“When the Germans had sought peace in late 1918, they appealed directly to Wilson, not to his allies. He pressed them to get rid of Kaiser Wilhelm II and the Hohenzollern dynasty. They did. He demanded they establish a liberal, democratic republic. They set up the Weimar Republic. They met all his conditions. And still he handed them over to the unmerciful French. Small wonder all German politicians would later describe the Treaty of Versailles as “the stab in the back”.
At home, Wilson alienated the Republicans utterly. He could not cooperate with the “bitter enders”, those senators who opposed everything he had done. He allowed his personal distaste for the powerful Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge to doom any effort at collaboration. Lodge was not a bitter ender. He proposed only mild reservations to the Treaty of Versailles, that required Wilson to compromise only on two points – that Congress’s consent would be required before committing U.S. troops to foreign wars and that the new League of Nations would respect the Monroe Doctrine, the cornerstone of American foreign policy for a century. This Wilson militantly refused to do.
He refused to compromise even when his Senate Democratic leader pleaded with him to do so and save the treaty. He refused again when the French and the British interceded, saying they would accept the Treaty of Versailles even with the reservations.
Wilson was the first Ph.D. in the white house. His doctorate was in political science. His specialty was the American constitutional system. Under that constitution, he had to know, the president is required to accept the “advice and consent” of the Senate in order to ratify any treaty.
Wilson’s inflexibility and disdain for other’s judgment gained him the hostility of his allies in Paris. Britain’s Lloyd George and France’s Clemenceau clashed with him. Italy’s Orlando was so upset he left the Paris peace conference. The Japanese, deeply offended by the rejection of their racial equality resolution, also withdrew from the conference table.
Had Wilson had Lincoln’s selfless qualities, or Washington’s ability to forgive, he might have been an architect of peace. As it was, no man was more responsible for losing the peace than Woodrow Wilson. That was his tragedy – and ours.”
This is from the great America: The Last Best Hope (Volume II).
Now, the people who blaime Bush for the 4 thousand soliders that have died in Iraq will have to ‘credit’ Wilson to a total of over 110 thousand. And some could say that the over 250 thousand who died in WW2 were also his doing.
I think he is the worst not because of the number of American deaths but because he represents the worst kind of President in any democracy: an educated pacifist. Pacifists are those who avoid war at any costs instead of actually assuring peace. Wilson was a man who took this hypocrisy to unprecedented heights (he was re-elected in 1916 with the slogan “He Kept Us Out of The War”), and worst of all, someone who did not even learn from his mistakes. He clearly acted late, and even after all the bloodshed that was caused at least in part by his flawed principles, could not avoid putting his ideology in front of actual peace. He was truly a disgrace.
Unfortunately, Obama reminds me of him a great deal.