The True Story of Woodrow Wilson

By David Lawrence | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV
WHEN POLITICS WAS NOT "ADJOURNED"--THE END OF
THE WAR

Outwardly, politics was "adjourned", to use Mr. Wilson's own words, during the period beginning with the declaration of war on April 6, 1917 and the Armistice November 11, 1918, but the atmosphere inside Washington was hardly less partisan than in peace times. The country as a whole knew very little of the partisan warfare going on at the national capital. Whether the course of the President provoked his opponents to a display of partisanship or whether they on the other hand were unable to permit a Democratic President to carry the laurels of a war in which Republicans as well as Democrats were fighting, it is unnecessary and futile to discuss. The fact remains that Woodrow Wilson was conscious of the partisanship on Capitol Hill and resented bitterly the efforts made to furnish him with a war cabinet. He was convinced that this was not a constructive but a destructive move. His theory was that most of the big interests which had been selling materials to the Allies before the United States entered the war sought a means of safeguarding their business by getting their own personnel into governmental bureaus. There never was any real intention on Mr. Wilson's part to ignore the business interests of the country but in the prosecution of the war he had two fundamental ideas. One was that men who had been the mainstay of the American army knew more than civilians did about military matters, while the practical men in the United States Navy knew more than any outsiders about the conduct of the fleet. President Wilson gave a free hand to General Pershing--he never rebuked him or withheld support. To the credit of Newton D. Baker, Secretary of War,

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