History 4698

The US and World War I

February 4, 2002

I. Debating War

1. Latin America and the Contradictions of Wilsonianism (the Pan-American Pact and the promise of internationalism; the Mobile address and Wilsonianism; the strategic realities of the Caribbean Basin; Wilson, the Navy, and race; intervention; Dominican Republic and the breakdown of customs receivership; origins of Dominican nationalism; intervention and US public opinion)

2. The Issues (the preparedness debate: Plattsburgers, progressivism, and military efficiency, peace progressives and traditional anti-militarism, Wilson and bureaucratic pressure, domestic pressure groups—AUAM, WILPF; war aims: concept of league of nations, LEP vs. progressive internationalists, US as revolutionary power, significance of Wilson—Peace without Victory, transnational coalition)

II. The Great War

1. 1916 and World Affairs (abroad: Sussex pledge; Somme and Western front casualties; tipping scale Eastern Front?; endless war and prospect of mediation—Pope, Wilson, socialist movements; domestic: TR and interventionist demands; foreign policy and 1916 campaign; intricacies of ethnic politics; the Wilson coalition; strains of victory—German policies, armed ship bill, war atmosphere and collapse of progressivism; differences between 1916 and 1912)

2. The War at Home (decision for war—did alternatives exist?; nature US involvement; the military and US society; key decisions—draft, war finance, civil liberties, economic policy; Wilson and his cabinet—Burleson, Gregory; the La Follette case; Wilson, a divided progressive movement, and the Sedition/Espionage Acts)

3. The War Abroad (difficulties of mobilization; Wilson and war aims—the Fourteen Points address; international developments; tipping the military scales; Wilson and the Western Allies; uncertainty of victory)

  • Reminder that A-L have the caucus question for next class, when we examine the League of Nations. Also the first paper assignments have been posted on the web site.
  • Office hours today, 11.00-12.15, Fayerweather 612
  • Also, all lecture handouts are available at the course web site:


Bruce Calder, The Impact of Intervention

James Joll, Europe at War

David Kennedy, Over Here

Hans Schmidt, The United States Occupation of Haiti

Robert Freeman Smith, The United States and Revolutionary Nationalism in Mexico

David Thelen, Robert M. La Follette and the Insurgent Tradition

William Widenor, Henry Cabot Lodge and American Foreign Policy