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 NINE

THE LIVING MARTYRDOM

"He fell, wounded unto death. He died. . . as much a victim
of the war as the Unknown Soldier who sleeps at Arlington."
THOMAS W. GREGORY ( Wilson's Attorney General),
January 23, 1923.


1

THE SUPREME tragedy would have been a clouding of Wilson's splendid mind, but this seems not to have occurred. He was apparently able to remember and reason as well as before the stroke, that is, for relatively short periods, then fatigue overtook him. But while the clarity of his brain could pass muster, it was evident to those who observed him closely that he was not the same Wilson. He was more irritable, more sensitive to criticism, and apt to break down in tears under unusual emotional strain.

Prolonged illness, accompanied by pain, depression, and permanent physical impairment, frequently affects the patient's mental fiber. A man's brain may be clear, but he may be unable, because of his affliction, to work more than a few minutes a day. A man's brain may be clear, but he may lack his old energy, his emotional balance, his ability to make speedy and sound decisions, and above all to provide that type of vigorous leadership demanded by high executive office.

As a leader, Wilson was never the same again. Something went out of him; his mental resiliency fled. But his Scotch stubbornness -- the will not to yield-was apparently fortified. An unkind stroke of Fate had withered one cheek, yet he turned the good one more resolutely than ever toward his adversaries.

With glacial slowness the sick man got better. He was permitted to grow a beard and mustache, about which he made

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