DBQ #13: Wilson’s Actions and the Treaty of Versailles
The statement “It was the strength of the opposition forces, both liberal and conservative, rather than the ineptitude and stubbornness of President Wilson that led to the Senate defeat of the Treaty of Versailles” is false. Instead, Wilson’s unbending will and unwillingness to compromise brought about the ultimate defeat of the Treaty of Versailles. All debate came from Wilson’s safeguarding of what he deemed a league to prevent all future war, the League of Nations. Though many in the Senate, including Henry Cabot Lodge, called for reform, President Wilson would sacrifice anything to keep the League from ever seeing change. Wilson approached asking for everything or nothing, and came out empty. One Democratic senator charged that the president had “strangled his own brainchild with his own palsied hands rather than let the Senate straighten its crooked limbs”. Wilson hoped to move forward with a potentially social, political, and economic entity capable of regulating the world, yet would up with political opposition and a moral dilemma. Although armed immediately preceding the war with a frenzied, world-wide love and with three other nations with which to suppress Germany, Wilson’s own inadequacies would prevent an agreement between president and Congress, and ultimately crippled the effectiveness of the Treaty of Versailles. Perhaps the League would never have been such an issue if not for Wilson’s first blunder during the November 1918 Congressional elections. Hoping to gain leverage at the peace talks, Wilson personally appealed for Democratic votes, despite his “Politics Is Adjourned” policy. The move badly backfired, allowing such individuals as Henry Cabot Lodge to step into the forefront. Republicans became increasingly annoyed with Wilson and his tactics when he decided to attend the peace conference in person, and then refused to include any conservatives in his official peace...
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