After mastering this chapter, you should be able to:
10. Explain what caused America to enter World War I.
20. Describe how Wilsonian idealism turned the war into an ideological crusade for democracy that inspired public fervor and suppressed dissent.
30. Discuss America’s mobilization for war and its reliance primarily on voluntary methods rather than government force.
40. Explain the consequences of World War I for labor, women, and African Americans.
50. Describe America’s participation in the War, and explain why its economic and political importance exceeded its military contribution to the Allied victory and German defeat.
60. Analyze Wilson’s attempt to forge a peace based on his idealistic Fourteen Points, the political mistakes that weakened his hand, and the compromises he was forced to make by the other Allied statesmen at Versailles.
70. Discuss how Lodge and others resisted Wilson’s League of Nations, how Wilson’s total refusal to compromise doomed the Treaty of Versailles, and why Harding’s victory in the election of 1920 became the final death sentence for the League.
To build your social science vocabulary, familiarize yourself with the following terms.
10. isolationism In American diplomacy, the traditional belief that the United States should refrain from involvement in overseas politics, alliances, or wars, and confine its national security interest to its own borders (sometimes along with the Caribbean and Central America). Internationalism or Wilsonianism is the contrasting belief that America’s national security requires involvement and sometimes diplomatic or military alliances overseas. “But their obstruction was a powerful reminder of the continuing strength of American isolationism.”
20. collective security In international affairs, reliance on a group of nations or an international organization as protection against aggressors, rather than on national self-defense alone. “ . . . an international organization that Wilson dreamed would provide a system of collective security.”
30. mobilization The organization of a nation and its armed forces for war. “Creel typified American war mobilization. . . .”
40. pardon The official release of a person from punishment for a crime. “. . . presidential pardons were rather freely granted. . . .”
50. ration A fixed allowance of food or other scarce commodity. “He deliberately rejected issuing ration cards. . . .”
60. conscientious objector A person who refuses to participate in war on grounds of conscience or belief. “. . . about 4,000 conscientious objectors were excused.”
70. Bolshevik The radical majority faction of the Russian Socialist party that seized power in the October 1917 revolution; they later took the name Communist. (Bolshevik is the Russian word for “majority”; their rivals for power were Mensheviks, or minority.) “The Bolsheviks long resented these ‘capitalistic’ interventions. . . .”
80. salient A portion of a battle line that extends forward into enemy territory. “. . . nine American divisions . . . joined four French divisions to push the Germans from the St. Mihiel salient. . . .”
90. parliamentary Concerning political systems in which the government is constituted from the controlling party’s members in the legislative assembly. “Unlike all the parliamentary statesmen at the table, [Wilson] did not command a legislative majority at home.”
100. protectorate In international affairs, a weaker or smaller country held to be under the guidance or protection of a major power; the arrangement is a weaker form of imperialism or colonialism. (A colony is a territory owned outright by a more powerful nation.) “. . . preventing any vengeful parceling out of the former colonies and protectorates of the vanquished powers.”
110. trustee A nation that holds the territory of a former colony as the conditional agent of an international body under defined terms. “The victors would . . . receive the conquered territory . . . only as trustees of the League of Nations.”
120. mandate Under the League of Nations (1919–1939), a specific commission that authorized a trustee to administer a former colonial territory. “Japan was conceded the strategic Pacific islands under a League of Nations mandate. . . .”
130. self-determination The Wilsonian doctrine that each people should have the right to freely choose its own political affiliation and national future, e.g., independence or incorporation into another nation. “Faced with fierce Wilsonian opposition to this violation of self-determination....”
140. reservation A portion of a deed, contract, or treaty that places conditions or restrictions on the general obligations. “. . . he finally came up with fourteen formal reservations. . . .”
150. demagogue A politician who arouses fervor by appealing to the lowest emotions of a mass audience, such as fear, hatred, and greed. “ . . . a debacle that played into the hands of the German demagogue Adolf Hitler.”
00001PART II: Checking Your Progress
Where the statement is true, circle T; where it is false, circle F.
10. T F Germany responded to Wilson’s call for “peace without victory” with a proposal for a negotiated settlement of the war.
20. T F Wilson’s proclamation of the war as a crusade to end all war and spread democracy around the world inspired intense ideological enthusiasm among Americans.
30. T F Among Wilson’s Fourteen Points were freedom of the seas, national self-determination for oppressed smaller nations, and an international organization to secure peace.
40. T F The Committee on Public Information used varied forms of propaganda to stir fervent American patriotism and support for the war.
50. T F The primary targets of prosecution under the Espionage and Sedition Acts were German and Austrian agents in the United States.
60. T F Even during the war mobilization, Americans were extremely reluctant to grant the federal government extensive powers over the civilian economy.
70. T F Despite bitter and sometimes violent strikes, American labor made economic and organizational gains as a result of World War I.
80. T F War-inspired black migration into northern cities led to major racial riots in 1917–1919.
90. T F America’s granting of women’s right to vote under the Nineteenth Amendment represented the first breakthrough for women’s suffrage in the world.
100. T F One of the few major instances of using coercive power during the war was the federal government’s seizure and operation of the nation’s railroads.
011. T F The arrival of the main force American troops in May 1918 came just in time to block the last German offensive and turn the tide toward Allied victory.
120. T F When Woodrow Wilson first arrived in Europe, the European public hailed him as a hero and a peacemaking savior.
130. T F Wilson successfully thwarted other Allied nations’ attempts to make imperialistic gains from the war.
140. T F Wilson’s unwillingness to compromise or accept any Republican reservations to the Treaty of Versailles guaranteed that the whole treaty would go down to defeat.
150. T F In the election of 1920, Republican Harding supported the League of Nations, while Democrat Cox tried to straddle both sides of the issue.
00001B. 0Multiple Choice
Select the best answer and circle the corresponding letter.
10. The immediate cause of American entry into World War I was0
a0. German support for a possible Mexican invasion of the southwestern United States.
b0. Germany’s resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare.
c0. the imminent danger of a French surrender to Germany.
d0. desire of the American munitions makers to gain larger profits.
e0. Wilson’s recognition that German militarism threatened the ideals of American democracy.
20. Wilson and his administration aroused the still-divided American people to fervent support of the war by0
a0. seizing control of the means of communication and demanding national unity.
b0. declaring the German people to be immoral Huns and barbarians.
c0. proclaiming the conflict an ideological war to end all war and make the world safe for democracy.
d0. proclaiming the war a religious crusade to save Western, Christian civilization
e0. asserting that a victorious Germany might well attack or invade the United States.
30. The capstone Fourteenth Point of Wilson’s declaration of war aims called for0
a0. the establishment of parliamentary democracies throughout Europe.
b0. guarantees of basic human rights for all people in the world.
c0. an international organization to guarantee collective security.
d0. freedom of travel without restrictions.
e0. a severe limitation on all nations’ military forces and armaments as soon as the war ended.
40. George Creel’s Committee on Public Information typified the entire American war effort because it0
a0. maintained respect for American ideals of free speech and dissent even as it promoted the war.
b0. effectively used statistics and scientific information to enable the government to mobilize for war.
c0. relied more on whipped-up patriotism and voluntary compliance than on formal laws or government coercion.
d0. brought all the resources of private business into support of the war effort.
e0. used the constant threat of government takeover to force business and labor to support the war.
50. The two key laws aimed at enforcing loyalty and suppressing antiwar dissent were the0
a0. War Mobilization Act and the National Defense Act.
b0. Selective Service Act and the Public Information Act.
c0. Eighteenth Amendment and the Anti-German Language Act.
d0. Espionage Act and the Sedition Act.
e0. War Industries Act and the Council of National Defense authorization law.
60. Two groups that experienced the most direct attacks and suppression during the war were
07. __________ Treasury Department bond-selling drives that raised about $21 billion to provide most of the funds to finance the American war effort
08. __________ Popular term for American soldiers during World War I
09. __________ Collective term for the major powers that dominated the Paris Peace Conference—Britain, France, Italy, and the United States
010. __________ Wilson’s proposed international body that constituted the key provision of the Versailles treaty
011. __________ Controversial peace agreement that compromised many of Wilson’s idealistic Fourteen Points but retained his cherished League of Nations among its provisions
012. __________ Senatorial committee whose chairman used delaying tactics and hostile testimony to develop opposition to Wilson’s treaty and League of Nations
013. __________ A hard core of isolationist senators who bitterly opposed any sort of league; also called the “Battalion of Death”
014. __________ Amendments to the proposed Treaty of Versailles, sponsored by Wilson’s hated senatorial opponent, that attempted to guarantee America’s sovereign rights in relation to the League of Nations
015. __________ Wilson’s belief that the presidential election of 1920 should constitute a direct popular vote on the League of Nations
00001D. 0Matching People, Places, and Events
Match the person, place, or event in the left column with the proper description in the right column by inserting the correct letter on the blank line.
f0. Weakened the president’s position during the peacemaking process
g0. Caused harsh attacks on German Americans and other Americans who opposed the war
h0. Lifted Allied and American spirits and demoralized Germany and its allies
i0. Forced Wilson to compromise his Fourteen Points in order to keep the League as part of the peace treaty
j0. Helped pass the Nineteenth Amendment but did not really change society’s emphasis on the maternal role
00001G. 0Developing Historical Skills
00001Analyzing Visual Propaganda
This exercise involves analyzing visual propaganda designed to make emotional appeals on behalf of a cause. In this case, the propaganda was designed to enlist the American public’s support for the war effort against Germany. The kinds of propaganda used on behalf of a cause can tell the historian a great deal about what issues were perceived to be at stake and what public values were being appealed to.
Answer the following questions about the cartoons and drawings in this chapter.
10. Anti-German Propaganda (p.749): How do the words and image of this poster work together to persuade an American audience to buy liberty loans? Besides the specific message, what general portrait of Germany, the war, and America’s reasons for fighting are conveyed?
02. Patriotic Persuasion (p. 749): How does this army recruitment poster convey the idea that both patriotism and social solidarity can be served by joining the military? At what social class of young man is the poster evidently aimed?
30. Food for Thought (p. 755): How does this poster visually make the connection between the patriotic war effort and gardens? What specific words or phrases create the link between women’s food-growing effort and military service on fields of combat? What specific appeal is this image making to women?
10. What caused American entry into World War I, and how did Wilson turn the war into an ideological crusade?
20. What did American women gain from their participation in the war effort? What did they fail to obtain?
30. What was America’s military and ideological contribution to the Allied victory?
40. How were the goals of the war presented to the American public? Did these lofty and idealistic goals eventually contribute to the deep American disillusionment at the conclusion of the war? Why or why not?
50. How was Wilson forced to compromise during the peace negotiations, and why did America, in the end, refuse to ratify the treaty and join the League of Nations?
06. Do you agree that despite Wilson’s failure to obtain all his goals, he made the Versailles Peace Treaty much better than it would have been had he not been in Paris? Why or why not?
70. Apart from such immediate factors as the Lodge-Wilson antagonism, what general features of earlier American history worked against American involvement in European affairs and participation in the League of Nations?
80. Do you agree that the final responsibility for the failure of America to join the League of Nations lies with Woodrow Wilson rather than with his opponents like Henry Cabot Lodge? Why or why not?
09. What really caused the overwhelming Republican victory in the election of 1920?
100. Ever since World War I and its aftermath, many of the fundamental debates about American foreign policy have been defined by whether the United States should pursue Wilsonianism or not. Using the account of Wilson’s policies in the text and “Varying Viewpoints,” outline the essential principles of Wilsonianism and explain why they have been so powerful and yet so controversial in American history.