tv Americas Entry into World War I CSPAN January 17, 2016 6:45pm-8:01pm EST
confrontation that can only end in bloodshed. the troops and deputies stand by as the prayers are said and the marchers go back to selma. this alabama town will go down in the history books. people can understand the plea that no american can have freedom and justice unless there is freedom and justice for all. in selma, there is a lesson to be learned. >> from 1914 to 1917, under the leadership of president woodrow wilson, the united states remained neutral as the first world war escalated through europe. we discussed the events and politics behind america's entry into world war i. she is the author of a
forthcoming book entitled going to war in american history. she spoke at the library of congress. this is about one hour and 10 minutes. lecture is titled "bullet in the chamber -- the politics of catastrophe and the declaration of world war i." our speaker completing her tenure. the professor's research has focused on american war politics and how the american people experience war in the 20th century. her research attempts to get to the root of contemporary phenomenon, the disengagement of the u.s. congress and the american people from more in the 21st century. is informing her forthcoming book "going to war
-- in american history." you may have seen in the new york times an article that discusses the key question at the heart of her research. today, she will speak about how america was mobilized for world war i by catastrophes of sunken ships and how catastrophes can mobilize americans to engage in distant conflicts. is professor of law and director of the project of war and security at emory university. emory,o her position at professor of law and political science at the university of southern california.
she has also taught at duke, harvard, university of maryland, and university of iowa. she is an expert in constitutional law, legal history, diplomatic history, and civil rights history. she received her phd from yale university. most recently, she has been the chair of the american law and governance here. ryease join me in welcoming ma dudziak. dr. dudziak: thank you for that
very kind introduction. i am so grateful you took time on such a beautiful afternoon to think about war with me. i have many thank you's, which i will try to do more quickly than is appropriate. i want to recognize a couple of really wonderful and important people here today in terms of the future of legal history. claire altman is here. the historian of the state department, stephen randolph, and the state department historian's office has been pivotal in making foreign relations history open and accessible so that all of us can do our research and the office has thrived under his leadership
and his wonderful staff is just a treasure. thank you to the national history senator -- center for cosponsoring. this is a work in progress. if you see any ragged edges and you want to talk to me, that would be great. i have many images in the powerpoint and especially for viewers at home, i found virtually everything on the library of congress website. a couple of the images are national archives. i really encourage you to go to the library of congress website, search the catalog, many things you can find you can use without coming to this amazing and wonderful building, which you should come to anyway.
i thought i would say my thank you's two people -- to people who have helped with my work by doing credits at the beginning of the lecture. i am sure there are people i have left out, but so many people at the library and also at the national archives has been really pivotal. see if a lot won't .f discussion about pacifism women who are so pivotal in this particular era. -- they to do a lecture did not fit in a lecture.
on a rainy evening, april 2, 1917, a somber woodrow wilson arrived at the capitol to call upon congress to declare war on germany. he entered the house chamber where senators, congress members, supreme court justices, and others knew his purpose. although the words had been crafted by wilson the day before on his typewriter and shared with almost no one. gathered in the chamber with a small group of old soldiers, the congress called into session included members of a generation that had seen their own country at the battlefield. 15 members of the 65th congress had fought in the civil war. others were children of the civil war, like the president
himself. wilson's chief antagonist in the senate grew up playing soldier with other children. these lawmakers brought civil war memories into their political identities and their understanding of war. senator nelson of minnesota, a civil war veteran, was wounded in the battle and taken prisoner. he carried with him the memory of a severely wounded comrade. his arms separated into three pieces, left to die by wilson's captors. the civil war had more than abstract presence in the house chamber that night. the senator from west virginia, a union veteran, was plagued by his civil war injuries. thighlodged in nelson's
in 1917 was a confederate bullet. this is the first bullet in the chamber. the bodily presence in congress in 1917 of the legacy of war. great warr before the began, president wilson led the entire nation and remembering the civil war -- in remembering the civil war in the battle of gettysburg. he found hope on that battlefield. y's lifeof our countr has been broadened into morning. -- into mourning. wilson, like many others, reimagined the civil war, turning the battle over racial equality into the forgotten on the stacks of jim crow america.
war wasmagining of the not wilson's alone, but we shared by many veterans. bluen would dress in union . members on aess march honoring world war i draft these. wilson's optimistic message at gettysburg was delivered before a crowd assembled on a pristine field. it was so different for abraham lincoln, whose gettysburg 1863, and unfinished cemetery for more than 12,000 soldiers. macabre, covered by makeshift graves.
body parts protruded, a former hsh scene, the ror of fighting and its aftermath. gettysburg had become a shrine and an acropolis. space of the dead. dead, likehe cemeteries, to cultural work for the living. gettysburg was such a place from the beginning of its memorialization. out theng to carry principles that soldiers had fought and died for.
for wilson, gettysburg was a site where human remains were reimagined to have reconciled a nation, not seen was what political divisions had done to the body's. -- to the bodies. i should say i never planned to write about world war i, but taking seriously -- thinking about the implications for a time when the battleground was elsewhere. it caused me to rethink my project, rollback the timeline,
and rethink the entire 20th century. during the civil war, the experience had impact -- deep impacts on civil war americans. intimacy with death and dying which transformed the united a veritableting republic of suffering. you can think of the republic being constituted in relation to this experience of death, dying, and suffering. the history of american war since the civil war, i would argue, has been in part a history of losing this connection with the dead. americans continue to kill and die in war, but the dying happened elsewhere. civilians were maimed and perished, but fewer of them were americans.
it eventually became a country that could go to war in relative comfort. the loss of a direct connection between american civilians and the experience of violence is thought of a post vietnam story with the demise of the draft. this data is about war participation and you can see this great spike in world war ii and the trails off and picks up in vietnam and continues to drop down. the most fundamental shift began much earlier than vietnam and requires the rethinking of the most iconic american wars. world war i is a pivotal didrtance, history --- how congress, the president and the country get behind a war that was happening somewhere else?
a groundswell developed that would lead american soldiers to the trenchers of europe -- that are number of factors matter to the entry into world war i but one thing is crucial. bodies in the water. and the stories told about them . dead american civilians in the atlantic ocean and their appearance in the crass politics and pop again-- and propaganda. literature, world war i provokes not that much interest. after all, when it came to entering war politics seem to work the way it should. the president asked for a war declaration, congress provided one. what's the focus of the scholarship is what happens afterwards, especially the violation of civil liberties. the spanish-american
war, world war i did not encompass territories the u.s. would lay claim to. broke out, americans savored their distance from the conflict. the atlanticn for ocean, wrote the u.s. ambassador to the united kingdom. reassuredent wilson the press and the country that the country would stay out. the united states has never attempted to intervene in european affairs, he said. the conflict was remote and for most americans an abstraction. sh leaders noticed this. the british ambassador to the u.s. complaint that americans thought the war was a bore an immensely interesting spectacle provided for their entertainment. ritish work to overcome this. the target of their propaganda was neutral nations. this means that the information americans had about war would
sometimes be exaggerated in the hope that the u.s. would join the war on the side of england. but straightforward reporting sometimes broke through american indifference. americans were outraged in may, 1915, when a german submarine sunk the luis attaining a -- the lusitannia. but americans remained reluctant to join the conflict and a year and a half later in the 1960 election, the democratic party slogan,- the 1916 he kept us out of war helped wilson prevail in a close election. americans understood the way deaths of american travelers affected the public and some argued that american should stay home and deaths underpaid -- daetheaths on ships would not dg us into war. no single citizen should be
allowed to run the risk of dredging this nation in blood. congress members propose to ban passports to americans for travel on ships and sailing on ships carrying contraband but these things did not pass. in an article that probably got more play than anything historians have ever written, carlton hayes wrote an essay in is proposalum, andh then gets pickup later. i will tell you about the armed ship bill that wilson took up. but he says along the way, what would be served by joining this conflict full-fledged? we shall be additional targets for german for funerals -- german torpedoes. we shall be sacrificing thousands of lives to avenge hundreds. others are strongly believed in american neutral rights, including the right to travel on toe ocean and to sell goods
belligerence. former president theodore roosevelt thought it was a matter of national honor. he was infuriated by wilson's reluctance to fight. hashe wrote that dante reserved a special place in infamy in the inferno for those angels neither side with evil or with good. wilson was the prime candidate -- the internal suspension between heaven and hell where cowardly creatures went naked and worst -- were stung by wasps. this is a former president saying this about a sitting president. it isuld happen -- partly teddy roosevelt, of -- but it also revealed the depth of passion and division over american
involvement in world war i. 1917, robertary lansing wrote "sooner or later, the die will be cast and we will be at war with germany." he was a supporter of going to war. "we must nevertheless wait patiently until the germans do something which will arouse general indignation and make all americans alive to the peril of german success in war." favored intervention by daniel smith writes he felt little could be done effectively until the germans submarines sank more vessels bearing more civilians thus providing a moral and emotional stimulus. decide on war and then wait for a catastrophe that will mobilize the american people. this pattern would be repeated over and over again in later wars in the 20th century.
at every war but this is pattern that happened over and over again. this is what i mean by politics of catastrophe. in a distant war, catastrophe is needed for mobilization. made worldng that war i different than vietnam was the importance of catastrophe to the president's decision to go to war. as smith put, wilson was so torn over american intervention that the president also required a submarine issue, more deaths in the water. in order to agree to take the nation to war. 17, 1917, february two americans set off on a fateful journey. their plan was to sail from new york city to liverpool and from there to join the rest of their family living in london.
instead, their journey would take them into the heart of american war politics in the weeks of turmoil leading up to american entry into world war i. mary hoye was said to a slandered, gray-haired and refined woman. daughter,hoye, her was slight but extremely vivacious. it was said and devoted to her mother. the family was prominent in society circles in chicago. um, they intended to join who worked intin the london office of a chicago company. they traveled on the british aconia along with 300 passengers and crew. the date of their voyage reveals its danger. earlier, germany
announced it submarines had attacked without warnings the ships of neutral nations as well as belligerence, including vessels of the united states if they sailed into waters around the british isles. woodrow wilson responded by severing diplomatic relations with germany, but this did not mean war, at least not yet. wilson warned that if there were actual overt acts against american ships or resulting in the deaths of americans, he would ask congress for authority to use any means that may be necessary to protect americans at sea. global the press, leaders and the american public then waited for the act, but remained unclear exactly what kind of response wilson had in mind. by the middle of february, they had been over 100 ships as many
different nations torpedo and s unk. the first american killed was richard wallace of baltimore. of baltimore,e and african-american merchant seamen on a british ship which sank ve quickly after a u-boat review don'try -- after a u-boat for peter it. germany sank an american ship the same day. but submarine captain make sure everyone was evacuated safely. d onebruary 7, 41 die another british ship but none of them were americans. there was speculation that another african-american seamen was killed when the british ship went down on february 10, but the press faeddes out on that one. um, an american missionary in china, robert hayden, was killed was a french steamer
torpedoed on february 17. troop transport. the decision was made that this was not an overt act. there was some bio info about him. there was never any real bio info about the merchant seamen of any race. also on february 17, an american ship was torpedoed on its way to sicily with no cavities. but still, all of the newspapers in rome asked whether this was the overt act wilson had spoken of. writes, "each instant increased british hopes . any one of them could have served as the overt act." the country was deeply divided. and so, unfortunately, was woodrow wilson himself. in the aftermath of the german
announcement of unrestricted submarine warfare, wilson was theessed and felt as fitif world had suddenly reversed itself and he was off balance. it is impossible to read his correspondence during the february and march 1917 without feeling the darkness that enveloped him. " i don't know what will come witof us. my thoughts is under siege." apparent but it is also important to remember that wilson himself laid the path to his own moment of torture. with my admire the bravery or scorn the foolishness of americans who chose to sail into a war zone, sometimes on belligerent ships with contraband but it was wilson who
elevated the importance of their choices to a fate of a nation was at stake in their perilous ocean journeys. and so, although it was not yet apparent, all the world's eyes were on our travelers as they headed for an ocean war zone on a ship of germany's enemy britain with a gun at the stern its hold.nitions in now, this might be a risky travel choice was not lost on his hoy's son who wired her not to sail, not once but five times. she was willing to risk it, mrs. backired you might wonder why anyone would take a trip. theeven at thips point in
war, in feathery, 1917, german u-boat did not -- in february, 7, german u-boat's not have complete control. ships were torpedoed. but most ships got through. - theyou oys - hoys a decent chance of getting to london. it was tom coffee, and african-american merchant sailor, works with segregated on ocean liners and african-american merchant sailors were often stewards for white passengers where they worked as firemen below deck. i'm almost positive that coffee was in that very difficult work. the laconia's voyage went well. by the evening of february 25, the ship was 150 miles off the
southern coast of ireland. it was a calm evening with little breeze. and stars could be seen through the overcast sky. suddenly, passengers felt the shp anip shake. a german u-boat had her petered out ship without warning -- had withoutd the ship warning. passengers and crew hurried for the lifeboat as the la conia began to list. before the evacuation was complete, the u-boat torpedoed the ship again and in 16 minutes it was below water. mary and elizabeth hoy made it into life point number 8, along with 20 others. as the boat was lowered into the ocean, the mechanism jammed and the boat scraped the side of the ship and drop suddenly. some of the boards sprung open.
the life vote did not sink but the passengers had to sit in icy water as high as their stomachs. petite, which is probably why they stood in the boat. even so, the water came up to their hips. they spoke to each other from time to time, another passenger remembered, but they seemed confused. then between one and 2:00 in the morning, mary hoy quietly slumped over. she was dead of exposure. elizabeth tried to wake her mother, before succumbing herself. tom coffee, the crew member, was also in lifeboat number 8. he dided after the hoys. his body and the bodies of of others was thrown into the water. the remains of the hoys were
kept on board until daylight. but of course it was keeping the boat lower in the water. but they were finally put into the ocean. the survivors were finally rescued at 6:45 in the morning. news of the sinking dominated the american press with front page huge headlines. in "the new york times" was tear marystatement of hoy's son.' "wasn't this the overt act?" he felt he had the right to ask president wilson, what is america going to do? according to the story, hoy wanted vengeance. america should go to war and he would be the first to enlist. let me drop a little but no. that was the news story. hoy had his own personal
statement to wilson said the same thing but was very measured and not emotional. according to one source, the interview done in london was fraudulent. of theect it was part british propaganda effort to encourage american to join the war. i can't tell from the sources i've seen, but that would certainly be consistent with british propaganda effort. i'm heading out to college park to the archives to try to nail this down before i leave town. but with or without an enhancement, hoy's statement, with an enhancement of hoy's statements, the laconia deaths had an impact. an upset reverberated into the corners of the white house
because since lady eidith wilson knew the hoys personally and was very upset. and, the wilson administration confirmed the case is clear-cut and the laconia incident was the overt act justifying stronger intervention against germany. president -- finds laconia sinking over act topped "the new york times." banner headlines. to builtse the laconia political momentum in favor of some level of response. now, the focus of laconia st ories was the death of the hoys with lots of details about their family and their lives in chicago. coffee's death was mentioned in passing if at all. white bodies, especially white female bodies, drove the
coverage in american newspapers. for the press and american politics, whiteness seemed necessary to trigger pathos and passion. not just coffee, other working-class men working on ships mentioned in passing and not getting this sort of emotional coverage. the laconia sinking shows us something important about the politics of catastrophe. what motivates a particular, popular sentiment in politics is not a concrete and transparently sincele event, contester fees are far away. the catastrophe is an event that is narrated in a way that motivates people. ok americans was not any old body in the water. an africanaitth of
american seamen did not make it onto the agenda as an overt act. the catastrophe in world war i was race and gender. a middlecided on course, not joining the war effort by protecting american ship by arming them. on february 26, he asked congress for a statue. would be allowed to fire on submarines without notice. and news of the laconia trickle to the chamber as this bill was, um, before the house. um, if allowing private american vessels to shoot german submarines with u.s.- supplied arms and naval personnel sounds like a great way to start a war, this certainly occur to members of congress.
this was reinforced by the reaction from other neutral nations and from germany, seeing armed private vessels as vessels of war. concern that the president was seeking to go to war without a declaration was also reinforced by the language of the bill itself. the senate provision provided for authority beyond -- an and in the merchant vessels. the president would be empowered to employ others -- and methods as may in his judgment and discretion seem " necessary and adequate." a nice strong bar there. i think it is fair to say that this is wilson's equivalent of lbj's tonkin gulf resolution on it now.in the it was a way to go to war
without saying so. if you had not been for a senate filibuster, this is probably what would've happened in world war i. the decoration would have followed afterwards. there is an important difference, however. lyndon johnson wanted a war resolution in order to look strong before the 1964 democratic convention. wilson's in direct path towards war seemed geared towards washing his hands, his own hands of responsibility for a policy, for what his policy would have accomplished. osrt -- sort of going to war without having to say so. armsvent, and however, the neutrality bill died in the senate as international tension increased, battles and the senate intensified, and time ran out and the final days of the 64th congress. a sympathetic biographer blames wilson for the failure. but wilson blamed what he calls
a little group of willful men who held up action that the president and the public thought was urgent. [indiscernible] he insisted that the bill was a means to go to war without a declaration. he was trying to preserve congress's constitutional duty to decide whether to enter a war. the filibusters were called un lette has and -- lafol been painted as a self-serving egomaniac. he was a senator. what do we expect? [laughter] it takes something to get into this role. um, and his, the role he played in the senate was his personality, um, sorter played into that and enabled it. but this episode still stands, i think, as an important example of an enduring truth.
there is power in congress to impede the march 2 war. there is extensive power in the president but there is also at least latent power in congress. even for congressional minority. there is always a bullet in the chamber in the metaphoric sense. a bullet that may be fired or made to be withheld. exercised by firing and refusing to fire. the political effort to stay out of war, that this ultimately failed, as a new congress quickly came into session should not erase what the senators accomplished, especially in light of th politics ofe war today. this episode is refreshing example of congress trying to engage politically and do something. of congress is
limited which is why a vigilant public is the most important repository of restraint. manyn then did what presidents have done after when they have not had war powers legislation from congress. he instead drew on his own presidential power and armed sh ips without authorization. now, while all of this was happening, the american public also learned of something called the zimmerman telegram, the german foreign secretary proposing an alliance with germany if the u.s., between germany and mexico if the u.s. entered the war. which would involve essentially mexico getting part of texas back. amed public opinion and contributed to a growing consensus against germany. german provocation, american entry into the war was not inevitable.
john cooper writes "nothing was foreordained about what the response might be. not even in 1917." some have argued that the zimmerman telegram was pivotal in driving the country to war. i would argue that without american bodies in the atlantic ocean, the zimmermann fiasco could have been managed. the a essential element in the politics of war was the bodies. that was the catastrophe that mobilized american support. wilson's own evolution was agonizing. in early marhc, he was sick with what was supposed to be a cold. he saw almost no one and was in bed for days. this was a period that a biographer calls wilson's death sentiment -- gethseame, invoking the biblical place where jesus prayed on the night
before his dead where jesus said his soul was overwhelmed by sorrow to the point of death. according to luke his sweat his like drops of blood. wilson's cabinet was frustrated and it was talk of resignation if the president did not act soon. secretary lansing saw this deep reluctance as a weakness. of this was still a war choice for the united states. the remainder other options. meldon small suggest perhaps a firm commitment to neutrality that has made the nation appear strong globally in the aftermath of war. if there was going to be a conflict, a limited naval war might have protected american interests. keeping u.s. forces out of the carnage in europe. even if war was the right choice, i have to say there is
something appealing about the trouble wilson found himself in. ourhould hope that presidents will feel torture and are at times questioning and unsure when the country, after all, is committing itself to war. during this troubled period, wilson decided at last to go to war. german actions had led the united states to the brink. it was not his decision. it was germany's decision that he was coming to deal with. war declaration emphasizes that the decision was not his but with germany's. different than the declaration of the spirit -- fo the spanish-american war. fdr seems to model the world war ii declaration after this. there is a war we have been forced into that we are now joining. um, so, finally, i've left
wilson out on the steps of the capitol this whole time. so, wilson finally ascends the steps of the capital on the evening of april 2, 1917. when he entered the house chamber, he was greeted with a loud ovation. he read from his text without looking up. the drama was not in his delivery but in the powerful words wilson is remembered for. wilson was a reluctant warrior, but the casey made for war was capacious and he turned his it attention to his hope that u.s. presence at the table at the end of the war would enable enduring peace. if american bodies in the water had given birth to the public's broader war fervor, wilson took that public passion and gave it a broader purpose. the decision for war was not to punish germany, he insisted, but to vindicate the principles of
peace and justice and the life selfishorld -- against and autocratic power. enduring peace could only be maintained through a partnership of democratic nations. the united states had no desire for conquest. the world must be made safe for democracy. tocalled upon americans dedicate our lives, our fortunes, everything that we are and everything we have for the day has come when america's privileged to spend her blood and termite for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and peace which she has treasured. how did the civil war vets respond to this call for arms? jon worthn, senator of california, actually ended his political career in that city fourth congress as one of a group of willful men. wh filibusteredo the arm to ship
bill. congress,vets in the especially the senators were underrepresented among those who did not vote at all. excuses --m had illness, they could not get to the senate on time -- but we cdanan't dismiss the possibility that i could not be there was a way of not having to vote on a declaration that had become so popular. isaacne congressman, sherwood of ohio, voted no. but most supported the war. war or seeing war up close does not necessarily generate passivism. sometimes it generates support. the role of the civil war vets went beyond their vote
breakdown, however. and what they had to say about war. they informed wilson's own sense of the meaning of the war. lastne 5, 1917, at the confederate veteran in the senate, john bankhead, gave a short and emotional speech in the senate. of thettered remains confederate military were in washington, d.c., for a reunion and they were so proud that they would be marching before the president. they were on a mission of peace and love, not of hatred and bloodshed, he said. towas -- in vibrant tones all the world that the nation was united. the presence of confederate veterans gave a child of the wilson, anworld are occasion to reflect on the meaning of both conflicts. providence has planned for us what we cannot perceive, he told see, now that they could
themselves as part of the united nations, it had become clear what the great ends which god, providence,erious watch through our instrumentality. in essensece, wilson told his audience god had had a purpose in their loss of the civil war. so a united nation could fight a new battle for liberty. in imaginingistent an that all civil war soldiers north and south shared common ideas of his about liberty and that liberty would be enabled by this war could only be maintained by fracturing the idea of liberty itself. generationay with a that has seen their country is a battlefield. the most important point i want to emphasize is that the structure of american war politics changed when war was no
longer on or about, uh, the american mainland. the territory of the american mainland. when the american mainland was not the war zone, the civilian experience of war was more reliant on press and political discourse. now, you may object that post-9/11 has made the country and terrorism has made the country a battlefield once again, but i beg to differ. it is one thing to have the kind of catastrophes we have recently seen in both san bernardino and colorado springs. but this is just not the same thing as everyday lives in london during the blitz, in paris during the nazi occupation or syria or iaq toraq today.
today, across the street from the capital, i wanted to emphasize that latent power that he bullet congress, t in the chamber. but congress has no incentive to act if the american people have checked out of the conversation. the most important check on war powers is always an engaged and informed citizenry. i'm sorry to report that american apathy has a long history and it was set in motion distant so that military engagement would no longer generate the civil war experience of a republic of suffering. thank you. [applause] so, i'm happy to take questions. and i think jason has a microphone. i can't see that well, so -- yes?
>> thank you. excellent lecture, really excellent. the stories you wove in there with a history. the question i have is where idealism,n's, his make the world safe for democracy, his believe that he could really help remake the world, he was thinking about kind of all along, right? he was thinking about it earlier and his presidency when he still did not want to enter the war. it seem to like maybe it was opportunism credit seemed like that was one of his motivations for taking advantage of some of the opportunities that presented themselves by americans being killed. where does that fit in? prof. dudziak: that's, he has a broader menu as you suggest of reasons to go to war. and one of the most important questions is how can the u.s. best be in position to shape the
peace? clearly once the decision has been made, that is then giving him his sense of relaly kind of purpose and optimism. in terms of really just sort of acid in a store and, in terms of nailing down what mattered exactly how much -- just as an historian, what w mattered when. the editor of the wilson papers and was a thorough biographer. basically he says that during n wilson has ae cold -- our coldest not require days, be in bed for getting up not until the afternoon. something was going on with him. and from the outside you wonder whether he was really quite depressed. some people speculate other health issues but it is all speculation, i believe. wasn'ting that time, he
seeing anyone but his wife. um, he didn't write in his diary. and there is just not the trail. so, my sense is it's really hard particularn the effect of a set of ideas like his ability to shape the peace without having wilson writing, i finally decided to do this because -- i can only say he was, i mean, he was really, you read his letters and he was so tortured. and certainly in early february, he already had the idea that he wanted to be in paris. and be part of the debate. but he still, um, waiting for the overt act.he' he's still not coming forward.
so, i guess a long way of saying i do not think you can nail it down precisely. to me that seems probably the best answer is otherin spite of these reasons, he's not really moved until he feels that he's been pushed so far. and the deaths in the atlantic sort of, they -- it's this sort of sensibility and the whole country and the world is looking at him and saying, where's the act/ ? then he finally comes around and decides to go to war. i think what that means is whatever else is on the table you don't really get there without the bodies. and one -- and that's really
what seems to create this ground domestically, which regardless of wilson's ideas, that is what is needed to really push this with so much support through congress, and then put wilson in a position that he has got the power to put through war measures he feels he needs. >> michael is over here. >> great talk, thank you. one quick comment then a question. the juxtaposition of wilson getting his -- speech in late january. at the same time, the german majority made the decision to resume warfare. and the plates they made to him several months before after the sussex was torpedoed -- the made. they
i think that was also really important. he had decided now it is time. maybe i can mediate this conflict. a week after he gives that speech, which is an amazing speech, i think of his life, then the germans go back on their pledge. so, i think that week is a key one. the question is, the bodies in the water matter but what do you think that the argument that what kennedy and other people earlyn some ways from u.s. was1915 on, the not neutral. jpmorgan was the banker for the british. the protest about americans being killed on british ships were much lower than the itishsts about the br blockade of germany which was killing lots of germans from hunger inducing. yes, the bodies mattered, but
the stage was set as soon as the germans decided they had to win the war before the u.s. might get in. that u.s. really was never really that neutral. prof. dudziak: um, yeah. i should say this comes from the biographer of william jennings bryan, which is an essential work for this period. i pretty much want to sort of pic your brain at some point about.all of this . so, well, two, things. suggest, wilson is working within a context that is already narrowed, right? britia wascause violating american neutral rightsi but that was not getting the same amount of attentionn. there's also all of this concern that surfaces after the war thet, is the -- is the, um,
reluctance to have more of a restraint on american trade and people traveling across the atlantic tied to the fact that people are making money producing emissions a-- munitions and this is about financial interest. from my perspective, there is this interesting moment after you thinkhere if about world war i is the first big distant war. it was not about territory the u.s. pop along to the u.s. think ofe is an era i as sort of like the debate about the war powers resolution after vietnam. can we roll this back? and so, this debate about why did we get in, part of that. should the be a war for -- a war referendum in part of that and
jeannette rankin is in the middle of that. the committee, and neutrality in the 1930's as part of the peace about how to we take into -- piece about how to we take into account the way financial interest can sort of put us in a position that the deck's stacked? and so you get the dynamic that cold war scholars talk about, and the military complex literature, when you have got politicians whose political careers are tied to financial interests, who don't want that commerce to be close down. i think it is tremendously important. i don't see wilson having a self-awareness of the way the s tage has been limited. i mean,so i think --
early on, he would raise those issues, but once we get to february, 1917, it is just like the walls are closing in on him. so, i do think it is at that point that the bodies in the water matter so much. just one more thing is i'm really motivated by -- drew 's ideas about how it matters to american culture to have this relationship with daeath and war. and that is what civilians are missing in world war i. it is just these exceptional issues, these travelers in the ocean. i even make an argument in world war ii, because american civilians that see war and know war largely through media and photographs that censored for the purpose of mobilization. so, this issue of the distance between the polity and the
benefield, what that drives is the battlefield, what that drives is how the american people are engaged or not with war. >> take a question on the side of the room. you. thank u might havet yo rushed a tad to turn the corner to 9/11 and vietnam and the lessons of this for that. i'd like to understand what you think the lessons are. because what i got, i did not get, which is to say that it seemed as though you -- the 9/11rediting experience with sufficient connection to the american people. but if i. understood you correctly
and i would've thought there was quite a lot, that that's was on american territory. this was killing americans on american territory. and if there were a country that had done that, it would not a been hard to get a declaration of war, although that is at had out of fashion. -- a tad out of fashion. - wasems like everything - there. we came the closest we could. we found the closest thing we could in afghanistan. put iraq. make believe we never did that. i wish we could undo that. afghanistan was widely populist, the right word, as a reaction to an attack on us. one of the divisions and this is what wars america has fought were optional and which ones weren't? i think most people would've said world war i was optional. after pearl wasn't
harbor. before, plausibly, the hegemony in europe was not enough if americans were not dine directly. so, and vietnam is yet another case. i would like you do go to turning the corner and tell us what you think the messages there. prof. dudziak: ok, what it would like to do is prioritize the idea, first of all. there are number of things to say. 9/11 terrorist attacks then end up becoming a war in afghanistan, right? was 9/11 a war? it was certainly a catastrophe, right? on the day itself, 9/11, i think ofit as a moment tremendous narrative ambiguity and confusion. during the day, people fought and argued with each other about what it was and what it meant.
and really no one knew. and everyone i knew was afraid. i was in los angeles. and everyone was afraid. and but there was a debate, you know, is this war or is this terrorism? and one of the things i would like to remind everyone is what happened right afterwards. people around the world took american flags, candles and flowers and went to american embassies around the world and the cried, and they came together in this global moment of support to the united states. um, now, in new york, people fought with each other in chalk on the sidewalk. bomb them all. let god sort it out. war is not the answer, right?
and there was a scholarly debate that lasted for a minute about should this be considered terrorism? is this a big international crime? inyou call it a war, that some ways ennobles the terrorists. is that what they are looking for after all? and one of the costs of the war framework, especially with iraq but it was i think starting to happen, um, before the was the fracturing of this moment of global solidarity. right? and so, if you can just imagine yourself in world where what we dida is went to our allies and people who had not been allies but were supporters at that moment and said, let's track these people down. and let's, you know, take them to justice. so, there were alternative
courses to take after 9/11. once it became a war, there wasn't aerial bombing in los angeles. you know. there was not aerial bombing in new york. and so, the united states is in a position that's highly privileged, right? if we decide to go to war with someone, even if we think we have enough of a provocation within united states, the battlefield is not here. we sometimes seem to make the battlefield here. but the fatah field -- the battlefield is not here. living here is not like living in afghanistan. the united states was first qaeda.o war against al a positionts us in
that then you have the ongoing conflict without the sort of engagement and the concern that many folks in the military have about a military-civilian divide where the united states t decides to go to war that they want someone else to do all the fighting. and you don't have -- if you have more of sort of a common, i do know what it would be, but i more whatn explained i think has happened then what might have been sort of a policy alternative. certainly, i don't think terrorist acts that happened all over the world and have been happening for a long time, that those acts should be treated in the same know, the sort of, you is experiencedr
when someone invade your territory, takes your family's house as their quarters, and you all the thing the opposition military does when they have occupied your territory. we don't experience that anymore. so, that is what we don't have. argued that that then makes it harder to develop the kind of political engagement that is needed, so we do not have members of congress triping all over themselves to not have to vote on to whether to authorize force. um, can you? yes, go ahead. >> [inaudible] is the narrative so complicated?
may be san bernardino is built into that bodies in the water. what wedziak: um, well, from 9/11, san bernardino, etc. is the way catastrophe motivates americans paying attention, right? i guess what i am trying to do is roll that back and think about how that has been a feature of needing to ramp up american attention and waragement when deep mobilization has been needed. sometimes things breakthrough and people -- like the lusitania. but, uh, there's, the underlying footnotes here i have learned a lot from adam baranski, a
political scientist who works on public opinion. do he says the facts of war not speak for themselves. happens andat war automatically there is a reaction. instead, and i think this is partly because war is far away, war happens and then it is filtered through elite discourse in partisan politics. that is how americans know war. so, that is why we see the emotional headlines in the newspaper. and that is what is sort of wrapping up this drumbeat in early 1917. matters.trophe there are different kinds of catastrophes. they don't all have to be framed as war. and i think we want to be aware of the way that sometimes letting the emotionalities
aside as opposed to going to the -- microphone immediately goingis a war and we are in. that can create a space for both politics and for critical engagement with what is really in american interests. >> we have to stop at there. please join me in thanking mary dudziak. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> monday is martin luther king jr. day. session, wes not in have future programs on all three networks. on c-span at 11:30, live coverage of the british house of commons debate on whether to ban donald trump from their country. it is expected to last three hours. our coverage will reair at 8:00. on c-span 2, at 6:30, william p. jones and his book "the march on
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discrimination and also but winning the rights to vote in the south. >> at 8:30, john lewis recalls his and involvement in the civil rights movement. on american history tv, on c-span 3, at 2:00, an international history professor at the london school of economics and political science on iran's cold war partnership of the united states. >> iran has to look to a third power to preserve its independence and sovereignty against the imperial ambitions of britain and russia. can look tos, iran germany to play that role and after the second world war, whole generation of iranian statesmen look to the united states as a country that had no imperial ambitions and no history of colonialism. reel america, a dr. martinview with luther king jr. on his nonviolent approach to civil rights are his comments on president kennedy's civil rights bill and how mahatma gandhi and lost his work. for the complete schedule, go to c-span .org. camthis year student documentary contest, students are telling us the issue they want the presidential candidates to discuss and we are hearing about the students as they produce their videos. here is a tweet from andrew, the eighth grade social studies teacher in winston-salem, north carolina. m at t whiteudent ca
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original 51 member states signed the u.n. charter. wife was a member of the first american delegation and the chair of the u.n. commission on human rights. next in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the signing of the u.n. charter, a panel of experts talk about the original vision of franklin and eleanor roosevelt and the present status of the united nations with the franklin roosevelt presidential library and museum hosted the event. i will turn this over to the capable moderator today. nations correspondent , nbcational public radio ans, and others is really expert who has based her reportin h