Thomas Knock on the Policy and Character of Woodrow Wilson Book Review by NCHist

Thomas Knock on the Policy and Character of Woodrow Wilson
A review of Thomas J. Knock's work, "To End All Wars: Woodrow Wilson and the Quest for a New World Order".
# 153512 | 1,242 words | 0 sources | 2004 | US
Published on Jun 08, 2013 in History (Leaders) , History (U.S. Presidency) , Literature (American)

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The paper reviews Thomas J. Knock's "To End All Wars: Woodrow Wilson and the Quest for a New World Order" that provides a new glimpse into the often contradictory figure of Woodrow Wilson. The paper looks at how Knock discusses the effect of Wilson's domestic policies on his foreign policy and also examines Wilson's relationship with the far-left, and his inability to win over the "conservative internationalists" in his attempt to advocate the League of Nations. The paper highlights Knock's thesis that Wilson's foreign policy was both created, and then later destroyed, by his domestic agenda, and shows how he presents Wilson as a tragic figure who had an idealistic vision, albeit a myopic one. This author posits that Knock's book should be considered as a novel and essential reading for those interested in trying to understand the complex and contradictory character of Woodrow Wilson.

From the Paper:

"It is difficult to conceive of Wilson from a modern standpoint as an ardent leftist. His decision to involve the United States in the First World War, his punitive invasion of Mexico and his traditional diplomacy in the Caribbean all tend to overshadow Wilson's more progressive side. Despite these seemingly conservative actions, Wilson was in fact quite close to not only the leaders of the progressive movement such as Williams Jennings Bryan, but to radical activists on the far left. In 1914, when World War One broke out, most Americans considered the war to be an entirely European affair. To many the war was nothing remarkable, considering how the continent had been embroiled in numerous conflicts throughout the 19th century. Although some notable individuals such as Theodore Roosevelt loudly advocated intervention in the war, the majority were convinced that neutrality was the best course of action. Furthermore, many activist groups formed to not only safeguard American neutrality, but to advocate pacifism and an end to the war in Europe. Knock astutely notes that these groups made a point to "seek Wilson out" (50.) The Woman's Peace Party led by Jane Addams was well received at the White House and presented the president with ideas on mediation and "constructive peace." Surprisingly enough Wilson gained many of his ideas about progressive diplomacy and internationalism from the Socialist party."

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