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A League of Nations

As vigorously as Wilson had worked to mobilize his nation for war, he now struggled to bring about a peace meant to spell the end of war. Wilson personally headed the American delegation to the Paris Peace Conference, which was charged with creating a final treaty. Driven by his intense and intensely idealistic vision of a world league and a world of perpetual peace, Wilson did not deign to develop strong bipartisan support for his peace plans. Fearing Republican isolationists would be hostile to the League of Nations, he chose not to appoint a prominent Republican to the delegation. Worse, Wilson made peace a political issue by appealing to voters to reelect a Democratic Congress in 1918. In fact, the 1918 contest went to the Republicans, who won majorities in both houses. To many, this election seemed a no-confidence vote against Wilson and his crusade for world peace.

In Europe, Wilson was at first greeted with nothing but confidence in his leadership. However, it soon became apparent that the other major Allied leaders—Georges Clemenceau of France, David Lloyd George of Great Britain, and Vittorio Orlando of Italy—wanted to conclude a settlement that simply and severely penalized Germany. Wilson nevertheless hammered away at his Fourteen Points, ultimately seeing them embodied in the Treaty of Versailles, which, however, also imposed crippling terms on Germany. Gratified that he had won inclusion of the League of Nations as part of the treaty, Wilson presented the Versailles document to his fellow Americans as the best obtainable compromise, He felt that the League of Nations itself would eventually rectify some of the injustices presently imposed upon Germany.


Jazzed, Boozed, and Busted Flat (1918-1929) | Complete Idiots Guide to American History | Red Scare







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