"Bolshevism is gaining ground everywhere. Hungary has just succumbed. We are sitting upon an open powder magazine and some day a spark may ignite it. . ." COLONEL HOUSE, March 22, 1919.
THE PARIS Peace Conference did not begin its formal deliberations until January 12, 1919, almost exactly one month after Wilson landed at Brest. The first plenary session was not held until January 18.
This delay is incomprehensible, particularly when we remember that the crying need of the hour was haste. The red bacillus of Bolshevism was gradually spreading westward from Russia, and anarchy was smoothing its path. Europe was bankrupt, starving, and sick, both mentally and physically. "The wolf," said Herbert Hoover, "is at the door of the world." Unless peace was made, and made quickly, Germany might yield to Bolshevism, clasp hands with Russia, and reopen the war. Or there might be no responsible government in Germany to accept the peace when once it was drawn up.
The race was a breath-taking one between the makers of peace and the makers of anarchy. Yet the makers of peace dawdled away two months after the Armistice before putting their feet together under the table. All the while their armies melted away, their strength ebbed, and with it went the power to enforce their decisions and garner the fruits of victory. In what way was Wilson responsible for this perilous delay?
The answer is: he had little or nothing to do with it. This judgment becomes all the more significant when we realize that he was later criticized with great bitterness for delaying the peace by forcing the League of Nations into the treaty. We