power. See, for example, “The Great War: WWI…America Comes of Age,” an Insignia Films production for American Experience, distributed by the Public Broadcasting System.
 President Woodrow Wilson, “Address to the Senate on the Versailles Peace Treaty,” July 10, 1919, The American Presidency Project, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=110490.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 96.
 “John L. O’Sullivan on Manifest Destiny, 1839,” excerpted from “The Great Nation of Futurity,” The United States Democratic Review, Volume 6, Issue 23, pp. 426-430, https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/osulliva.htm. See also, Roger Peace, “The United States-Mexican War, 1846-1848,” United States Foreign Policy History and Resource Guide website, 2016, http://peacehistory-usfp.org/US-Mexican War.
 Full text of “A war of self-defense,” by Robert Lansing, secretary of state, and Louis F. Post, assistant secretary of labor, published by the Committee on Public Information, Washington, D. C., https://archive.org/stream/warofselfdefense00inlans/warofselfdefense00inlans_djvu.txt.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 122.
 The allusion here is to the Christian crusades. In 1095, Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade with a speech in Clermont, France, that urged the assembled multitude to wrest the Holy Land from the hands of the Infidel and also assured them that God would absolve them from any sin associated with the venture. (“The Crusaders Capture Jerusalem, 1099,” http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/crusades.htm.)
 Wilson also pushed the margins of executive power in the overall balance of power in the American government. Justus Doenecke writes, in Nothing Less Than War (page 5), “On crucial matters of foreign policy, Wilson often made major decisions alone. In his Constitutional Government in the United States (1908), he discerned the presidential initiative in foreign affairs as unlimited; the chief executive possessed ‘virtually the power to control them absolutely.’ Although acknowledging that the president could not conclude a treaty without senatorial consent, he believed that the chief executive could dominate every step of the diplomatic process.”
 See Roger Peace, “’Yankee Imperialism,’ 1901-1934,” United States Foreign Policy History and Resource Guide website, 2018, http://peacehistory-usfp.org/yankee-imperialism.
 O’Toole, The Moralist, 79.
 Kazin, War Against War, 203.
 President Woodrow Wilson, “Address to a Joint Session of Congress on the Conditions of Peace, January 8, 1918,” The American Presidency Project, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=65405.
 Kazin, War Against War, 190; Patterson, The Search for Negotiated Peace, 320; and Woodrow Wilson, “Address on Flag Day, June 14, 1917,” The American Presidency Project, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=65400.
 Kennedy, Over Here, 89. Wilson’s duplicitous character was a central theme of a 1921 book written by the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, William F. McCombs. In Making Woodrow Wilson President (New York: Fairview Publishing, 1921), McCombs writes in the Introduction that he was an admiring student of Professor Wilson at Princeton and later helped Wilson obtain the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 1912. He writes of Wilson’s character: “He was an opportunist. Suave in manner, he constantly strove to advance himself. . . . While President, he regarded himself not only as President, but Premier. . . . His juggernaut crushed those who dared oppose him.”
 President Woodrow Wilson, “Address to the Senate of the United States: ‘A World League for Peace,’ January 22, 1917”; and Tucker, Woodrow Wilson and the Great War, 197.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 132.
 Patterson, The Search for Negotiated Peace, 320; and Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, 132. Ross Kennedy, author of The Will to Believe: Woodrow Wilson, World War I, and America’s Strategy for Peace and Security (Kent State, 2009), similarly finds Wilson’s actions contrary to his self-made image as peacemaker. Kennedy writes: “Indeed, Wilson did everything possible to sabotage talks with the Germans. He rejected the Petrograd Soviet’s call for a peace of no annexations, no indemnities, and self-determination; denied passports to American socialists hoping to attend the Stockholm conference, a socialist initiative aimed in part at engaging the German left in peace talks; rebuffed Pope Benedict XV’s proposal for negotiations essentially based on a return to the status quo ante bellum; urged the British not to pursue peace feelers from Germany in September 1917; and rejected the Bolshevik invitation to participate in peace talks with the Germans at Brest-Litovsk.” Quoted from H-Diplo Roundtable Review, Vol. 20, No. 4 (24 September, 2018): “Review of Trygve Throntveit, Power Without Victory: Woodrow Wilson and the American Internationalist Experiment (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017).”
 Arthur S. Link, Wilson’s noted biographer, for one, promoted this benefic view of Wilson’s war aims and other historians have repeated it. See Patterson, The Search for Negotiated Peace, 320.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, xii. The debate over Wilson’s conception of the League of Nations has not been settled among historians. There was indeed a difference in emphasis between the Republicans and Wilson, as the former rarely talked about reducing armaments in concert with collective security arrangements, and some historians such as Ross Kennedy have viewed this as a major divide. Wilson, however, put forth no concrete proposals for disarmament. See Ross Kennedy, “Review of Robert E. Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 1914-24 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016), published on H-Diplo, July 2017, https://networks.h-net.org/node/28443/reviews/186281/kennedy-hannigan-great-war-and-american-foreign-policy-1914-24.
 “Roosevelt Flouts League of Nations,” Washington Post, August 4, 1918, cited in Emily S. Rosenberg, “World War I, Wilsonianism, and Challenges to U.S. Empire,” Diplomatic History, Vol. 38, No. 4 (September 2014), 852.
 See Roger Peace, “’Yankee Imperialism,’ 1901-1934,” United States Foreign Policy History and Resource Guide website, 2018, http://peacehistory-usfp.org/yankee-imperialism.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, xii, 294-95.
 Charlie Laderman, “The United States and the League of Nations” Oxford Research Encyclopedias, American History section, http://americanhistory.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199329175.001.0001/acrefore-9780199329175-e-314; and Stephen Wertheim, “The League of Nations: A retreat from international law?” Journal of Global History (London School of Economics and Political Science, 2012), 226-27, http://www.columbia.edu/~saw2156/TheLeagueAsARetreat.pdf. The Committee on the League of Nations was also known as the Phillimore Commission, after its chairman, Sir Walter Phillimore, a distinguished jurist.
 President Woodrow Wilson, “Address to a Joint Session of Congress on the Conditions of Peace, January 8, 1918,” The American Presidency Project, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=65405.
 “British War Aims Statement By the Right Honorable David Lloyd George,” January 5, 1918 (Authorized Version Issued by the British Government), 3, https://ia800304.us.archive.org/11/items/britishwaraimsst00lloy_0/britishwaraimsst00lloy_0.pdf. Lloyd George’s points differed from those of Wilson in establishing the sanctity of treaties (rather than the openness of treaties) as a condition of peace; this meant that secret treaties such as the Sykes-Picot Agreement (dividing up the Ottoman Empire) would be enforced. Secondly, the territorial settlement based on the right of self-determination was intended only for the lands of the Central Powers, not the colonial empires of Britain and France. Wilson’s unspecified verbal commitment to “self-determination,” in contrast, excited hopes among colonized people for liberation. This appealed to American idealism and could thus be used to justify going to war, but Wilson had no intention of abolishing British and French imperialism; nor did he have the power. Wilson thus set the stage for many to be bitterly disappointed at the Versailles peace conference. On the whole, Lloyd George was more careful in employing propaganda to promote his policies.
 Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, 387; and Woodrow Wilson, “Address at Memorial Hall in Columbus, Ohio, September 4, 1919,” The American Presidency Project, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=117361.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 109.
 “Mutiny on the Aisne,” World War I Centenary, http://ww1centenary.oucs.ox.ac.uk/war-as-revolution/mutiny-on-the-aisne; and Jay Winter and Blaine Baggett, 1914-18: The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century (London: BBC Books, 1996), 241. See also, Richard M. Watt, Dare Call It Treason: The True Story of the French Army Mutinies of 1917 (New York: Dorset Press, 1969).
 Tim Cook, “Anti-heroes of the Canadian Expeditionary Force,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, vol. 19, no. 2 (2008), pp. 171-193; Pauwels, The Great Class War, 1914-1917, 388; Alistair Horne, The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916 (Penguin, 1993), 318; and David Murphy, Breaking Point of the French Army: The Nivelle Offensive of 1917 (Pen and Sword Military, 2015), 128.
 Winter and Baggett, 1914-18, 241; and John Keegan, The First World War (London: Pimlico, 1999), 356-64.
 David Monter, Patriotism and Propaganda in First World War Britain: The National War Aims Committee and Civilian Morale (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2012), 21-22.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 108.
 Knightly, The First Casualty, 127.
 Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, 155; and Peter C. Wever and Leo van Bergen, “Death from 1918 Pandemic Influenza during the First World War: A Perspective from Personal and Anecdotal Evidence,” Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 8.5 (2014): 538–546.
 Knightly, The First Casualty, 130; and Michael S. Sweeney, The Military and the Press: An Uneasy Truce (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2006), 57-58. See also, Brian Best, Reporting from the Front: War Reporters During the Great War (South Yorkshire, United Kingdom: Pen and Sword Books, 2014).
 The United States Army in the World War, 1917-1919, Vol. 3 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1988, https://history.army.mil/html/books/023/23-8/CMH_Pub_23-8.pdf, page 4.
 President Woodrow Wilson: “Speech at the Opening of the Third Liberty Loan Campaign, delivered in the Fifth Regiment Armory, Baltimore: ‘Force to the Utmost’,” April 6, 1918, The American Presidency Project, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=65406.
 Colin Fraser, “Henry Johnson, Known as the ‘Black Death’ – America’s First World War Hero,” War History Online, February 27, 2018, https://www.warhistoryonline.com/world-war-i/black-death-henry-johnson-hero.html. Upon his return home, Henry Johnson was promoted to Sergeant but was denied medical benefits. Because of his injuries, he couldn’t keep a job. Descending into alcoholism, he died at the age of 32. His son, Herman Johnson, served in the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II. Along with New York Senator Chuck Schumer and others, Herman worked to have his father’s valor officially recognized. In the 1990s, a monument was erected in Albany in Johnson’s honor and President Bill Clinton posthumously awarded him the Purple Heart. In 2002, the U.S. Army granted him the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest military honor. In 2015, President Barack Obama awarded Johnson the top honor, the Medal of Honor.
 “A Slow Fuse – Hitler’s World War One Experience,” firstworldwar.com, http://www.firstworldwar.com/features/aslowfuse.htm; and “Adolf Hitler wounded in British gas attack,” October 14, 1918, https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/adolf-hitler-wounded-in-british-gas-attack.
 Kennedy, Over Here, 177; and “The Battle of Chateau-Thierry,” History on the Net website, https://www.historyonthenet.com/battle-of-chateau-thierry.
 William Manchester, American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964 (New York: Laurel, 1978), 111, 112; and Douglas MacArthur, Reminiscences of General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur (Annapolis: Bluejacket Books, 1964), 60. MacArthur wrote further of a German Lieutenant with shrapnel through his heart and Sergeant with his belly blown in his back.
 Kennedy, Over Here, 194; and Lt. Col. George M. Lauderbaugh, “The Air Battle of St. Mihiel,” Air University Military History, http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/ww1/stmihiel/stmihiel.htm.
 Edward Lengel, To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne, 1918 (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2008), 4; and “The Meuse-Argonne Offensive,” Doughboy Center, The Story of the American Expeditionary Forces, http://www.worldwar1.com/dbc/bigshow.htm. Participating in the battle were legendary figures like MacArthur, James Patton, George C. Marshall, “Wild Bill” Donovan, and Harry S. Truman as well as at least one notorious gangster, “Wild Bill” Lovett.
 American Battle Monuments Commission, “World War I Burials and Memorializations,” https://www.abmc.gov/node/1273.
 Thomas J. Knock, “Wilsonian Concepts and International Realities at the End of the War,” in Manfred F. Boemeke, Gerald D. Feldman, and Elisabeth Glaser, eds., The Treaty of Versailles: A Reassessment After 75 Years (Washington, DC: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 127.
 Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, 318, 327.
 Ibid., 331.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 183.
 Howard Jones, Crucible of Power: A History of American Foreign Relations from 1897 (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2001), 102-103.
 Theodore S. Woolsey, “The Provisions of the Treaty of Peace Disposing of German Rights and Interests Outside Europe,” The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 13, No. 4 (October 1919), 742; and Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 222.
 Adam Tooze, The Great War, America, and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916-1931 (New York: Penguin Books, 2014), 91; and Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 225.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 208-09, 214-15.
 Ibid., 213, 248.
 John Maynard Keynes. “When the Big Four Met,” The New Republic, December 24, 1919, 106-107, cited in Kevin C. Murphy, “Uphill All the Way: The Fortunes of Progressivism, 1919-1929” (Dissertation, Columbia University, 2013), 40-41.
 President Woodrow Wilson, “Address to the Senate on the Versailles Peace Treaty, July 10, 1919,” The American Presidency Project, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=110490.
 Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, 401, 404.
 The Versailles Treaty June 28, 1919, Part I: The Covenant of the League of Nations, The Avalon Project, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/parti.asp.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 242.
 Ibid., 242-43; and “Wilson Eulogizes American Dead,” Brandon Times (Brandon, Wisconsin), June 5, 1919, page one.
 President Wilson, “Address at the City Hall Auditorium in Pueblo, Colorado, September 25, 1919, The American Presidency Project, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=117400; and J. Michael Hogan, “Woodrow Wilson, ‘The Pueblo Speech’ (25 September 1919),” Voices of Democracy 1 (2006), 73, http://voicesofdemocracy.umd.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/hogan-wilson.pdf.
 Jennifer Rosenberg, “’Over There’ Song,” April 19, 2018, https://www.thoughtco.com/over-there-song-1779207.
 Steven Casey, Review of Mary Dudziak. “‘You didn’t see him lying . . . beside the gravel
road in France’: Death, Distance, and War in American Politics,” Diplomatic History 42:1 (2018): 1-16, published in H-Diplo, No. 781, July 10, 1918; and Lengel, To Conquer Hell, 31, 32.
 Dalton Trumbo, Johnny Got His Gun (New York: Bantam Books, 1939), 23, 24.
 Ibid., 116, 117.
 Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front (Boston: Little & Brown, 1929). The novel sold 2.5 million copies and was translated into 22 languages in its first 18 months, and was adapted into an Academy award winning film in the United States.
 Curtis Kinney, I Flew a Camel (Philadelphia: Dorrance, 1972).
 Quoted in Koistinen, Planning War, Pursuing Peace, 300. See F. Scott Fitzgerald et al., The Lost Generation Reader: An Anthology and History of Lost Generation Writers (Create Space Independent Publishing, 2012).
 Trumbo, Johnny Got His Gun, 1.
 Vannevar Bush, Modern Arms and Free Men: A Discussion of the Role of Science in Preserving Democracy (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1949), 10.
 M. Anthony Mills and Mark P. Mills, “The Invention of the War Machine: Science, Technology, and the First World War,” The New Atlantis, Spring 2014, http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-invention-of-the-war-machine.
 Guy Hartcup, The War of Invention: Scientific Development 1914-1918 (London: Brassey’s Defense Publications, 1988), 46.
 Inventions Section, War Plans Division, General Staff, Army War College, National Archives, College Park Maryland, Boxes 4-11; and James J. Hudson, Hostile Skies: A Combat History of the American Air Service in World War I (New York: Syracuse University Press, 1968), 272, 273.
 Richard S. Faulkner, Pershing’s Crusaders: The American Soldier in World War I (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2017), 2; and Michael Freemantle, The Chemists’ War, 1914-1918 (Cambridge, UK: Royal Society of Chemists, 2005).
 Faulkner, Pershing’s Crusaders; and Freemantle, The Chemists’ War, 1914-1918, 4. A description of the effects of white phosphorus is found in Thomas Gibbons-Neff, “U.S.-led forces appear to be using white phosphorus in populated areas in Iraq and Syria,” The Washington Post, June 9, 2017.
 Freemantle, The Chemists’ War, 1914-1918, 4; and Hartcup, The War of Invention, 94.
 See Michael Howard, The First World War (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007).
 Michael Adas, Machines as the Measure of Men: Science, Technology, and ideologies of Western Dominance (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989), 370. Novelist Frederic Manning poignantly described the descent into a mechanized hell in his antiwar novel Middle Parts of Fortune (Vintage Classics, 2014): “The air was alive with the rush and flutter of wings, it was ripped by screaming shells, hissing like tons of molten metal plunging suddenly into water. There was a blast and concussion of the explosions; men smashed, obliterated in sudden eruption of earth-rent and strewn in bloody fragments, shells that were like hell-cats humped and spitting, little sounds, unpleasantly close, like the plucking of tense strings, and something tangling his feet, tearing at his trousers and puttees as he stumbled over it and then face a suddenly, an inconceivably distorted face which raved and sobbed at him as he fell with it into a shell-hole.” Frederic Manning, Middle Parts of Fortune (Vintage Classics, 2014).
 The World War I Diary of José de la Luz Sáenz, ed. and with an introduction by Emilio Zamora, translated by Emilio Zamora with Ben Maya (College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 2014), 203, 228, 250.
 Lengel, To Conquer Hell, 204.
 Peter Kuznick, Beyond the Laboratory: Scientists as Political Activists in 1930s America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 17; and Ernest Volckman, Science Goes to War: The Search for the Ultimate Weapon–from Greek Fire to Star Wars (New York: Wiley, 2002). Only one American chemist refused to support the government in war gas research.
 Freemantle, The Chemists War, 219; Hartcup, The War of Invention, 114; and James B. Conant, My Several Lives: Memoirs of a Social Inventor (New York: Harper & Row, 1970), 49. Conant was also one of the overseers of the Manhattan Project.
 Gerald J. Fitzgerald, “Chemical Warfare and Responses During World War I,” American Journal of Public Health, 98, 4 (April 2008), 611-625.
 Ibid.; Joel A. Vilensky and Pandy R. Sinish, Dew of Death: The Story of Lewisite, America’s World War I Weapon of Mass Destruction (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005); “Weaponry: Lewisite – America’s World War I Chemical Weapon,” June 12, 2006, History Net, http://www.historynet.com/weaponry-lewisite-americas-world-war-i-chemical-weapon.htm. The war ended before these plans could be enacted. In World War II, the U.S. considered lewisite to be ineffective since they found that it was difficult to produce concentrated vapors of it and unless unconscious, subjects felt the pain of exposure and could gain protection. After discovering the formula, the Germans and Japanese carried out experiments on POWs and death camp inmates using lewisite and deploying experiments with it in World War II. Secret unethical tests with it may have continuously been carried out in the U.S. and Soviet Union during the early Cold War as well.
 Hugh R. Slotten, “Humane Chemistry or Scientific Barbarism? American Responses to World War I Poison Gas, 1915-1930,” The Journal of American History, 77, 2 (September 1990), 486.
 Vilensky and Sinish, Dew of Death.
 Freemantle, The Chemists’ War, 159; and Slotten, “Humane Chemistry or Scientific Barbarism?” 478, 492.
 Freemantle, The Chemists War, 160.
 Ibid. Haber died a broken man in Switzerland and some of his own relatives were killed by Zyklon B in Hitler’s concentration camps.
 Hartcup, The War of Invention, 114; and Ian Kershaw, Hitler: Hubris, 1889-1936 (New York: Penguin Books, 1988), 96, 97.
 Chemical Section, U.S. Army Operational Division, 8th Army, RG 338, Records of U.S. Army Operations, Tactical and Support Organization, Headquarters, National Archives, College Park, Maryland, Box 1435.
 Faulkner, Pershing’s Crusaders, 464.
 See Guy Cuthberson, Wilfred Owen (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014).
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 111-12; and Edward M. Coffman, The War to End all Wars: The American Military Experience in World War I (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1968), 76.
 Major Hermann von Giehrl, Battle of the Meuse-Argonne From the German Perspective (Silver Springs, Maryland: Dale Street Books, 2017), 51.
 Lifton was writing about Vietnam. See his Vietnam Veterans Neither Victims Nor Executioners (Boston: Beacon Press, 1973).
 Lengel, To Conquer Hell, 68.
 Ibid., 140, 98, 99.
 Byron Farwell, Over There: The United States in the Great War 1917-1918 (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1999), 174.
 Faulkner, Pershing’s Crusaders, 457. Arthur Yansen observed another GI “stamping a dead German’s face into a pulp,” shouting out ‘you dirty son of a bitch.” Gary Mead, The Doughboys: America and the First World War (New York: Overlook Books, 2000), 345.
 Faulkner, Pershing’s Crusaders.
 Leland Stevenson to Chief of Headquarters, 83rd Division, 2nd Depot, American Expeditionary Force, October 18, 1918, RG 120, Records of the American Expeditionary Force, World War I, National Archives, College park, Maryland, Box 1.
 Report French Journal de Bonne Table; Louest Éclair, Rennan, February 18, 1919, RG 120, Records of the American Expeditionary Forces, General Headquarters, World War I, National Archives, College Park, Maryland, Box 5808.
 “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” Three Centuries of American Wars, http://www.history-of-american-wars.com/post-traumatic-stress-disorder.html.
 Faulkner, Pershing’s Crusaders, 456.
 John Mikolsevek, “Patton in World War I,” Military History Magazine, June 17, 2016, https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/daily/military-history/patton-in-wwi/; The World War I Diary of José de la Luz Sanz, 202. See also, Stanley P. Hishson, General Patton: A Soldier’s Life (New York: Harper Collins, 2002).
 Rexmond C. Cochrane, Ph.D., U.S. Army Chemical Corps Historical Studies, Gas Warfare in World War I, the 89th Division in the Bois de Bantheville, October, 1918, Washington, D.C.,: U.S. Army Chemical Corps, 1960, https://www.scribd.com/document/366750109/No-18-The-89th-Division-in-the-Bois-de-Bantheville-Oct-1918; “Report of the 29th Operations of the 1st Gas Regiment,” RG 120, Records of the American Expeditionary Forces, World War I, National Archives, College Park, Maryland, Box 3295.
 Hudson, Hostile Skies, 272, 273.
 Ibid., 135, 172, 237; and Christoph Bergs, “The History of the U.S. Air Service in World War I,” April 10, 2017, http://centenaire.org/en/autour-de-la-grande-guerre/aviation/history-us-air-service-world-war-i.
 Lengel, To Conquer Hell, 5.
 G.J. Meyer, “That Time in World War I America When Censorship Was Legal,” Signature, March 6, 2017, http://www.signature-reads.com/2017/03/that-time-in-wwi-america-when-censorship-was-legal/. In July 1918, the War Department’s Military Intelligence Division established the MI-10 Censorship Section within the Negative Branch.
 Faulkner, Pershing’s Crusaders. On the memory of the Great War, see Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975).
 Faulkner, Pershing’s Crusaders, 457; and Mead, The Doughboys, 192.
 Faulkner, Pershing’s Crusaders, 549; Hunter Liggett, AEF: Ten Years Ago in France (New York: Dodd, Meade and Company, 1927), p. 207; Richard S. Faulkner, “Disappearing Doughboys,” Army History, Spring 2012, http://www.worldwar1.com/dbc/pdf/stragglers.pdf.
 Mark Humphries, “Willfully and With Intent: Self-Inflicted Wounds and the Negotiation of Power in the Trenches,” Social History, vol. XLVII, no 94 (June 2014), 369-397; Steven R. Welch, “Military Justice,” 1914-1918 International Encyclopedia of the First World War, https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/military_justice; and John Sweeney, “Lest we forget: the 306 ‘cowards’ we executed in the first world war,” The Observer, November 13, 1999, https://www.theguardian.com/world/1999/nov/14/firstworldwar.uk. They are commemorated by the Shot at Dawn Memorial in Staffordshire. The memorial was modeled on 17-year old British Private Herbert Burden, blindfolded and tied to a stake. No American soldiers were executed for desertion.
 “G-2 Operations Reports,” MVS to Major Gentsch, September 12, 1918, RG 120, Records of the American Expeditionary Forces, World War I, National Archives, College Park Maryland, Box 6039.
 Major Single List, ”The Battle of Booby’s Bluffs,” The Infantry Journal, 1921 (Washington: U.S. Infantry Association, 1922), 11, 27.
 “The Espionage and Sedition Acts,” Digital History, http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtid=2&psid=3479.
 E. V. Debs, “The Canton, Ohio Speech, Anti-War Speech,” June 16, 1918, https://www.marxists.org/archive/debs/works/1918/canton.htm.
 Kennedy, Over Here, 76; and Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, 191.
 Alonso, Peace as a Women’s Issue, 81. For analysis of the links between overseas imperialism and the growth of a repressive surveillance state under Wilson, see Alfred W. McCoy, Policing America’s Empire: The U.S., the Philippines and the Rise of the Surveillance State (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2009).
 Kennedy, Over Here, 82.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 102.
 Kennedy, Over Here, 67-68.
 Knightly, The First Casualty, 123.
 DeBenedetti, The Peace Reform in American History, 105.
 “I.W.W. Strike Chief Lynched At Butte,” New York Times, August 2, 1917; DeBenedetti, The Peace Reform in American History, 102; and Jerald A. Combs, The History of American Foreign Policy from 1895, 4th edition, (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2012), 91. The IWW had about 60,000 paid members in 1917, its twelfth year of its existence, and focused on organizing unskilled workers ignored by the American Federation of Labor. (Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, 138.)
 James Green, Grass-Roots Socialism: Radical Movements in the Southwest, 1895-1943 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1978), 371; and Janet Raye, “Night of Terror in Tulsa,” Hellraisers Journal, November 12, 2017, org/hellraisers-journal-night-of-terror-in-tulsa-iwws-taken-from-jail-whipped-tarred-by-knights-of-liberty. The mob followed the Tulsa World’s recommendations and whipped and severely burned 11 Wobblies who had been blamed for the bombing. They carried out their atrocities, they said, “in the name of the outraged women and children of Belgium.”
 Robert Cooney and Helen Michalowski, eds., The Power of the People: Active Nonviolence in the United States (Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1987, 51.
 Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, 107; and Brandon Weber, “Eugene Debs Got 1 Million Votes For President – As Convict Number 9653,” The Progressive, November 2, 2016, http://progressive.org/dispatches/eugene-debs-got-1-million-votes-president-as-convict-number-9653. For a detailed view of Socialist Party support, see maps in “Socialist Party Votes, Membership, Newspapers, and Elected Officials by States and Counties,” Mapping American Social Movements Through the 20th Century, http://depts.washington.edu/moves/SP_map-mix.shtml.
 Kennedy, Over Here, 18.
 Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47, 39 S. Ct 247 (1919); Charles F. Howlett, “The Courts and Peace Activism: Selected Legal Cases Related to Matters of Conscience and Civil Liberties,” Peace & Change, Vol. 38, No. 1 (January 2013), 6-32.
 Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, 141-42.
 Ibid., 189-90; and Zach, Saltz, “The Espionage Act and Robert Goldstein’s The Spirit of ’76 (1917): A Historical and Legal Analysis,” www.academia.edu.
 Gil Troy, “America’s First Minister of Propaganda,” The Daily Beast, March 27, 2016, https://www.thedailybeast.com/americas-first-minister-of-propaganda.
 Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, 118-19.
 Kennedy, Over Here, 72.
 Ibid., 55-57. As part of the propaganda offensive, Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, published ghost written memoirs which he acknowledged in a letter to Wilson, were written as an appeal to “the mass of Americans in small towns and country districts… to convince them of the necessity of carrying the Great War to a victorious conclusion.” In them, he fabricated a story, based on a mythic conversation with German ambassador Baron Hans Von Wagenheim of a meeting where the Kaiser allegedly gave German financiers two weeks to unload their Wall Street securities before a planned offensive against Britain and France, which was later introduced as evidence for imposing a punitive peace at the Versailles conference. See Jeremy Kuzmarov, “The Responsibility of Intellectuals Redux: Humanitarian Intervention and the Liberal Embrace of War in the Age of Clinton, Bush and Obama,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 24, No. 1, June 16, 2014. Henry Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story (New York: Doubleday, 1919), 86-87, online: https://archive.org/stream/ambassadormorgen00morguoft#page/n5/mode/2up.
 Minutes of the Trustees of Columbia University, XXXVII (March 5, 1917), Special Collections, Butler Library, Columbia University; and “German Zeppelins of World War I,” Military History Monthly, October 1, 2010, https://www.military-history.org/articles/german-zeppelins-of-wwi.htm.
 Nicholas Murray Butler, Scholarship and Service (New York: Charles Scribner’s & Sons, 1921), 115; Nicholas Murray Butler, “Commencement Day Address, June 6, 1917, Nicholas Murray Butler Papers, Special Collections, Butler Library, Columbia University; and Walter P. Metzger, Academic Freedom in the Age of the University (New York: Columbia University Press, 1955), 221-32.
 “Trial of the Nebraska Professors, A Reflection,” Educational Review LVI (December 1918), 415-23.
 H.C. Peterson and Gilbert Fite, Opponents of War, 1917-1918 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1957), 102-109; William E. Matsen, “Professor William S. Schaper, War Hysteria and the Price of Academic Freedom,” Minnesota History 51, no. 4 (Winter 1988), 131-137.
 Kennedy, Over Here, 57-58.
 Howard K. Beale, Are American Teachers Free? (Washington, D.C.: American Historical Association, 1936), 32-39.
 Charles F. Howlett and Robbie Lieberman, The American Peace Movement from Colonial Times to the Present (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2008), 209-210. See also, Hopkins v. Bucksport III Atlantic Reporter 119 Me. 734 (1920); American Civil Liberty Union files, CIX, 166 ff.; see also, “Community News, Bucksport,” September, 26, 1918, 18 Maine State Library; Lucinia Heath Hopkins vs. Inhabitants of Bucksport, Appellate Decision, 1920, Maine State Archives; “Remember This?” Bucksport Free Press (March 10, 1955), 5; “Obituary, Lucinia Hopkins,” Bucksport Free Press (November 16, 1965), 18.
 Charles F. Howlett and Patricia Howlett, “A Silent Witness for Peace: The Case of Schoolteacher Mary Stone McDowell and America at War,” History of Education Quarterly 48 (August 2008), 371-96.
 Charles F. Howlett and Audrey Cohan, John Dewey: America’s Peace-Minded Educator (Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 2016), 99-100.
 Charles F. Howlett, The American Peace and Justice Movement from the Early Twentieth Century to the Present (Lewiston, NY: Mellen Press, 2016), 60-62; Scott Bennett & Charles F. Howlett, Antiwar Dissent and Peace Activism in World War 1 America (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2014), 116-119.
 Randolph S. Bourne, “The Responsibility of Intellectuals,” in Carl Resek, ed., War and the Intellectuals: Collected Essays 1915-1919 (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1964; reprinted, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 1999), 3 ,4 ,5, 7, 8.
 Randolph Bourne, “The Handicapped” The Atlantic Monthly, December, 1911; Christopher Reardon, “Randolph Bourne’s 1911 Essay on Disability Shocked Society. But What’s Changed Since,” The Guardian, January 9, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2018/jan/09/randolph-bournes-1911-essay-on-disability-shocked-society-but-whats-changed-since; and Christopher Phelps, “The Radicalism of Randolph Bourne,” Socialism and Democracy, 21, 1 (2007), 123-131.
 Phelps, “The Radicalism of Randolph Bourne,” 123-131. Soon thereafter Bourne would be dead at age 32, a victim of the influenza epidemic. Phelps wrote that Bourne would “remain forever the intransigent, defiant outcast, forever young, forever the halfway revolutionary socialist with anarchist leanings.”
 Randolph S. Bourne, “Twilight of the Idols,” in War and the Intellectuals: Collected Essays 1915-1919, ed. Carl Resek (Indianapolis: Hacket Publishing, 1964),53, 54, 60.
 Ronald Steel, Walter Lippmann and the American Century (Boston: Little & Brown, 1980), 88-92, 96, 97, 95.
 Ibid., 113, 158.
 Ibid., 165; and Harold Stearns, Liberalism in America: Its Origins, Its Temporary Collapse, Its Future (New York: Liveright, 1919).
 George Blakely, Historians on the Homefront: Propagandists in the Great War (University Press of Kentucky, 1970), 11, 12, 13, 138; C. Hartley Grattan, “Historians Cut Loose,” American Mercury 11 (August 1927): 414-430; “Albert B. Hart of Harvard Dies,” New York Times, June 17, 1943, 21. Hart was an authority on George Washington who headed a national commission commemorating the 200th year anniversary of his birth. He also wrote books on slavery and the civil war and though a believer in the racial inferiority of African-Americans, supervised the doctoral thesis of W.E.B DuBois at Harvard.
 Upton Sinclair, The Goose Step: A Study of American Education (Albert & Charles Boni, 1922, 1923), 18. See also Clyde Barrows, Universities and the Capitalist State: Corporate Liberalism and the Reconstruction of American Higher Education, 1894-1928 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990).
 Blakely, Historians on the Homefront, 38.
 Ibid., 37, 38, 98, 40, 41, 43, 47, 49. Another widely circulated pamphlet, “The War Message and the Facts Behind It,” reproduced Wilson’s April 2 pro-war speech with added information and comments. “The Tentacles of the German Octopus,” by Earl E. Sperry of Princeton University, classified German American newspapers, clubs, schools and churches as dangerous appendages of the German government. “German War Practices,” meanwhile, was a rather amateurish account of German war atrocities that drew largely on unverified secondary accounts.
 Blakely, Historians on the Homefront, 145, 146; Carl Becker, New Liberties for Old (New Haven, 1941), 66. Becker wrote that “We were only professors, but the world was still young and we wanted to do something to beat the Hun and make the world safe for democracy.”
 Barnes, The Genesis of the World War; and Grattan, “Historians Cut Loose,” 430. Historian Charles H. Beard, also initially supported the war, though he resigned from his position at Columbia to protest the firing of two anti-war professors.
 H.L. Mencken, “Star Spangled Men” The New Republic, 24 (September 29, 1920), 119.
 DeBenedetti, The Peace Reform in American History, 103; Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 111; and Pines, America’s Greatest Blunder, 136-37.
 Kennedy, Over Here, 162.
 Hannigan, The Great War and American Foreign Policy, 110-11; and “World War I Draft Registration Cards,” National Archives, Military Records, https://www.archives.gov/research/military/ww1/draft-registration.
 James Weinstein, “Anti-War Sentiment and the Socialist Party, 1917-1918,” Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 74, No. 2, 1959, 217-18.
 Ibid., 217.
 Kazin, War Against the War, 207.
 James Green, Grass Roots Socialism: Radical Movements in the Southwest, 1895-1943 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1978), 364.
 Nigel Anthony Sellars. “Green Corn Rebellion,” Oklahoma Historical Society, http://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=GR022; and Chambers, The Eagle and the Dove, lx-lxi. A fictional account of the abortive rebellion can be found in William Cunningham’s novel The Green Corn Rebellion. See also, Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz and John Womack, “Dreams of Revolution: Oklahoma 1917,” Monthly Review Magazine, November, 2010; William Cunningham, The Green Corn Rebellion, introduction by Nigel A. Sellars (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2010); and Nigel Sellars, Oil, Wheat and Wobblies: The Industrial Workers of the World in Oklahoma, 1905-1930 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998).
 Green, Grass-Roots Socialism, 365.
 Ibid., 217; and Kennedy, Over Here, 166-67.
 Arver v. United States, 245 U.S. 390 (1918).
 Goldman v. United States, 245 U.S. 474 (1918); and Ruthenberg v. United States, 245 U.S. 480 (1918)].
 DeBenedetti, The Peace Reform in American History, 103; Luke Schleif, “Conscientious Objectors,” 1914-1918 International Encyclopedia of the First World War, October 8, 2014, https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/conscientious_objectors; and Chatfield, For Peace and Justice, 68, 70-71. See also, “Life in the American Army Camps,” a digital history project of Swarthmore College Peace Collection, http://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/exhibits/show/learning-more/army-camps.
 Coffman, The War to End all Wars, 74, 71; and Mead, The Doughboys, 363.
 Coffman, The War to End all Wars, 75; and Farwell, Over There, 53.
 Chatfield, For Peace and Justice, 71-72; and DeBenedetti, The Peace Reform in American History, 103.
 Coffman, The War to End all Wars, 76; and Farwell, Over There, 53.
 John Nevin Sayre, “Instrument for Peace.” Unpublished memoir, pp. 64-68, In John Nevin Sayre Papers, DG 117, Swarthmore College Peace Collection.
 Duane Stoltzfus, Pacifists in Chains: The Persecution of the Hutterites During the Great War (John Hopkins University Press, 2013).
 Sayre, “Instrument for Peace.”
 Chad L. Williams, Torchbearers of Democracy: African American Soldiers in the World War I Era (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2010), 81.
 Kennedy, Over Here, 162; and Ulysses Lee, The Employment of Negro Troops (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2001), 15. Robert Bullard wrote these words in his 1925 published memoir, but the same attitude was reflected in his journal entries in the fall of 1918. Bullard’s discrediting of African American soldiers undermined the “optimistic reception” of reports of Negro soldiers fighting in the war and became a public controversy, according to Lee.
 Christopher Capozzola, “Review Essay: From Harlem to the Rhine: New Perspectives on African-American Military Service in the First World War,” New York History, Fenimore Art Museum, Vol. 95, No. 4 (2010), 371.
 Chad Williams, “African Americans and World War I, Africana Age, https://web.archive.org/web/20140413185032/http://exhibitions.nypl.org/africanaage/essay-world-war-i.html.
 Ibid.; and C. Calvin Smith, “The Houston Riot of 1917, Revisited,” The Houston Review, 13 (2): 85–95, https://houstonhistorymagazine.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/houston-riot-1917-revisited.pdf.
 Jami Bryan, “Fighting for Respect: African-American Soldiers in WWI,” On Point (an Army Historical Foundation publication), https://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/wwi/articles/fightingforrespect.aspx.
 The World War I Diary of José de la Luz Sáenz, ed. and with an introduction by Emilio Zamora, translated by Emilio Zamora with Ben Maya (College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 2014), 9-11.
 “Kings Going Forth to War,” New York Times, April 2, 1914.
 Pines, America’s Greatest Blunder, 30.
 Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard, The New Basic History of the United States (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1968) 128; and Brian D’Haeseleer and Roger Peace, “The War of 1898 and the U.S.-Filipino War, 1899-1902,” United States Foreign Policy History and Resource Guide website, 2016, http://peacehistory-usfp.org/1898-1899.
 Pines, America’s Greatest Blunder, 27-28; and Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 16.
 Pines, America’s Greatest Blunder, 28; Brendan Daly, “Facts about Great Famine emigration out of Ireland revealed,” January 24, 2017, Irish Central, https://www.irishcentral.com/news/new-facts-about-great-famine-emigration-out-of-ireland-revealed-139540423-23778842; and Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 17.
 President Woodrow Wilson, “Address to Naturalized Citizens at Convention Hall, Philadelphia, May 10, 1915,” and “Fifth Annual Message, December 4, 1917,” The American Presidency Project.
 Bennett and Howlett, eds., Antiwar Dissent and Peace Activism in World War I America, 3; and James L. Tyron, Introduction in Jules Moritzen, The Peace Movement of America (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1912), xviii. The median years of completed schooling in 1910 for Americans age 25 and older was 8.1 years. School enrollment of 5-19 year-olds in 1910 was 61% for whites and 45% for blacks, with male and female in roughly equal proportion. Thomas D. Snyder, editor, National Center for Educational Statistics, “120 Years of American Education: A Statistical Portrait” (U.S. Department of Education, 1993), https://nces.ed.gov/pubs93/93442.pdf.
 “Jane Addams and the Promotion of Peace and Social Justice among the Masses,” in Charles F. Howlett and Ian Harris, Books Not Bombs: Teaching Peace since the Dawn of the Republic (Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, 2010), 56-62; and Jane Addams, Newer Ideals of Peace (New York: Macmillan & Co., 1907), 60-67 & passim. Following U.S. entry into the war, some government leaders questioned Addams’s patriotism, while her worst detractors labeled her “the most dangerous woman in America.” In 1931, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her life-long work for peace and justice.
 Harriet Hyman Alonso, Peace as a Women’s Issue: A History of the U.S. Movement for World Peace and Women’s Rights (Syracuse University Press, 1993), 8-14. The ideas and actions of these women peace activists helped define the meaning and content of the modern peace movement.
 William James, “The Moral Equivalent of War,” http://engl099-marks.wikispaces.umb.edu/file/view/James+Moral+Equivalent.pdf. James’ essay, originally a speech in 1906, was later published in an essay collection in Representative Essays in Modern Thought, edited by Harrison Ross Steeves, in 1913 (after James’ death in 1910). His thesis laid part of the intellectual groundwork for the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression of the 1930s. For more on William James’s developing views on war, see Paul Croce, “William James’s Psychological Prelude to Politics: What Place for Moral Equivalents in American Polarization on the Potomac and the Jordan?” William James Studies, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Spring 2018): 142-76, http://williamjamesstudies.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/7.-Croce_James-Psychological-Prelude-to-Politics-Spring-2018-3-22-142-176.pdf.
 Peter van den Dungen, “Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,” in Mitchell K. Hall, ed., Opposition to War: An Encyclopedia of U.S. Peace and Antiwar Movements by (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2018), 108-110. Though committed to peace, Carnegie’s U.S. Steel company profited from selling armor plate to the U.S. Navy.
 David S. Patterson, Toward a Warless World: The Travail of the American Peace Movement, 1887-1914 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1977), 141-47; Howlett and Lieberman, The American Peace Movement, 172-75; and Michael Lutzker, “The ‘Practical’ Peace Advocates: An Interpretation of the American Peace Movement, 1898-1917 (Ph.D. diss. Rutgers University, 1969), passim.]
 See “Elihu Root, Biographical,” Nobelprize.org, https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1912/root-bio.html.
 See John A. Hobson, Imperialism: A Study (1902), Online Library, http://files.libertyfund.org/files/127/0052_Bk.pdf. Hobson was a member of the British Fabian Society.
 John Haynes Holmes, “War and the Social Movement,” Survey, September 26, 1914, 629-30, cited in Bennett and Howlett, Antiwar Dissent and Peace Activism in World War I, 11; and Howlett and Lieberman, The American Peace Movement, 184-86.
 Ella Lyman Cabot et al., A Course in Citizenship (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1914); “Fannie Fern Andrews, The American School Peace League, and the First Peace Studies Curriculum.” In Howlett and Harris, Books Not Bombs, 64-70; Susan Zeiger, “Teaching Peace: Lessons from a Peace Studies Curriculum of the Progressive Era,” Peace & Change 25 (January 2000), 52-69.
 Threlkeld, “American School Peace League.”
 Patterson, The Search for Negotiated Peace, 25-26.
 Charles Chatfield, For Peace and Justice: Pacifism in America, 1914-1941 (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971), 18.
 Harriet H. Alonso, ed., Women at The Hague: The International Congress of Women and Its Results (Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2003), 76-77. Among the prominent individuals in attendance were Americans Jane Addams and Emily Greene Balch, both later recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, Alice Hamilton and Aletta H. Jacobs of the Netherlands, Chrystal Macmillan of Great Britain, Rosa Genoni of Italy, Rosika Schwimmer and Olga Misar of Austria-Hungary, Marguerite Sarten of Belgium, Dr. Anita Augspurg of Germany, Dr. Emily Arnesen of Norway, and Anna Kleman of Sweden.
 Patterson, The Search for Negotiated Peace, 75-81.
 “The Hague Conference 1915,” The Peace Pledge Union, http://menwhosaidno.org/context/women/hague_1.html.
 Patterson, The Search for Negotiated Peace, 82-103.
 Barbara S. Kraft, The Peace Ship: Henry Ford’s Pacifist Adventure in the First World War (New York: Macmillan Co., 1978).
 Frank Ernest Hill and Allan Nevins, “Henry Ford and His Peace Ship,” American Heritage, February 1958, Vol. 9, Issue 2, https://www.americanheritage.com/content/henry-ford-and-his-peace-ship.
 “President Wilson Speaks Privately about Mediation to the American Neutral Conference Committee (1916),” in Chambers, The Eagle and the Dove, 90.
 Patterson, The Search for Negotiated Peace, 232.
 Kazin, War Against War, 38. Al Pianadosi and Alfred Bryan, “I Didn’t Raise My Boy To Be a Soldier.” Recording: Edison Collection, Library of Congress. The song writer, Alfred Bryan, wrote a contrary sequel in 1917, “It’s Time For Every Boy To Be a Soldier,” an indication of how the mood of the country shifted once war was declared.
 Nancy Gentile Ford, The Great War and America: Civil-military Relations during World War I (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2008), 10.
 Kennedy, Over Here, 180-82, 179.
 Kazin, War Against War, 33-34, 17, 38.
 Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 40; and “The Preparedness Movement,” The United States World War One Centennial Commission, https://www.worldwar1centennial.org/index.php/illinois-in-wwi/934-illinois-in-wwi-article-2.html. See also, John Garry Clifford, The Citizen Soldiers: The Plattsburg Training Camp Movement, 1913-1920 (Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 1972.
 Pines, America’s Greatest Blunder, 102.
 Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 106. Maxim had previously assisted in the writing of Roy Norton’s 1907 novel The Vanishing Fleets, serialized in the Associated Sunday Magazine, which centered on a father-daughter genius team, Dr. William and Norma Roberts, who construct a fleet of gigantic anti-gravity radio-planes which bestow on the U.S. “the greatest engine of war that science has ever known.” After America is subject to sneak attack by Japan, assisted by communist spies, and gives up its Philippines colony, the President feels he has a duty to use “this most deadly machine ever conceived – as a means of controlling and thereby ending wars for all time.” The Japanese are vanquished, dying in vast numbers, as science brings “an end to brute force and barbarism.” Roberts’ inventions bestowed so much power the U.S. could now not only “conquer the world but destroy the inhabitants of other nations” though chooses to “utilize its strength for the benefit of all men.” Roy Norton, The Vanishing Fleets (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1908); H. Bruce Franklin, War Stars: The Superweapon and the American Imagination, rev ed. (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2008), 41-43.
 Pines, America’s Greatest Blunder, 93-94, 97-98.
 Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 39-40; and Cooney and Michalowski, eds., The Power of the People, 38-39.
 Chatfield, For Peace and Justice, 21; and Kazin, War Against War, 45.
 and “Jane Addams writes to Woodrow Wilson about dangers of preparing for war,” October 29, 1915, https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/jane-addams-writes-to-woodrow-wilson-about-dangers-of-preparing-for-war.
 DeBenedetti, The Peace Reform in American History, 95.
 C. Roland Marchand, The American Peace Movement and Social Reform, 1898-1918 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015), 240. See also, “American Union Against Militarism Records, 1915-1922,” Swarthmore College Peace Collection, DG004, https://www.swarthmore.edu/library/peace/DG001-025/DG004AUAM.htm.
 Barbara J. Steinson, “Woman’s Peace Party (WPP), in Mitchell, Opposition to War: An Encyclopedia of U.S. Peace and Antiwar Movements, Vol. 2, 715-17; and DeBenedetti, The Peace Reform in American History, 96.
 “Statement of Mr. Frank Donnblazer,” in Senate Committee on Military Affairs, “Preparedness for National Defense,” Hearings, 64th Cong., 1st sess. (Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1916), pt. 21, 8 February 1916, 1042-44, reprinted in Scott H. Bennett and Charles F. Howlett, eds., Antiwar Dissent and Peace Activism in World War I America (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2014), 100-102.
 Patterson, The Search for Negotiated Peace, 192-93; and Chatfield, For Peace and Justice, 23.
 Kazin, War Against War, 82.
 Pines, America’s Greatest Blunder, 96-97.
 Chambers, The Eagle and the Dove, l-li.
 DeBenedetti, The Peace Reform in American History, 96-97. Wilson’s “New Freedom” platform promoted anti-trust legislation designed to break up big business monopolies, but he opposed the main thrust of progressive reform, which was government regulation of big business. The ideal of the “New Freedom” platform was a return to small-scale “free enterprise,” which appealed to many voters but had no chance of succeeding in the big business corporate economy. Ironically, during the war years, the Wilson administration presided over the largest government takeover of the economy in U.S. history up to that time, which was oddly enticing to progressives who did not discriminate between the ends of war and peace.
 Pines, America’s Greatest Blunder, 102; and Patterson, The Search for Negotiated Peace, 193.
 Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 214-15; and Tim Watts, “A. L. Benson,” in James Ciment, ed., The Home Front Encyclopedia: United States, Britain, and Canada in World Wars I and II, Vol. 1 (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2007), 22-23.
 Kazin, War Against War, 148-49.
 Chatfield, For Peace and Justice, 26-27.
 Kazin, War Against War, 150.
 The Woman’s Peace Party, “Eight Alternatives to War,” reprinted in Bennett and Howlett, eds., Antiwar Dissent and Peace Activism in World War I America, 52-53.
 Kazin, War Against War, 151, 156. The Socialist Party issued the statement on February 2, 1917.
 The idea here follows the organizing strategies of Mohandas Gandhi in his campaign against British rule in India and of Martin Luther King, Jr. in his movement for civil rights. These leaders did not attack the whole injustice of imperialism or racism, respectively, but set out to change a specific policy, a single manifestation of the larger injustice, namely, the British ban on producing salt and the segregation of public buses in Montgomery, Alabama. The great energy of their movements was focused, like a magnifying glass concentrating light, on one particular objective at one particular place and time.
 “Jane Addams’ Recollection of the February 28, 1917, Meeting with Wilson (1922),” in Chambers, The Eagle and the Dove, 107-108.
 Charles DeBenedetti, The Peace Reform in American History (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980), 98.
 Kazin, War Against War, 176; and Kennedy, Over Here, 35. On John Dewey, see Howlett and Cohan, John Dewey.
 DeBenedetti, The Peace Reform in American History, 99. Kellogg organized the League of Free Nations Association in April 1918.
 Barbara J. Stinson, “Woman’s Peace Party (WPP),” Opposition to War: An Encyclopedia of U.S. Peace and Antiwar Movements, ed. Mitchell K. Hall (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2018), 717.
 Cooney and Michalowski, eds., The Power of the People, 52; and Weinstein, “Anti-War Sentiment and the Socialist Party,” 219.
 People’s Council of America for Democracy and Peace Collected Records, 1917-1919 (historical summary),” Swarthmore College Peace Collection, https://www.swarthmore.edu/library/peace/CDGA.M-R/pcadp.htm; and DeBenedetti, The Peace Reform in American History, 102.
 Bennett and Howlett, eds., Antiwar Dissent, 163-168.
 Fleming, The Illusion of Victory, 108. See also, Jonathan Rosenberg, How Far the Promised Land? World Affairs and the American Civil Rights Movement from the First World War to Vietnam (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006): The NAACP’s 1917 annual report, entitled “Freeing America” expressed the hope that the “present horror of war” might lead to “a new birth of freedom,” but also warned that the mission abroad would be hollow without a transformation of the caste system at home (page 39).
 Coffman, The War to End all Wars, 69; Faulkner, Pershing’s Crusaders, 244; Chad Williams, “World War I in the Imagination of W.E.B DuBois,” Modern American History, 1, 1 (March 2018), 3-22. DuBois wrote an essay, “The African Roots of War,” published in the Atlantic Monthly (May 1915), in which he examined the imperial appetite of European nations for the plundered wealth and resources of sub-Saharan Africa. He called upon democratically minded leaders of the white race in Europe and the United States to end racism and exploitation of “colored” peoples throughout the world. In later years, DuBois adopted a radical socialist outlook, resigned from the NAACP in 1934, and opposed the Korean War (1950-53). See also, Howlett and Lieberman, A History of the American Peace Movement, 219-220.
 James Weinstein, “Anti-War Sentiment and the Socialist Party, 1917-1918,” Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 74, No. 2, 1959, 230, 219-28; and Chambers, The Eagle and the Dove, lxi. Maurer spoke on November 4, 1917, in Reading, Pennsylvania. The New York Tribune article was published October 18, 1917. The New York Herald cartoon ran November 2, 1917.
 Edward J. Muzik, “Victor L. Berger: Congress and the Red Scare,” The Wisconsin Magazine of History, Vol. 47, No. 4 (summer 1964): 309-18.
 Kennedy, Over Here, 244; and George Creel, letter to Wilson, November 8, 1918, reprinted in George Creel, The War, the World, and Wilson (New York and London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, June 1920, 145-46.
 Hochschild, To End All Wars, 302.
 “Isolationism” in Digital History, 2016, http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtid=2&psid=3483.
 The pact was named after U.S. Secretary of State Frank Kellogg and French Minister of Foreign Affairs Aristide Briand. See “The Kellogg-Briand Pace, 1928,” U.S. Office of the Historian, https://history.state.gov/milestones/1921-1936/kellogg.
 The high regard for Wilson is noted in James Thornton Harris, “Review of Patricia O’Toole’s ‘The Moralist: Woodrow Wilson and the World He Made,’” History News Network, August 6, 2018, https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/169718.
 Among the active peace organizations in the 1920s were the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Women’s Peace Union, Women’s Peace Society, National Committee on the Cause and Cure of War, National Council for Prevention of War, War Resisters League, Fellowship of Reconciliation, and American Friends Service Committee.
 “Isolationism,” Digital History, 2016, http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtid=2&psid=3483.
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