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

CHAPTER ONE

THE RETURN OF THE
MESSIAH

"Dare we reject it [the League] and break the heart of the world?" WOODROW WILSON, July 10, 1919.


1

ON JUNE 29, 1919, the presidential liner, George Washington, steamed out of Brest harbor, France, filled with singing boys in baggy khaki. But their eminent fellow passenger, Woodrow Wilson, was not singing. To him home meant not quiet and repose but the beginning of yet another battle to secure ratification of the Treaty of Versailles, a copy of which he was bringing back with him.

Wilson was not altogether happy over the pact which he had helped frame, even though it did contain the League of Nations. He had done his very best in the face of superhuman obstacles, but no one in far-away America could possibly appreciate the web of difficulties in which he had become entangled. He was painfully aware that he had been forced to mortgage some of his ideals in order to salvage others. But he confidently hoped that the inevitable contradictions and injustices of 'the treaty would eventually be smoothed away by a powerful League of Nations, of which the United States would be both a charter member and a guiding force.

The ten-day trip through smooth July seas was relatively uneventful, despite rumors of loose mines in the path of the ship. The George Washington was met outside New York harbor on the morning of July 8 by a flotilla of superdreadnoughts, headed by the Pennsylvania, carrying members of the Cabinet and of Congress. The presidential liner was escorted to the pier at Hoboken, New Jersey, by battleships, destroyers, subchasers, airplanes, and dirigibles. Even smoky

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