View Full Version : The US and WW1

06-30-2006, 06:03 PM
This is a C&P from http://www.greatwar.nl/,an interesting view on the US entry into WW1

http://www.greatwar.nl/america/vierkantje.gif (http://www.greatwar.nl/index.html)THE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WARhttp://www.greatwar.nl/america/vierkantje.gif (http://www.greatwar.nl/index.html)
http://www.greatwar.nl/america/blauwlyn.gif (http://www.greatwar.nl/index.html)
http://www.greatwar.nl/america/usoorlog.jpg (http://www.greatwar.nl/america/americabarnes.html)
April 6, 1917: America declares war against Germany by a large majority in the Congress.

Why America Should
Have Stayed Out
By Rob Ruggenberg http://www.greatwar.nl/america/emailtje.gif (htp://www.greatwar.nl/emailform.html)
http://www.greatwar.nl/america/churchill.jpgThere is no doubt that Winston Churchill (1874-1965) never was very enthusiast about America's entry (http://www.greatwar.nl/america/how.html) in the Great War.
Churchill (PICTURE LEFT) wrote: "Suddenly a nation of one hundred and twenty millions unfurls her standard on what is already the stronger side; suddenly the most numerous democracy in the world, long posing as a judge1), is hurled, nay, hurls itself into the conflict."
He was not alone. His political opponent James Ramsay MacDonald, one of the leaders of the British Labour Party, expressed similar thoughts. MacDonald, who had been trying to get England out of the war since the beginning, expressed concern that America's appearance on the battlefield would frustate ongoing peace attempts. In England and in France talking about peace became little less than high treason. Who wanted peace now? With America on her side the allies were sure of the final humiliation of the enemy.
Years later, in August 1936, Churchill, then an ordinary Conservative member of the British parliament, gave an interview on this matter to mr. William Griffin, editor of the New York Enquirer2), who stayed in London at that time. "America should have minded her own business and stayed out of the World War", Churchill was quoted.
In the interview Churchill explained that the fighting parties at that time - Spring 1917 - were ready for peace. The 1916 disasters of Jutland, Verdun and Somme had taken most, if not all, of the fighting spirit out of Germany, Britain and France. There had been already several peace-proposals from German and Austrian sides and there were attempts at mediation going on by neutral Danish, Swedish and even American negotiators.
Churchill: "Peace at that moment would have saved over one million British, French, American, and other lives."
But because the United States suddenly wanted their share of the war all peace-talk became useless.
There is an ongoing dispute whether Churchill really spoke these words. When Churchill later denied having said that the US should have minded her own business, William Griffin, publisher of the New York Enquirer, testified in Congress that it was indeed Sir Winston Churchill who made this comment in an interview with him in London in August 1936 (sworn statement, Congressional Record, October 21, 1939, vol. 84. p. 686.).
Griffin also brought a $1,000,000 libel suit against Churchill.
The libel case was not called until October 1942, in the midst of the Second World War. Churchill was now prime minister in Great-Britain. Griffin and his lawyers failed to appear in court. At that time the journalist was under indictment in Washington, D.C., on charges of conspiring to lower the morale of the armed forces of the United States of America3). Because Griffin did not show up, the charges against Churchill were dismissed. In a conversation with the The New York Times Churchill admitted having the 1936 interview, but disavowed the disputed statement (The New York Times, October 22, 1942, p. 13).
It is a pity that most attention went (and still goes) to the question whether Churchill did, or did not utter these words. The opinion itself deserves more consideration. In 1936 the doom of new armed conflict was already hanging over Europe. As we can see now, afterwards, the arguments in the statement were pointing directly to the origins of the Second World War.
If only for the sake of discussion4), here follows what Winston Churchill - according to the New York Enquirer - in 1936 has said literally :

"America should have minded her own business and stayed out of the World War. If you hadn't entered the war the Allies would have made peace with Germany in the Spring of 1917. Had we made peace then there would have been no collapse in Russia followed by Communism, no breakdown in Italy followed by Fascism, and Germany would not have signed the Versailles Treaty, which has enthroned Nazism in Germany. If America had stayed out of the war, all these 'isms' wouldn't today be sweeping the continent of Europe and breaking down parliamentary government - and if England had made peace early in 1917, it would have saved over one million British, French, American, and other lives."
In the USA there was also support for this opinion. In 1939 the American historian professor Harry Elmer Barnes (http://www.greatwar.nl/america/americabarnes.html) bluntly stated: "Not only was our entry into the World War a calamity of the first magnitude for Europe and contemporary civilization, it was also a serious disaster for the United States".5)

1) - England and France were not always happy about the way America conducted 'neutralism' in the time before the United States declared war on Germany. Click here (http://www.greatwar.nl/america/americaneutral.html) to read what the English author Edward Wright wrote about this subject.
2) - The New York Enquirer was a Sunday afternoon paper William Griffin started in 1926 to fill the gap between Sunday morning and Monday morning, and to give William Randolph Hearst a paper on which to try out experimental ideas. After Griffin's death in 1952, the newspaper was sold to Generoso Pope, who turned it into the National Enquirer.
3) - The proceedings against Griffin were quashed after a hearing in federal court on January 26, 1944.
4) - Since The Heritage of the Great War in 1998 published the text of the alleged Churchill interview for the first time on the Internet, this website has been under constant attack by (mainly American) readers who 1. did not believe that The New York Enquirer ever existed, 2. doubted whether editor William Griffin was a real person, 3. doubted that Churchill had ever given him an interview, 4. were certain that the words were spoken by a nephew of Winston Churchill, 5. were convinced that The Heritage of the Great War had made the whole story up. There were also serious reactions.
5) - Click here (http://www.greatwar.nl/america/americabarnes.html) to read Harry Elmer Barnes' full explanation of his argument, written down in 1939. Similar statements are still being made, e.g. by historian Thomas Fleming in his recent (2003) book The Illusion of Victory: America in World War I.
http://www.greatwar.nl/america/roodknop.gif Sources (http://www.greatwar.nl/bronnen.html#america) for this article.
http://www.greatwar.nl/america/roodknop.gif To the frontpage of The Heritage of the Great War (http://www.greatwar.nl/index.html).

Phillip Allen
06-30-2006, 06:12 PM
This is known as the "hinge factor"

06-30-2006, 06:33 PM
He may not have wanted us in WW I, but he surely wanted us in WW II.

What do you suppose, as an Aussie, a subject of the queen or king, were his motives in each case?

I'm a bit fond of Churchill. "The Last Lion" as William Manchester called him.

Anyone who can quip this when in the wilderness, building brick walls and painting second-rate watercolors, can't be all bad.

"Dogs look up to us, cats look down on us, and pigs see us as equals."

06-30-2006, 07:05 PM
What do you suppose, as an Aussie, a subject of the queen or king, were his motives in each case?

The second war is rather obvious , but in the first the forestalling of the rise of communism , which he argues the US entry encouraged , would be a good guess .

It would be an excellent case out unforseen outcomes of a foreign involvement ,would it not ?

Nicholas Carey
06-30-2006, 07:08 PM
Bear in mind that Churchill's analysis was made with nearly 20 years of hindsight.

06-30-2006, 07:11 PM
True ,but this is supposed to be the job of the current , or then current, foreign affairs anylysts . Do we learn from history ...even when we try to ?

06-30-2006, 08:03 PM
He may not have wanted us in WW I, but he surely wanted us in WW II.

Which begs the question would there have been a WW II if the US had not entered WW I? See? World War Two is all America's fault :D

06-30-2006, 08:09 PM
It was definately our fault! Read the history. If you forget all else, remember the name, Rockefeller.

Cuyahoga Chuck
06-30-2006, 09:15 PM
Churchill was one of those great men who was right on many important issues and thoroughly wrong on equally as many others.
He probably has an excessive ego even for a great a man, and he, undoubtedly, had a blind spot for his many faults.
How he got out from under Gallipoli I can't imagine.
He had a flair for writing about high drama and he was always his own principle character. He did not generate many words on his failures.

Bob Smalser
06-30-2006, 09:49 PM
Interesting ideas....if Churchill actually ever said any of that.

In fact, US entry was a long, slow process that could've just as easily been on Germany's side as Britain's:

1) There is little doubt Wilson wanted peace, as that was his record, public and private. Moreover, he was a part of those peace efforts of 1917 mentioned above.

2) Our vital interest was free trade....Britain was embargoing our foodstuffs and other supplies destined for the Axis and the Axis was waging submarine warfare against our war supply ships destined for Britain and the Allies.

3) It was only Germany's stupidity that caused the US to enter the war against her....attacking US shipping and US-bound passenger liners containing Americans, etc, et al....but the biggie was a diplomatic promise to Mexico that Germany would get back California, NM, AR, and Texas for her....

....the straw that broke the camel's back.

Add to all that...that it was Britain and especially France who took revenge on Germany in the treaty that finally ended the war. The US aim in that treaty was to leave Germany sufficient wherewithall to survive, but that aim was soundly defeated by Br-Fr, who had greater moral weight as having bled since 1914. Severe Allied sanctions were the cause of WWII...and those were caused by Britain and France, not the US.

06-30-2006, 10:48 PM
I hold it against Churchill that he got us in the Cold War. I see him as the proto post war military socialist. Look at the economic recovery of occupied Germany compared to post WWII Britain.

06-30-2006, 11:07 PM
I hold it against Churchill that he got us in the Cold War. I see him as the proto post war military socialist. Look at the economic recovery of occupied Germany compared to post WWII Britain.

Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to the proportions of Marshall Aid funding that went to Britain as against Germany ?

Bob Smalser
06-30-2006, 11:30 PM
This BBC piece is clear enough:

We all know the easy British explanation for our cumulative export defeat in world markets from the 1950s onwards, especially at the hands of the Germans. This story tells us that lucky West Germany had all her industries and infrastructure bombed flat or removed as reparations, and then was able to re-equip herself from scratch with Marshall Aid dollars. Meanwhile, so this hard-luck story goes on, poor old Britain had to struggle on with worn-out and old-fashioned kit.

This is utter myth. Britain actually received more than a third more Marshall Aid than West Germany - $2.7 billion as against $1.7 billion. She in fact pocketed the largest share of any European nation. The truth is that the post-war Labour Government, advised by its resident economic pundits, freely chose not to make industrial modernisation the central theme in her use of Marshall Aid.


You're gonna have to stretch history a bit further to make the US that cause of WWII. Preposterous tripe like much revisionist history today written to defame rather than clarify.

06-30-2006, 11:53 PM
And to think I turn to the BBC today thinking I can escape Murdoch! lol. Its also a case study cited by some CATO Institute scholars.

My latest revisionist history started from a coworker in Pizza Hut's woodshop for furniture making who told me when they shot down a zero they picked up pieces marked Alcoa. Recently I had the history of US aluminum makers explained at length to me in an antitrust case and the ownership of German plants by American companies during the war.

George Orwell had a lot of insight.

07-01-2006, 05:40 AM
Thanks for the link Bob .