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Old December 20th, 2017, 07:07 AM   #21
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Please give me a citation or citation to support any of this. Thanks.

And keep in mind that Wilson had recently won reelection on the platform "He kept us out of war." Was Wilson lying?
Of course he was lying. It appealed to the largely neutral voter base in the United States. Wilson was actively trying to get the United States involved in the war so that he could jettison the United States into a position of international power (The League of Nations). His goal all along was to get the US involved so that it could mediate the conflict between Britain and Germany and if pushed to it to come down on the side of Britain in order so that the war could be ended and an international organization could be implemented. Pretty hard to start an organization that mediates peace when the major powers are currently fighting.

Do you guys seriously not know this?

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Old December 20th, 2017, 09:59 AM   #22
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Ok so continuing on with my previous post the following is an initial series of works which can help individuals learn more about American involvement in World War I. It's a small list (purposefully) in which if you so desire can be expanded.

So on the charge that Colonel House was an anglophile, America's fledgling incompetent diplomatic bureau and the general aversion toward Germany at the same time of anglophila in the Wilson administration I would recommend Walter Millis' book called Road to War: America 1914-1917. It is an excellent account of the diplomatic arena that the United States entered into before the war and gives a history of the US before its entrance into the war.

On the charges of propaganda for war and how certain individuals wanted the United States to get into the war I recommend Propaganda for War: The Campaign against American Neutrality, 1914-1917 by H.C. Peterson which shows that even so soon as August of 1914, individuals such as Charles Eliot were lobbying Wilson to go to war but he did not because "the public wouldn't allow it." It goes on to show how Britain actively campaigned to bring the United States into the war.

Another great source is Walter Karp's The Politics of War which looks at both the McKinley and Wilson administrations in their effort to expand American power abroad and the evaporating of republican values from 1890 to 1920. In this work you will find the attempt by Woodrow Wilson to inject America into the war in an effort to actualize his plans of creating an international organization with the United States at the helm (the League of Nations).

Happy reading.

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Old December 20th, 2017, 10:12 AM   #23

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I will happily return tonight when I have access to my books on the subject and cite all of my claims. I hope it is not all for naught because I would hate to cite all of this and people change the argument.
Thanks for the book cites. I hope to have time to read a couple of them. Reading bios of McKinley and Wilson now (along with other sources on this period.) Woodrow Wilson is one of those characters in history who appears worse the more you learn about him.

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Old December 20th, 2017, 10:35 AM   #24
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Thanks for the book cites. I hope to have time to read a couple of them. Reading bios of McKinley and Wilson now (along with other sources on this period.) Woodrow Wilson is one of those characters in history who appears worse the more you learn about him.
He is awful. He is a progressive when it suits him in elections, a conservative when it doesn't. He is a white supremacist, a segregationist and a man willing to sacrifice people to carry out his inflated ego and intentions. I recommend the Karp book. It's a good primer for those administrations. He is very good on McKinley. I get so tired of people thinking McKinley was some kind of idiot or some weak, vacillating president. McKinley was a master of getting people to do what he wanted while thinking they came up with it.
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Old December 20th, 2017, 04:35 PM   #25
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Entering World War I because of unrestricted submarine warfare that was designed to hit another nation is dumb IMO, the Germans tried for a while to work around our concerns and we should have tried to accommodate them in turn. The Zimmerman Telegram is another story and I get we had to declare war after that. I still do think the war was against US intersts, not only was much of the US population German, but the US also was overwhelmingly isolationist. The presidents that took us into both WWI and WWII were both elected(not saying we shouldn't have entered WWII we totally should have) saying we shouldn't go to war. In Woodrow Wilson's case, this was his slogan "he's kept us out of war". Then in 1920, the isolationist anti League of Nations, Republicans won a huge landslide.

Now I know popularity doesn't determine what's right or wrong but unlike WWII where isolationist public opinion was on the wrong side of history, we had no interests in the WWI. We didn't gain any territory from fighting in this war and none of the Central Powers were a physical threat to the US mainland. Germany making good of it's promise to help Mexico reconquer the Southwest even after a WWI victory was a delusional pipedream and while excusing the Zimmerman telegram was off the table, why not fight a war specifically against the U Boats threatening US shipping(especially if we were just an "Associate power"), why send troops to the Western front and so passionately involve ourselves in European border disputes at Versailles? That's a rhetorical question of course, Wilson wanted to put his academic vision of ending war forever into reality and I think the idealist in all of us can understand that, if you were in a position to in your view end war forever and create a world based on the principle of self determination(in a time when this was a super radical idea), it'd be tempting to try and create a new world that history would look kindly on in the future.

War with Germany was inevitable with the Zimmerman telegram but Wilson did move the US towards favoring the Allies in the years prior. Bryan left the administration because he didn't agree with this(he was Secretary of State).
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Old December 20th, 2017, 05:16 PM   #26
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Entering World War I because of unrestricted submarine warfare that was designed to hit another nation is dumb IMO, the Germans tried for a while to work around our concerns and we should have tried to accommodate them in turn. The Zimmerman Telegram is another story and I get we had to declare war after that. I still do think the war was against US intersts, not only was much of the US population German, but the US also was overwhelmingly isolationist. The presidents that took us into both WWI and WWII were both elected(not saying we shouldn't have entered WWII we totally should have) saying we shouldn't go to war. In Woodrow Wilson's case, this was his slogan "he's kept us out of war". Then in 1920, the isolationist anti League of Nations, Republicans won a huge landslide.

Now I know popularity doesn't determine what's right or wrong but unlike WWII where isolationist public opinion was on the wrong side of history, we had no interests in the WWI. We didn't gain any territory from fighting in this war and none of the Central Powers were a physical threat to the US mainland. Germany making good of it's promise to help Mexico reconquer the Southwest even after a WWI victory was a delusional pipedream and while excusing the Zimmerman telegram was off the table, why not fight a war specifically against the U Boats threatening US shipping(especially if we were just an "Associate power"), why send troops to the Western front and so passionately involve ourselves in European border disputes at Versailles? That's a rhetorical question of course, Wilson wanted to put his academic vision of ending war forever into reality and I think the idealist in all of us can understand that, if you were in a position to in your view end war forever and create a world based on the principle of self determination(in a time when this was a super radical idea), it'd be tempting to try and create a new world that history would look kindly on in the future.

War with Germany was inevitable with the Zimmerman telegram but Wilson did move the US towards favoring the Allies in the years prior. Bryan left the administration because he didn't agree with this(he was Secretary of State).
The United States was not isolationist, it has never been. Calling the Republicans isolationist in the 1920 election is pretty humorous considering Henry Cabot Lodge was still pulling strings behind the scene. They were the creators and practitioners of the "large policy." It was merely a political move for them. Every party wants the world to burn when they aren't in power.

And the Zimmerman telegram was exactly what it was; a contingency plan that nations regularly draw up to try and play out scenarios. I think people make too much of it. It was not as big a "splash" as some historians make it out to be, otherwise, the war would have been declared a great deal sooner. I think at best the Zimmerman telegram was ammunition for "preparationist" for a couple of weeks. People like Theodore Roosevelt who love banging on the drum of war like an odious imp.

I do agree with your comments on Wilson though. And Bryan leaving the Wilson administration is the one thing he actually did right in his whole political career. The man basically destroyed the Anti-Imperialist League.

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Old December 20th, 2017, 07:41 PM   #27
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The United States was not isolationist, it has never been. Calling the Republicans isolationist in the 1920 election is pretty humorous considering Henry Cabot Lodge was still pulling strings behind the scene. They were the creators and practitioners of the "large policy." It was merely a political move for them. Every party wants the world to burn when they aren't in power.

And the Zimmerman telegram was exactly what it was; a contingency plan that nations regularly draw up to try and play out scenarios. I think people make too much of it. It was not as big a "splash" as some historians make it out to be, otherwise, the war would have been declared a great deal sooner. I think at best the Zimmerman telegram was ammunition for "preparationist" for a couple of weeks. People like Theodore Roosevelt who love banging on the drum of war like an odious imp.

I do agree with your comments on Wilson though. And Bryan leaving the Wilson administration is the one thing he actually did right in his whole political career. The man basically destroyed the Anti-Imperialist League.

In terms of isolationist, I think the definition of the word matters a great deal. For example the US was very supportive of imperialism and colonization in this era but no so supportive of going into war outside of the continent. I do think though that the US is and still is heavily anti interventionist with the post WWII period seeing a temporary dip in this sentiment. A lot of people have constantly berated me this isn't the same as isolationism(which I feel sometimes is equated to wanting to be a hermit republic) but to me there's not really much practical difference, as I don't think literally isolating ourselves from the world was ever really on the table, and isolationism has always been about sticking to(and maintaining hegemony in) our own neck of the woods(the America's and the Pacific Ocean) while maintaining healthy non confrontational/neutral economic relations with other regions.

I agree, the Zimmerman telegram could have easily been ignored with an administration with an opposite agenda. However, once used, how are you supposed to in the public forum argue against war when the government's citing the German's desire to help the Mexicans avenge the Mexican American war? They made the choice to make it a "splash" but once you open that can of worms it's pretty good pretext for war, far better pretext than the US has had for ALOT of it's foreign intervention.
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Old December 21st, 2017, 08:06 PM   #28
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In terms of isolationist, I think the definition of the word matters a great deal. For example the US was very supportive of imperialism and colonization in this era but no so supportive of going into war outside of the continent.
Which era are you discussing?

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I do think though that the US is and still is heavily anti interventionist with the post WWII period seeing a temporary dip in this sentiment.
What do you call the Cold War?


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A lot of people have constantly berated me this isn't the same as isolationism(which I feel sometimes is equated to wanting to be a hermit republic) but to me there's not really much practical difference, as I don't think literally isolating ourselves from the world was ever really on the table, and isolationism has always been about sticking to(and maintaining hegemony in) our own neck of the woods(the America's and the Pacific Ocean) while maintaining healthy non confrontational/neutral economic relations with other regions.
Sorry but have to disagree with you. Maintaining hegemony in a hemisphere is not isolation by any means.

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I agree, the Zimmerman telegram could have easily been ignored with an administration with an opposite agenda. However, once used, how are you supposed to in the public forum argue against war when the government's citing the German's desire to help the Mexicans avenge the Mexican American war? They made the choice to make it a "splash" but once you open that can of worms it's pretty good pretext for war, far better pretext than the US has had for ALOT of it's foreign intervention.
I agree with you here. It was ammunition for "preparationists" like Theodore Roosevelt and his crony Leonard Wood. I see the Zimmerman letter to be very similar to the De Lume letter. It obviously didn't help actual American non-interventionists but it was almost two months until the United States actually declared war. I think this is a minor point to our overall discussion though.
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Old December 21st, 2017, 11:23 PM   #29
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Which era are you discussing?



What do you call the Cold War?




Sorry but have to disagree with you. Maintaining hegemony in a hemisphere is not isolation by any means.



I agree with you here. It was ammunition for "preparationists" like Theodore Roosevelt and his crony Leonard Wood. I see the Zimmerman letter to be very similar to the De Lume letter. It obviously didn't help actual American non-interventionists but it was almost two months until the United States actually declared war. I think this is a minor point to our overall discussion though.
1)I'm referring to the Spanish American War and American Imperialism that William McKinley successfully ran a campaign on in 1900. Americans I think are pretty tolerant of "splendid little wars" like SPAM and the First Gulf War and the history supports that.

2)That would be part of the temporary dip. We see even within the Cold War context the opposition to Vietnam so by the later part there was no doubt frustration whenever the containment policy led to a proxy war. The era where I think interventionism had the biggest edge over isolationism would be from Pearl Harbor to Vietnam. For example we had Eisenhower beating Taft for the Republican nomination and there was just very little political traction for non interventionism.

3)Fair enough. I consider this isolationism I guess because of how much more conservative(academic non political definition here) a direction it is from where American foreign policy has went in the post WWII era and from since I've been born. For America I think this is relative isolation, for the rest of the world this would still probably qualify as imperialism. I guess when you dominate so much of the world, withdrawing to one's own(still gigantic) neighborhood can seem to be isolating oneself?
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Old December 22nd, 2017, 03:27 PM   #30
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1)I'm referring to the Spanish American War and American Imperialism that William McKinley successfully ran a campaign on in 1900. Americans I think are pretty tolerant of "splendid little wars" like SPAM and the First Gulf War and the history supports that.
I would completely agree with the sentiment that not only Americans but citizens, in general, are supportive of wars that end quickly.

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2)That would be part of the temporary dip. We see even within the Cold War context the opposition to Vietnam so by the later part there was no doubt frustration whenever the containment policy led to a proxy war. The era where I think interventionism had the biggest edge over isolationism would be from Pearl Harbor to Vietnam. For example we had Eisenhower beating Taft for the Republican nomination and there was just very little political traction for non interventionism.
I would agree with your thinking of intervention over non-intervention from Pearl Harbor to Vietnam but I would extend that period to be oh let's say 1880 to present day.

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3)Fair enough. I consider this isolationism I guess because of how much more conservative(academic non political definition here) a direction it is from where American foreign policy has went in the post WWII era and from since I've been born. For America I think this is relative isolation, for the rest of the world this would still probably qualify as imperialism. I guess when you dominate so much of the world, withdrawing to one's own(still gigantic) neighborhood can seem to be isolating oneself?
I think Americans treat it implicitly like a sort of benign imperialism, never explicitly calling it imperialism. It is in someway discussed as a police-like action that is creating a better environment or maintain an ambiguous "order." And just to do some justice, this type of intervention is not necessarily conservative. You do have conservatives like Robert Nisbet who do state that American imperialism abroad is not in line with conservative beliefs. He is obviously attacking the creation of Neoconservatives who justify American foreign policy of imperialism. Though Nisbet is certainly in the minority of conservatives today, though by fairness his divergence must be noted.
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