History 4698

Wilson and the League

February 7, 2002


I. The United States and World War I

1. The War Abroad (difficulties of mobilization; Wilson and war aims—the Fourteen Points address; self-determination, open diplomacy, disarmament, freedom of the seas, League of Nations; international developments; tipping the military scales; Wilson and the Western Allies; uncertainty of victory)

2. Wilson and the Postwar World (1918 elections and personal setback?; Paris Peace delegation; international pressures—France, England, Japan; domestic pressures—Round Robin, cracks in progressive base; the first Versailles Treaty—controversies: Shantung, reparations, Article X, Monroe Doctrine; forced concessions and Article XXI)

3. The US and the Russian Revolution (Wilson, Lenin, and the competition for international reform sentiment; the Bolsheviks and WWI; the decision to intervene—European interests, fear of Japan, importance of Czechs, anti-communism; the effects of intervention—hardening of anti-radical sentiment; confrontation with Congress; disillusion of progressives—Johnson, Robins; the origins of the Cold War?)

II. The Battle for the League

1. The Rejection of Versailles (the Lodge reservations; the irreconcilables; the mild reservationists; WW and failure to lead public opinion; refusal to compromise; key issues: Article X, Article XI, Shantung; swing around the circle; WW stroke and Senate rejection)

2. The Postwar Drift (Latin America and the collapse of the progressive consensus—Root, Wilson and alternatives to intervention; Fall and anti-radical mood; 1919 crisis; anti-interventionist coalition; battle for US public opinion; Haiti, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica)


  • First paper assignment is now posted.
  • Reading for next class is exclusively from the course packet, with the exception of a primer on the web site.

Lloyd Ambrosius, Woodrow Wilson and the American Diplomatic Tradition

David Foglesong, America’s Secret War against Bolshevism

Linda Hall, Oil, Banks, and Politics

Arno Mayer, Wilson vs. Lenin

Ralph Stone, The Irreconcilables

Betty Unterberger, The United States, Revolutionary Russia, and the Origins of Czechoslovakia

William Widenor, Henry Cabot Lodge and American Foreign Policy