ON OCTOBER 7, 1918, President Wilson received official word from Berlin, via the Swiss, that Germany wanted to end the war on the basis of his famous Fourteen Points. The war effort had to go on, for no chances could be taken, but Baruch was advised of the situation and told to govern the activities of the War Industries Board accordingly. The President also told him that he was being drafted for service at the Peace Conference, whenever it should be held, because Wilson considered no one so well qualified to work on the economic sections of the treaty.
After this first request for an armistice and before the President and Baruch sailed for Europe, however, occurred something which was to "break the heart of the world." This was the congressional election on November 5, just 2 days before the false armistice and 6 days before the real one.
Somebody--the blame has never been clearly fixed, though most Democratic politicians blamed Postmaster General Albert S. Burleson--persuaded President Wilson to issue an appeal for the election of a Democratic Congress. This was done on October 24. The Democratic leaders were worried about the House of Representatives. In the election of 1916 the House results had been so close that only by some shrewd maneuvers and several lucky breaks were the Democrats able to organize the House and elect a Speaker.