[Essay Help]: Explain Woodrow Wilson’s vision for peace after World War I.

Explain Woodrow Wilson’s vision for peace after World War I..

4. Explain Woodrow Wilson’s vision for peace after World War I.


In May 1916, Wilson’s preparedness policy seemed to have worked, as Germany suspended submarine warfare against noncombatants, allowing Americans to trade and travel freely without requiring military action. “He kept us out of war” became Wilson’s campaign slogan in the 1916 presidential election. The Republican Party was reunited, and its candidate, Charles Evans Hughes, lost to Wilson by only a narrow margin, including the votes of women in western states.

Wilson acted quickly. On January 22, 1917, Wilson called for “peace without victory” in Europe, and expressed his vision of a world order including freedom of the seas, restrictions on armaments, and self-determination for all nations, large and small. Germany soon resumed its submarine warfare against ships sailing to or from Great Britain and sank several American merchant ships, gambling that it could starve Britain into submission before America intervened militarily. In March 1917, British spies made public the Zimmerman Telegram, a message by the German foreign secretary Arthur Zimmermann to Mexico asking it to declare war against the United States and regain its territory lost in the Mexican War. A revolution in Russia that deposed the czar and established a constitutional republic made it seem plausible to believe that the United States would be fighting for democracy. On April 2, Wilson asked Congress to declare war against Germany (which it did with a small minority of dissenters), in order to make the world “safe for democracy.”

By the spring of 1918, when American troops arrived in Europe, the communist revolution led by Vladimir Lenin in Russia the previous November had led to the withdrawal of Russia from the war. Lenin also exposed secret treaties by which the Allies had agreed to divide conquered territory after the war, embarrassing Wilson. In January 1918, Wilson reassured the public that the war was a righteous cause by issuing the Fourteen Points, stating war aims and providing his vision of a new international order. This involved self-determination for all nations, freedom of the seas, free trade, open diplomacy, the adjustment of colonial claims with the colonized, and the establishment of a “general association of nations” to preserve peace. Wilson believed that this organization, which became the League of Nations, would act like the kinds of commissions Progressives had established in America for ensuring social harmony and protecting the weak.

By September, nearly 1 million Americans helped turn the tide of the war and pushed German forces in retreat, especially in the Meuse-Argonne campaign. This campaign left 100,000 American soldiers dead and wounded, and was one of the most significant and deadliest battles in American history. With his forces retreating, on November 9, the German kaiser abdicated the throne, and two days later, Germany sued for peace. Over 100,000 Americans died, only 1 percent of the 10 million killed in the war.

Explain Woodrow Wilson’s vision for peace after World War I.

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