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Thoughts on Woodrow Wilson

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  • Sparlingo
    replied
    Suppose Wilson had deferred the matter of establishing a League of Nations to a later International conference then would the outcome have been more successful? Was Wilson too fixated on the prize of establishing the league that he had to compromise too much on his 14 points? Were the 14 points too idealistic for the times that the approach was doomed to failure? Was there just too much hate in the air everywhere for making a sensible peace settlement?

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  • slick_miester
    replied
    Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post

    Are you really saying that the USA did not profit materially from being involved in both World Wars ?
    Obviously from the Second, but not much from the First. In fact, overall, I'd say that the US' involvement in WW1 was a net loss. Of course, a lot of that was due to domestic political silliness, but overall, it was a net loss.

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  • BELGRAVE
    replied
    Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
    In my mind, Wilson is forever linked to his massive betrayal of the will of the American people, and his own campaign promise to keep America out of foreign wars. We elect presidents to carry out the will of the people, not to decide that what will is to be at the cost of American lives.

    I often wonder what history wood be like if America had allowed Europe to fight its own wars without our intervention. We would possibly have far more natural resources remaining than we have now, having used up enormous resources in two world wars, and had we merely supplied the European Allies, we might be infinitely richer.

    As it is, the world wars changed things politically and geographically, but solved nothing in the end, as the continuous warfare since the end of WWII clearly has sown us.
    Are you really saying that the USA did not profit materially from being involved in both World Wars ?

    Leave a comment:


  • T. A. Gardner
    replied
    The US economy boomed in WW 1 through war profiteering. US trade with Europe more than quadrupled by 1916. France and Britain were pouring money into the US for war materials. Of course, that tanked following the war so of course the economy took a hit. Wilson had nothing to do with it other than allow it to happen.

    When the US declared war, the US Army was totally unprepared to actually go to war. The total manpower sat at a bit over a quarter million split roughly 50 - 50 between the active and national guard. Congress provided $3 billion and authorized a "million man army."

    Britain had about 4 million men in service, the French about 8. The Germans had 11 million serving. The US would mobilize about 4 million men total by the end of the war, but the bulk of those never left the US.

    So, even after war was declared, Congress's measures fell well short of need and Wilson didn't have a clue as to what was needed.

    The mobilization could easily be described as a cluster f.......

    The Navy was in better shape but it wasn't to be a major player in the war the US had to fight. Even here, the biggest need was ships for ASW work guarding convoys, and the USN was desperately short of them.

    Wilson with more foresight could have been preparing the infrastructure to allow for expansion of the army, something Congress probably would have been more willing to fund.

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  • Stonewall_Jack
    replied
    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

    There are things Wilson could have done and likely gotten Congress to agree to.

    He could have asked for money to allow the Army to develop small batches of modern equipment and gotten factories where they could produce said equipment. Many US factories were already producing arms and munitions for the French and British.

    The Army could have picked their preferred equipment and gotten at least small runs of it made to bring what forces it had up to snuff. This would have put them in a better position than being beggars come 1917 and having to use foreign equipment because it was in production.

    Wilson instead, did nothing. FDR far more cleverly did what I suggest. The Army didn't expand greatly during the mid-30's but development of equipment and the building of factories and other infrastructure was moving ahead quickly as early as 1936. This meant when the US did enter the war, all they had to do was make the stuff rather than try in a rush to change over production lines and expand facilities in an attempt to get something, anything, to arm the military with.
    Wilson did expand the US military personnel from a few hundred thousand to a few million. FDR later on catapulted the US military to Number one in the world through factories. Americans at home worked to strengthen our Air Force and Navy like never before under democratic leadership.

    That’s what we get from Democrats, two victories in the two world wars we have seen.

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  • Stonewall_Jack
    replied
    Wilson presided over one of the greatest US economies leading us into the roaring 20s which was crashed by the Republican Herbert Hoover into the Great Depression.

    Wilson worked for women’s rights presiding over the first time in US history women were given the ability to vote. What a massive accomplishment that one was, that can not get glossed got over.

    Wilson fought for workers rights ie The eight hour workday and against child labor.

    Wilson also battled through a brutal paralysis late in his second term. This would serve as a inspiration to many disabled Americans throughout our history. Considering there are people to this day who want to discriminate against the disabled but guys like Woodrow Wilson and FDR paved the way saying with words and actions one can do anything they put their mind to.

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  • T. A. Gardner
    replied
    Originally posted by slick_miester View Post
    Welcome back, Chief. It's good to see you out of the brig. I agree with most of your post, but I'm questioning this part:



    From 1865 until 1917, Congress was painfully parsimonious when it came to Army spending. They funded the Navy, but the Army remained a tiny force, hardly more than a glorified constabulary after the Civil War. While bashing Wilson for running on a neutrality platform in 1916 only to declare war in the Spring of 1917 makes perfect sense to me, could Wilson have sold Congress on Army expansion before the declaration of war? Even setting aside his lousy relations with some of the Senate's Old Bulls, I'm thinking that expanding the Army would have been too tough a sell for Wilson prior to Spring 1917.
    There are things Wilson could have done and likely gotten Congress to agree to.

    He could have asked for money to allow the Army to develop small batches of modern equipment and gotten factories where they could produce said equipment. Many US factories were already producing arms and munitions for the French and British.

    The Army could have picked their preferred equipment and gotten at least small runs of it made to bring what forces it had up to snuff. This would have put them in a better position than being beggars come 1917 and having to use foreign equipment because it was in production.

    Wilson instead, did nothing. FDR far more cleverly did what I suggest. The Army didn't expand greatly during the mid-30's but development of equipment and the building of factories and other infrastructure was moving ahead quickly as early as 1936. This meant when the US did enter the war, all they had to do was make the stuff rather than try in a rush to change over production lines and expand facilities in an attempt to get something, anything, to arm the military with.

    Leave a comment:


  • slick_miester
    replied
    Welcome back, Chief. It's good to see you out of the brig. I agree with most of your post, but I'm questioning this part:

    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
    1. Failing to prepare the US for entry into WW 1. This would be true regardless of whether we actually entered the war or not. It should have been obvious to him that the possibility was good we would get involved and when we did we'd need a ready military for the purpose. Instead, he sat on his hands and like the Spanish-American War our entry was a complete cluster.....
    From 1865 until 1917, Congress was painfully parsimonious when it came to Army spending. They funded the Navy, but the Army remained a tiny force, hardly more than a glorified constabulary after the Civil War. While bashing Wilson for running on a neutrality platform in 1916 only to declare war in the Spring of 1917 makes perfect sense to me, could Wilson have sold Congress on Army expansion before the declaration of war? Even setting aside his lousy relations with some of the Senate's Old Bulls, I'm thinking that expanding the Army would have been too tough a sell for Wilson prior to Spring 1917.

    Leave a comment:


  • T. A. Gardner
    replied
    Woodrow Wilson was a Progressive, and like modern Progressives largely a failure as a President. Probably his two biggest disasters were:

    1. Failing to prepare the US for entry into WW 1. This would be true regardless of whether we actually entered the war or not. It should have been obvious to him that the possibility was good we would get involved and when we did we'd need a ready military for the purpose. Instead, he sat on his hands and like the Spanish-American War our entry was a complete cluster.....

    2. His handling of the peace reminds me of how Obama handled foreign policy. Wilson came up with a grandiose plan for the League of Nations and all sorts of stuff on how Europe should handle the peace. The French and British kicked him to the curb in an instant.

    Other blunders: His handling of US involvement in the Russian Civil War, the treaty agreements with Japan that came out of WW 1 set the stage for the Pacific War.
    Domestically, he presided over a nation that was making bank off the war but otherwise there was nothing stellar about his policies.

    His life spent in academia and not in the "real" world ill-prepared him for being President and it showed. At best, he was a mediocre President.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mountain Man
    replied
    In my mind, Wilson is forever linked to his massive betrayal of the will of the American people, and his own campaign promise to keep America out of foreign wars. We elect presidents to carry out the will of the people, not to decide that what will is to be at the cost of American lives.

    I often wonder what history wood be like if America had allowed Europe to fight its own wars without our intervention. We would possibly have far more natural resources remaining than we have now, having used up enormous resources in two world wars, and had we merely supplied the European Allies, we might be infinitely richer.

    As it is, the world wars changed things politically and geographically, but solved nothing in the end, as the continuous warfare since the end of WWII clearly has sown us.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sparlingo
    replied
    One of the reasons that the Senate Opposed the Versailles Treaty was that Australia, New Zealand, and Canada were all given seats at the League of Nations. These countries were perceived in the United States as being controlled by Britain, which at that point they were technically were, until the Statue of Westminster was enacted in 1932. The USA saw this as too much British control over the league. As both Australia and Canada lost more than 60,000 men each there was no way that they were going to sign the treaty if they didn't get a seat at the League. Had there been some way of giving USA more power in the League of Nations to offset this, then perhaps the treaty would have had a better chance of passing. And further if the United States had been part of the League of Nations then the European situation after WW1 might have been brighter.

    Leave a comment:


  • slick_miester
    replied
    Originally posted by wolfhnd View Post

    Where did you learn to write so well?
    From Samuel L Jackson.



    Leave a comment:


  • wolfhnd
    replied
    Originally posted by slick_miester View Post

    After suffering his stroke, Wilson was unable to sell Versailles to the American people -- but that ceased to matter long before.

    According to Robert A Caro in The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate, Wilson allowed his personal animus with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Henry Cabot Lodge (MA-R) to get in the way of the very necessary effort to get Versailles ratified by the Senate. As a standing committee chairman, practically no known force, either on earth or in heaven, could move Lodge if he didn't want to move. Wilson's arrogant unwillingness to even so much as speak to Lodge face-to-face more than anything else doomed Versailles in the Senate. It was as if Pres Wilson had never read the Constitution: any member of the Federal Government, in order to get his pet projects enacted, has to deal with other members of the Federal Gov't. "Separation of Powers" means that no one member, be he President, Senator, Representative, Supreme Court Justice, etc, etc, can't simply be pushed around or ordered about like some buck private. Presidents have to work with Congressional leaders, treat with them as equals, not subordinates, if they want the Congress to enact their program. Wilson, who perhaps more than any other Oval Office occupant was firmly convinced that God was on his side, felt that treating with one as morally and intellectually contemptible as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was too far beneath him to even fathom. I'm sorry, but not only is such hubris incompatible with Christian belief, but it's utterly unacceptable in any kind of national political leader.
    Where did you learn to write so well?

    Leave a comment:


  • slick_miester
    replied
    Originally posted by lakechampainer View Post
    After his stroke, he should have resigned the presidency. If he loved his country, that would have been the decent thing to do.
    After suffering his stroke, Wilson was unable to sell Versailles to the American people -- but that ceased to matter long before.

    According to Robert A Caro in The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate, Wilson allowed his personal animus with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Henry Cabot Lodge (MA-R) to get in the way of the very necessary effort to get Versailles ratified by the Senate. As a standing committee chairman, practically no known force, either on earth or in heaven, could move Lodge if he didn't want to move. Wilson's arrogant unwillingness to even so much as speak to Lodge face-to-face more than anything else doomed Versailles in the Senate. It was as if Pres Wilson had never read the Constitution: any member of the Federal Government, in order to get his pet projects enacted, has to deal with other members of the Federal Gov't. "Separation of Powers" means that no one member, be he President, Senator, Representative, Supreme Court Justice, etc, etc, can't simply be pushed around or ordered about like some buck private. Presidents have to work with Congressional leaders, treat with them as equals, not subordinates, if they want the Congress to enact their program. Wilson, who perhaps more than any other Oval Office occupant was firmly convinced that God was on his side, felt that treating with one as morally and intellectually contemptible as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was too far beneath him to even fathom. I'm sorry, but not only is such hubris incompatible with Christian belief, but it's utterly unacceptable in any kind of national political leader.

    Leave a comment:


  • tcox
    replied
    At least some people in Dallas do not like him as a petition to change the name of Woodrow Wilson high school has been started. The school from which my youngest child graduated in 2005 opened in 1928. The Dallas Independent School District is 90% per cent minority, but a significant number of whites do attend Woodrow. The District has changed the names of several schools named after confederates. Comments from the student who started the petition:

    “Because of the Black Lives Matter movement, it really made me think about why Woodrow Wilson — despite his racist thinking — is on our school, which is a mostly minority majority school,” said Cameron McElhenie, a senior at the high school who describes himself as half Hispanic and half white.

    Leave a comment:

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