Why We Went to War

Why We Went to War

Why We Went to War

Why We Went to War

Excerpt

Mr. Baker became Secretary of War in President Wilson's cabinet just a year before the United States declared war on Germany, and he served in that capacity until the end of the Wilson Administration in the spring of 1921. At the request of Foreign Affairs he some time ago set himself to describe the course of events which led eventually to the declaration of war, consulting for that purpose his own recollections and the mass of documentary and other material which had accumulated in the intervening years. When the results of his investigation were published in Foreign Affairs they attracted an extraordinary amount of attention. Evidently in this case "the people" are not what Hegel described them as ordinarily being--"that part of the nation that does not exactly know what it wants." They wanted to know Mr. Baker's opinion as to the causes of America's entry into the World War; and they wanted to know his opinion of the various methods being suggested for avoiding a similar experience in the future. To satisfy their demand, Mr. Baker's study is here reproduced in book form, together with an appendix containing President Wilson's war message and three of his other important messages, and a bibliography and an index. In reading these pages one feels that Mr. Baker was attracted not by the idea of speculating on what might have happened if the emotions of individuals and the actions of governments had been different, but with discovering precisely what they were and in relating effect to cause. He was bent upon isolating those events and forces which took the United States . . .

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