Wilson and the Peacemakers: Combining Woodrow Wilson and the Lost Peace and Woodrow Wilson and the Great Betrayal

By Thomas A. Bailey | Go to book overview

FOREWORD

THIS is an account, of one of the supreme tragedies of human history -- the Great Betrayal which occurred when the United States turned its back on Wilson's pledges and failed, to ratify the Treaty of Versailles and join the League of Nations.

The narrative presented herewith is a sequel to Woodrow Wilson and the Lost Peace, although each of the two volumes is an entity in itself and is designed to stand on its own feet. The first deals with peacemaking; the second deals with peacebreaking, with special emphasis on the role of the United States. My original plan was to tell the whole story in one book, but the exigencies of time and space, to say nothing of other considerations, suggested the desirability of two separate volumes.

My purposes are essentially those set forth in the preface of the preceding account. History never repeats itself, but statesmen and their people repeat the same mistakes. I am presenting this narrative, from the American point of view and with emphasis on what went wrong, in the hope that we may better recognize certain disastrous pitfalls, and not stumble into them again.

If the American people are handicapped by ignorance of what happened in connection with the making of the peace, they are no less handicapped by wrong notions as to what happened in connection with the breaking of the peace. The tendency is to resort to the absurd oversimplification of saying that Senator Henry Cabot Lodge alone kept us out of the League of Nations. People are lazy, and they like mental short cuts; people are sentimental, and they like real villains in their dramas -- villains with long whiskers. Hence Senator Lodge occupies a conspicuous place in American demonology.

My object is neither to kick the corpse of Lodge nor to whiten the tomb of Wilson. Neither the whitewash brush nor

-v-

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