Words That Won the War: The Story of the Committee on Public Information, 1917-1919

By James R. Mock; Cedric Larson | Go to book overview

Chapter 13
EDUCATING OUR COMRADES IN ARMS

IN Woodrow Wilson's first political adventure, the campaign for the governorship of New Jersey, he accepted the help and the sponsorship of politicians of whom he cordially disapproved. During the campaign he said he was going to do things that the political machine would not like, but the bosses did not worry because they knew that the college professor was drawing votes that way. And Mr. Wilson did not worry about the obviously cynical applause of the politicians, because he thought that once the election was won he, not they, would control the state.

That was what happened, and much of his progressive program went through in spite of their opposition.

But in Mr. Wilson's greatest of all political ventures the cards were turned the other way. He had a progressive program for all mankind in 1917, and he was finally persuaded that it could never be inaugurated unless he joined forces with the Allies. And the Allied governments, like the New Jersey bosses in 1910, cheered loudly for each of his idealistic pronouncements, while knowing full well that Wilson could never have what he wanted if what they conceived as their national interests were to be served.

The debate of a few years ago as to whether Wilson knew the provisions of the Allies' secret treaties before the end of the war is almost unimportant in view of the full evidence made available by Ray Stannard Baker and many others that Wilson realized the Allies were with him only until the last shot was fired, and that then they were to be against him.

He knew that they would be against him, but he thought that he could win.

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