Skip to main content

tv   Americas Road to War 1914-1917  CSPAN  November 5, 2018 10:40pm-11:35pm EST

10:40 pm
good morning, it is my pleasure to introduce our first speaker who is i want to get the wording right the inaugural chair of war studies in the department of national security and strategy at the u.s. army war college. he is also the winner of the
10:41 pm
world war i historical associations book prize which is awarded each year to the best book in english on world war i. his book the dance of the theories, europe and the outbreak of world war i is very well known in the field and it is also available for sale in the bookshop. so, would you please join me in welcoming doctor nyberg. >> obviously i want to start by thinking steve and laura who has just done so much work to get us all here and make sure we have our mccue and our stomachs to start the conversation. what i want to do today is talk about america's interaction in the first world war can we have those slides please?
10:42 pm
i want to start with this image which is the famous poster and list. i want to remind everyone that this image is not from 1917, it is from 1915 which is reflective of two things. first, the involvement of the united states and the period isolation. when we think of the world war being from 1917 to 1918, we are missing the main point that the united states was deeply involved in this war in a variety of ways as i hope to show here. much earlier than american entry in 1917. the other thing that this poster is getting across is that it is part of the movement that became preparedness. what should the united states do to change its own society and on military in response to the events that were going on in europe? the question of how the united states interacted with the first world war before entry something we have a lot of
10:43 pm
wisdom on, lots of ideas, but not a lot of solid research. the book that i worked on was an attempt to do this, to try and understand how a large diverse complicated society was responding to the events in europe and how that response conditioned not only american entry but as i hope to show you here, how americans responded to what it wanted to accomplish in the war and what it wanted to do with the postwar. i'm aware that in about a 45 minute lecture i have to generalize and group a lot of things together so i will be up front and say that's exactly what i'm going to do. if anyone wants to talk about specific things i will be happy to try but it is not my intent to cover every element of american society. going to cover the standard deviation. my daughter is taking statistics of this has been on my mind. i want to start with a guy who
10:44 pm
came up last night, walter hines page 2 is a north carolina newspaperman who supported woodrow wilson in 1912 and wilson rewarded him by sending him to great britain in london. now, page had no conception that his job as ambassador would involve anything having to do with the war or conflict. when the war began in august 1914 he was not only surprised that the war had begun, he wrote this letter to president wilson in which he said i thank heaven for the atlantic oceans. this war has little to do with us and and walters case, helping americans who were stranded in europe to get money so they could come back home, he spent some time trying to care for hungarians in london and he spent the bulk of his time trying to care for belgian
10:45 pm
refugees who were coming through into britain. what interested me is that just over a year later in october 1950 he wrote a second letter to woodrow wilson which read like this. if germany wins, the monroe doctor will be shot through which shall have to have a great army and navy and he meant that the perfect security the united states had taken for granted when now no longer come without a cost. the united states would have to do things that it didn't want to do. would have to build a standing army and it might have to have a time prescription because of the threat the war was imposing on the united states. suppose england wins, we will just have an academic dispute. what interested me in this and the reason why start the lecture with this is i am interested in that journey that think heaven we are out of it to life and death.
10:46 pm
the journey that paige took is a journey that many americans took all the pages taking it maybe earlier than most americans. he is certainly not alone. i could have used the words of any number of people and i will through the course of the lecture here today. page was so worried that woodrow wilson wasn't taking the events seriously that in the summer of 1960 paige came back to the united states, came to the white house and try to get a meeting with wilson who avoided him. page took the extraordinary step of going down to president wilson's home near long beach island on the jersey shore and literally waited on the presidents front porch to impress upon him the need to get the united states ready for a war. not that he wanted the united states to get involved, but a war that would involve the united states sooner or later whether we wanted it to or not. what i want to do is track that
10:47 pm
journey of page being one person from american saying this is not our fight, nothing to do with us to a point where the american people have come to the conclusion that it isn't that we want this war, it's that we run out of options and as i hope to show you, that neutrality and non-belligerence has made the united states less safe, not more. i hope to do that with you here in the next 45 minutes or so. that's why in the book when i talk about america entering world war i i don't use words like enthusiasm. i use words like determination and duty. i think by the time you get to 18 1917. there are people who are happy but they realize the united states is out of options. one easy thing to do or one thing that happens to me a lot that i would go to a place, typically a place and i would say i want to look at your local records on how your community responded to the first world war from 1913 until
10:48 pm
1917. the standard response i got to most places was what we have lots of stuff about the war and the mobilization of the community but we don't have anything before 1917. of course what i found is there are mountains of inquiries but no one has looked at it. another thing i realized quickly , go to your local newspapers archives and just look at what was being reported in the newspaper. the single most important event in any newspaper is the war in these times. i just picked this ad from the pittsburgh is at times right after the outbreak of the war, advertising that the pittsburgh gazette times had just contracted with the press in order to get the writings of richard harding davis who is by far the best-known american journalist of this time period. he had been in the spanish- american war, he had covered
10:49 pm
the russian japanese war, he was a war correspondent very well known. this is an advertisement about the most famous guy. americans knew and one event that really surprised me, when the war broke out european governments tried to cash in the stock and bonds and then take that money and convert it to gold and take the go back to europe. u.s. government was so worried that they emptied the united states of gold then in late august 1914 the u.s. government took the extraordinary step of ordering the closing of the stock market.
10:50 pm
wilson gave the famous neutrality speech where he said i want the american people to be neutral in thought and deed. in fact, most americans were absolutely sympathetic to the british and french even if they understood that what they wanted from the war wasn't necessarily what america wanted from the ward. i will talk a little bit more about that. wilson one of the government to be efficiently neutral but his sentiments were pro-british. in fact, the way he defined american neutrality was interesting. there were a number of ways he could've done it. he could've said neutrality means we don't trade with in either side. he could've sent it means we treat equally with each side. instead of course the definition the u.s. took was
10:51 pm
that american companies were free to do business with whom ever they wanted. that means the american economic structure will be pro- british. we rely on british credit, british insurance, british shipping. what it means to my mind is the early on in the war, where america's wallet and heart wanted to go were in the same direction. that is important. i will talk about that a little bit more as we go forward. i want to introduce you to another american. someone i had not heard of. i may have heard her name. this is mary roberts reinhardt who was an american writer. her book the circular staircase and she became known as the
10:52 pm
american agatha christie. she was known for her social commentary she had been writing mostly for the saturday evening post. she was a republican progressive in the theodore roosevelt tradition. in late 1914, she was invited to new york city to attend an event at the saturday evening post. the editor made her an extraordinary offer. he had arranged for her to go to europe to meet the kaiser and his wife, to meet the king and queen of britain and to go to france and meet the president of france and his wife along with other vips. and then give her the first month -- moment to go into the trenches and report what was going on. on top of this, she would be paid $1000 per article. story goes that the saturday evening post made her this offer and her husband stood up and said i refuse to allow my wife to do this and she calmly put her hand on her husband's shoulder and said quote, i do not intend to let the biggest thing in my life to go by without having a part of it. her husband had them take out a $10,000 life insurance policy
10:53 pm
on her and said she could go. what is interesting to me about them is that they go to europe to report on the war and they come back with very similar kinds of themes. i want to highlight four themes that are especially prevalent. the first is that before they left for europe, they all said we want to talk about the ways in which europe has completely screwed this up. all of them including mary said we think this was a really disastrous avoidable war but it is clearly germany responsible. it is clearly germany that push this minor crisis in the balkans into a continental board and they have used it as an excuse to invade belgium which was no threat to germany
10:54 pm
and they have used it to invade threat -- print as well. the second she said you have to be really careful with the british media. they are trying to trick you. they are trying to feed you propaganda. they are trying to feed you stories we cannot confirm. however, what we can confirm is that enough. richard harding davis was present when the germans burned the city and he was locked in a railway car to try to stop him from observing. what they are saying is you don't have to believe the british, you can believe what we are saying. we are americans and neutral. you can believe what we were instead. third she wrote that the u.s. had an interest in allied victory. however she understood that what britain and france one from the war wasn't necessarily what the united states wanted.
10:55 pm
a destroyed germany was not an american interest either. if the u.s. were to get involved in the war, they had to be careful that it didn't just become an armed agent of british and french interests. and forth, she argued that the u.s. had to start thinking about what it was going to do in relationship with the war. pretending that it wasn't going to touch us was it good enough. she came back to the u.s. in march 1915 just before the sinking of the lusitania. after that she read some articles, pressing this preparedness theme and she got so upset at the lack of response from the wilson administration to the ongoing crisis that she stopped writing about the war and went out west wrote articles about the american west. in 1916, she covered the two political conventions and became friends with theodore roosevelt. there were defenders of the german calls. this is hugo winston berg, a
10:56 pm
psychology professor at harvard who came to the united states and never attained u.s. citizenship and never called himself a german american. he called himself a german living in america. he was critical of the russian government, saying they were focusing too much on the military aspect and he wanted them to focus on german advancement in art and science and literature. and also in cinema, which he thought was a chance for germany to be the leading light of the world. when the war broke out he wrote newspaper articles and publish some books and gave a lot of speeches in the boston community, arguing that the united states didn't understand what the war was. that russia was the real culprit. that russia was preventing the czar from taking over all of central europe. what i find interesting are two things. the first is the response that he got from the harvard community.
10:57 pm
it was intensely negative. there are letters in the boston public library from his colleagues including the president of harvard telling him, we defend your right to say what you want but we are questioning the wisdom of what you are saying. you get letters like this one from a law school colleague, not one american has appeared to be unfriendly to the german people as a whole but everyone has expressed the fervent hope that the present german government will get the full measure that it deserves for years of arrogance dominating in the present dubious frame up. what is interesting is that he began to realize that the german american community wasn't necessarily behind the german calls. he understood that the german american community was divided. catholics was likely to support them protestant. germans born in the united states didn't understand what
10:58 pm
the war was about. they had come american, individualistic and had stopped seeing the world through germany's eyes. he complained about this a lot. he talked about the way in which it was difficult for germany to make its case to the united states. that germany did understand the american mind either. in 1915 and 1916, the public affairs offices in the u.s. close their doors. the austrians are upfront in saying it's not working. they don't want to buy what we are selling. he stopped writing after the sinking of the lusitania. he stopped giving lectures, stop talking about the war. i don't know if it was because he was appalled at the sinking of the lusitania or if he didn't want to deal with the wave of anti-german is a that came after that. we will never know because he died of an aneurysm in the middle of delivering a lecture a couple months after the sinking of the lusitania.
10:59 pm
it is critical. it does two important things. it takes a lot of the people who had been making germany's case or a case for passages him and puts them on the defensive. the second thing it does is bring the question to the forefront. what do you want to do about this ongoing war in europe? what should be our response? it is creeping closer and closer. i can talk more about that. germany began to grow much harsher after the lusitania. here's a cartoon from the tribune in october blaming germany for the armenian genocide. this is the kaiser wearing in ottoman fez in the caption is a take off on the german. the idea is that the ottomans would never have done this if the germans had not been pushing them. the same way that they had pushed austria-hungary into war.
11:00 pm
armenia drew tremendous sympathy in the united states. a christian population living inside a muslim empire. philadelphia held an armenia day where they took black crjpe and put it over the doors of every building until enough money had been raised to remove it for armenian relief. there were several touch campaigns run by the germans in the u.s. by the end of 1916, wilson had grown so tired of them that he declared to german diplomats persona non grata and have them sent back to germany. there was an attempted assassination of jt morgan, a bomb in the capitol building and there were allegations of a foreign government trying to buy american newspapers and rake american elections. they tried to buy lincoln's
11:01 pm
newspaper. he replied by saying he would not sell and said i german american. he said i never understood the contradiction of the two sides of a-. nevertheless, the u.s. government moved very, very slowly. private americans began to take up the calls. the movement we caught preparedness is as much a movement of american private citizens as it is the american government. wilson wanted to move slowly because there was opposition in congress to major military reforms. it became a private manner -- matter. peter roosevelt and general leonard wood were part of this private movement were young men sometimes paid. they did not think this would create the nucleus of an american army but
11:02 pm
they hoped it would shame the president into doing something. he did not but many others did. this is an ad from at&t. it says we are prepared. in the semicircle you can see paul revere making his midnight ride. the rest of the image is a moderate american staff officer on the telephone in front of a map that reads the bell telephone system. the ad reads and it's wonderful preparedness to inform its citizens, the united states stands alone and an equal. it can command the entire bell's telephone system which completely covers the country with its network of wires. in other words, private citizens will do this. one of the vice president of the pennsylvania railroad decided he would raise a lot of money so that any american
11:03 pm
worker who wanted to volunteer for military training, this fund would play -- pay their salary while they undertook that military training. thomas edison created a committee. charles mayo created a committee for american medical preparedness. the faculty of columbia university led by the history department decided to do calisthenics every day to hopefully motivate columbia students to get involved. columbia had a pacifist president but never the last in 1916, he passed out a memo -- memo that explained the armies g system. g1 personnel, g3 security and she asked them to note on the chart where their services could best serve the army in the event of a national crisis. every single member of the columbia faculty did so. for reasons i can discuss later, preparedness on the government side only produced a few half measures.
11:04 pm
it produced a slightly larger navy, the modern rotc system which was designed to undercut the preparedness system and it produced the essential question of what should the american military look like? what should it do? the question remains unresolved and is part of the reason why the u.s. is so impaired for war in april 1917. economics are also an enormous factor. the economy was in recession when the first world or book out. it immediately change that. here is a cartoon from john mccutcheon who won the first pulitzer prize for editorial cartooning. it was april 1915. the docs for new york city quite literally magnets with uncle sam having his arms open welcoming european currency. i do not argue that american money and finance for the united states into the war.
11:05 pm
however, the war makes the american economy turn around overnight. i will show you that in a bit. one reason is the ability of the american people to sell almost anything they want to sell, especially to allies because they need everything. wheat prices go through the roof everything but cotton which is part of the reason why the u.s. south has a slightly different relationship with the south. the price of cotton goes down and almost everything else goes up. the second reason the american economy begins to boom is because all of the things that the american people used to buy from europe they buy in the u.s. 1916 was the biggest year in american bible sales because americans can no longer do what middle-class americans used to do which was by bibles from
11:06 pm
germany. the same thing for bicycles, eyeglasses, fountain pens. things that used to be fashionable to modern europe are now being purchased in the u.s. as early as 1915, their senior american industrialist and economist making the argument that the u.s. can use the war to reorient the financial capitol from the city of london to wall street in new york. it is going to take one more ward to do that but the idea is out there. per capita income was $1164 in 1914. by 1916 it was $1868. it is not just the dupont system , morgan sewer making money. it is everybody who is making good money. everyone except the cotton farmers. this is what it looks like. the american trade balance of
11:07 pm
1914. it is negative to europe. look at christmas by that year. this is great for america's pocketbook. it is not so great for american morality. you can see mary roberts reinhardt after westinghouse picked up an enormous contract to make shells for the british. she said pittsburgh was fattening on catastrophe. a tennessee minister began to preach sermons under the title have we a right to our present prosperity? the question was if the u.s. believes britain and france are on the side of the right and if our relationship to this war is to make money, what does it say about us as a people? what does it say about america? what are we and who are we?
11:08 pm
this is a series of tennessee sermons i found in nashville. he keeps coming back to this theme of who are we. there is a terrible thing going on on the other side of the world. we agree the german army -- army has to be defeated. what are we doing about it? the easy way is to just give some of that money away to the charities that you believe in. there was a proposal to take the 1916 ivy league football season and donate all profits to belgium and france. even then, college football ran the show in the president said no but they passed buckets around for people to put money in. here is an ad in the pittsburgh press advertising serbia day. i still take my kids to the spark. they have a serbia day, polished day, this is where it starts. they began in 1914 and 1915 to raise money to go to the assistant of serbia. americans donated enormous amounts of money to charity. john wanamaker raised $100
11:09 pm
million for belgium alone. philadelphia raised money for two field hospitals in france in one day. in three hours the philadelphia jewish community raised a quarter million dollars for relief of dues in poland. americans gave enormous amount of money. what is interesting is where this money disproportionately went. and went to france, belgium, serbia and jewish communities in poland. that is a bit more complex -- complicated because the armies run over the jewish parts of eastern europe. these are americans who volunteer to fly in a squadron dedicated to the french. they are really interesting guides. they are led by this guy behind . these are americans who
11:10 pm
volunteered, wealthy americans. some had their own private airplanes in the go to fight in a squadron dedicated to the french. they are a public relations dream on both sides of the atlantic ocean. the french love them and the americans love them. theodore roosevelt wrote articles about them for collier's magazine. they were given a blank check to live in exotic and rich lifestyle. i have to suspect this is where fighter pilot culture comes from. the americans couldn't discipline them in the french had no incentive to do so. as long as they were flying well represented this link between the u.s. and france. there are others. the great football player for harwich. there were other americans who served. there was a canadian researcher who estimates 80,000 members of the canadian army in world war
11:11 pm
i were born in the united states. the easiest way to join the british army was to walk across the border into canada and join. that is an unbelievably high number. researchers have done similars studies. these are not foreign nationals. these are american citizens fighting in those armies. there is nothing comparable to what goes on in germany, austria and hungary. there are americans who are living in the u.s. who go back to their own country to serve. there are almost no records of american citizens doing the same thing. this is why we have photographs on our passports. germans were buying or stealing passports and using them to get german reserve officers back to germany through london. as long as they were carrying american passports they couldn't be arrested by the british. so they decided to put pictures in passports.
11:12 pm
i have explained why the u.s. had pro allies sympathies. i have not explained why that translates into america getting into the war. i am going to show you an image that is the cover image of life magazine february 1916. it is not the same one that we have today. it is more satirical. here is the image. i want to break it down. if there are any canadians in the room, i promise i am going to explain the top of the map in a bit. this is the cover image. please note the date february 10, 1916. i think this map is reflecting from the context of what americans are talking about. here is the fear. this is what a portion of the american people are afraid could happen if the united
11:13 pm
states remains neutral. if in 1916, germany puts in a pressure on great britain and france that they need to get out of the war, one way the british and french could do it is by trading pieces of their empires in north america to germany. this is the way european wars have ended for centuries. it is how my hometown goes from being french to american -- french to british then american. there is a fear that britain might offer to the germans toronto, halifax, the naval base in british columbia. there is a fear that they might offer martinique, parts of the caribbean might become german. in 1916, the u.s. bought the danish islands from denmark for fear that germany would invade or threaten to invade the mark and then take the virgin islands as a prize.
11:14 pm
panama canal opened in 1914. this is a serious fear that the u.s. has. there is also the concern, the basic concern, the fear is that canada, fully apart from the british empire could become german. this then is a strategic situation the u.s. cannot abide. i don't think there are many americans who worry that the rest of the country would be taken over by the germans. there is a common thread running through american popular culture in 1915 and 1916, that we as americans hadn't done anything to stop it. there are a series of pulp fiction novels that came out on
11:15 pm
this fear that the germans are going to invade the united states. or, that the united states would become the next china, a wealthy country picked apart by european countries because it could not defend itself. another fear is that germany will will align with mexico. there was a civil war going on in mexico. it was what we would call a failed state with german spies in new york city left new york and went to mexico and set up operation there. the fear is that the europeans will do in mexico what americans knew they were already doing in places like arabia and ireland. stir up trouble inside with the people we don't want them siding with. there were fears that germany might align with japan and offer japan heart of this deal as well. this is anti-asian racism on the american west coast. there is fear that they are riling up african americans and promising them things like social equality if they rise up, leave the farms and leave the factories.
11:16 pm
there is a fear of turkey being involved, austria being involved . what i think this is expressing is not so much an actual fear that kansas city is going to become whatever. there are a lot of racist names on here. you can break this map down for a long, long time. the fear is the united states is not in a position to do anything about this. that america is becoming less safe because of our neutrality not more safe. please keep this in mind as i move forward. in february 1916, poncho villa invades new mexico and brings with him an american woman who was living in mexico that he kidnapped and brought with him and released. the reason he released her was he wanted her to deliver the following message to journalists. he had bragged about his plans to kill everyone in the u.s.
11:17 pm
and that he would be helped by germany and japan. the fear is the war is coming closer and closer and closer to our borders. james garrard, american ambassador to germany wrote most think that americans troubles are to their advantage. i assure you that we as attacks are made in germany. every night 50 million germans cry themselves to sleep because mexico has not risen against us. there are surely americans who are saying this is crazy, this is nuts. this is not going to happen. in march 1917, it is confirmed many of the same things on this map. it is a promise from germany to mexico. if war begins between their -- germany in the u.s. and mexico innovates from the south, they can have arizona, new mexico and texas back. the zimmerman telegram says we want you to talk to japan about getting in this as well.
11:18 pm
it is written evidence of this visual threat. the zimmerman telegram many americans read as a declaration of war. the governor of new york, governor of massachusetts call out there state militias. they consider it an act of war. theodore roosevelt considered it an act of war. mary roberts reinhardt consider it an act of war. wilson waited and said he was going to wait for the overt act. in other words, we know what germany said but we don't think they are actually going to do it. we're going to wait until they actually do something. there is an incident of a journalist named floyd givens who is on a ship going on the atlantic ocean when the germans torpedo it. he is waiting to be rescued with a british boat rolled up and screams is this your blood he overt act or not and he says, i don't know. i don't know what the president
11:19 pm
is going to do. wilson's advisors tell him, it is possible the senate will declare war without you. they have that power. two members of his cabinet decide that if the president doesn't declare war soon they will resign from the cabinet. there is a lot of pressure building on wilson. i think to center the story on wilson is to miss a lot about what is going on. if i am right about this, it means that in april 1917, the american people want to eliminate this threat. part of the threat receipt a little bit when the japanese government says they want no part of it. the reason the american people want to go to war in march of 1917 is that they want the threat to their own communities to go away. if i'm right about that, the
11:20 pm
threat went away on november 11, 1918. what we consider the end of the first world war. the day we mark as the end of the first world war. in my mind i think this is like an hourglass. the american people have vastly different opinions in 1914. by march 1917, they realize that by doing nothing they have in fact made themselves less safe. once the armistice is signed on november 1918, then the idea, the message is the war is over, give us back our husbands, sons, uncles, brothers and hourglass separate out again with americans having very different ideas about what the united states should do next. i want to end by coming back to mary roberts reinhardt. when she read the zimmerman telegram, she sat down and wrote a piece published in march 1917 in which he argued,
11:21 pm
because this was an existential or to the united states because the united states itself was threatened, the united states could not under any circumstances use a system like we used in the civil war where people could buy their way out of military service.
11:22 pm
she wrote, if in this war we allow the few to fight for us but as a nation we have died and our ideals have died with us, the we win, if we have not all born this burden alike then do we all lose. she had two teenaged sons and she wrote, i am willing for them to die for this calls. this is not in her mind a war of choice. this is a war caused by american neutrality and american incompetence over the past couple of years. because of that, she writes, my sons are going to go into an army that is not ready for the mission it is going to have to undertake. we have wasted two years. i thought passing the she wrote we are at war. by the time this is published the declaration will have been made. by the time this was published no declaration had been made, leaving people like her, theodore roosevelt and millions of americans wondering what wilson was doing and thinking. roosevelt wrote if wilson doesn't declare war now i will go to the white house and skin him alive. then mary roberts reinhardt wrote they share part of the american idea and have been fighting for since 1914. they have been fighting for the ideal on which my country has been found. under the domination of depression that the germans made as well if you can get rid of oppressions in germany can be fine. the distinction that wilson makes, under the domination of depression the values were
11:23 pm
threatened in europe and america because it had broken loose something terrible, something that must be killed or the world dies. to her and to millions of her fellow americans, the united states now had no choice but to enter into the war that was the first world war. thank you and i will be happy to take any questions that you may have. [ applause ] >> i am interested in cotton. would you tell us about the south in cotton. >> cotton is the one american commodity that takes an incredible hit. the price drops about 60%. the initial reason is that the british declare cotton as contraband because the germans packed artillery shells in them.
11:24 pm
when the british won't let it be shipped out to markets the price plummets and there is a glut of cotton. there are two senators in the united states who start yelling and screaming at the british. there have been studies where the anti-british tenor in the american press relates to the sentiment. both in the south in new york which dependent on the sales of cotton. there is a debate inside the british government where there are senior british officials including the british ambassador to the u.s. who make the argument, just let the cotton go through it is it worth the fight. there are others who say it you have to contraband it. there is this debate going back and forth. by late 1916, the argument goes
11:25 pm
away that the british are letting enough cotton go through . cotton is the one exception. you get this weird anomalous situation where cotton farmers are becoming impoverished and tobacco farmers are getting rich. that's as quick as i can do it. that's all i know about cotton. >> terrific book. could you talk about your research journey during this book. how did you decide where to go, what sources to involve. >> i had a couple of people, including an editor who said it
11:26 pm
was going to be really hard project to research. i admit that but finally decided i can either not do it because it's hard or i can do the best job i can. i decided on the latter and try to get as much geographical diversity as possible. i did work in iowa, tennessee, florida, boston, all over. what i was looking for, thinking in terms of probability . i was thinking most of the research that has been done are the whiskers, the outliers. i was trying to get as clear a picture as i could of what was inside the box. i made a decision that i wasn't so interested in the iww, and what would've been called the aggressive pro-irish. i was more interested in the center. i wanted to look for publications aiming at the center and accepting that i was going to have to generalize and paint a lot of great instead of using the entire palette.
11:27 pm
i am sure there are specialists that can give a lot more detail than i could but i was trying to do as much as i could. i did not want to study pittsburgh which would've been the easiest thing to do. you can make the argument to come back that you are only doing a study and it is it representative. i decided to do it the hard way. >> thank you for your talk. i would like you to address a bit on the pacifist movement. i didn't hear you speaking about the resignation of jennings or robert lafollette. i also struggled with why america went into the war. when i read there was a tremendous movement of people who felt that even with the zimmerman telegram --
11:28 pm
>> there are two real critical moments. one is the sinking of the lusitania. i was surprised that many of the suffragettes that were pushing for women's suffrage, the lusitania is when they switch and become pro- preparedness. the lusitania puts people like james adams very on the defensive. the other event i think is after the election and reelection of wilson and when he went to the european powers and at said tell us your worries we want to negotiate. the europeans cannot express or the their worries are so ridiculous that it is obvious
11:29 pm
that if you let it burn out the way it is going to burn out it is only going to benefit the germans, the very people you think shouldn't benefit. that is not to say that the pacifist movement goes away but it puts them on the defensive and puts them in a position where they are not dominating discourse. they look like people who are not understanding what is happening. henry ford tries this grand mission where he is going to go to europe and end the war. the american people ridicule him. this is not to deny the existence of the pacifist and there is a difference between looking retrospectively and admire what they were doing and looking retrospectively and saying they were driving discourse. those are two different things. in my mind, i admire what they were trying to do but i don't see them as driving the discourse. a canadian researcher working in britain has done research of religious leaders in my research will confirm what he argued was that after the lusitania religious leaders go from being pacifist to saying this is a war that christians with -- christians in good
11:30 pm
conscience could support. >> i'm from the forgotten part of texas. could you speak to beef and cattle? >> i cannot except to know that the price goes up. >> you talked about the effect on the south through cotton. can you speak about the effect on resurrection of the lost calls in the south that world war i presented especially close to reconstruction? >> i found this magazine in tennessee called confederate veteran monthly. it has some lost calls elements and some things that aren't quite there. it follows the track before the lusitania, before 1915 there saying look how idiotic the
11:31 pm
europeans are. there tearing themselves apart in america should be ready to pick up the mantle when it's over. late 1915, late 1916 they start making the case that there isn't a difference that the threat to america is a threat to america. there isn't a distinctive threat to the north or south. when the zimmerman telegram comes out it is a direct threat to texas if not the rest of the self. then people are making the argument that we are more in the line of fire than boston. why are we being involved? there's also an element in the south led by a north carolina senator who is not necessarily opposed to preparedness, but thinks it is a scheme to funnel more money into the industrial northeast. there is a preparedness is a weight for theodore roosevelt to make new york, boston richard at the expense of the
11:32 pm
south. they are okay with preparedness -- preparedness at the money is evenly divided. there is only government funded munitions factory before 1917 is in alabama for this reason. it is an attempt to say we can spread the benefit throughout the entire country. i know nothing about cattle prices. you might be able to find out though. >> do any research show if there was an inch oppression sentiment before? >> absolutely. there is this concept that is the to germany's concept. a lot of german-americans fully bought into this. they argue that the unification of germany in the 1870s took
11:33 pm
depressions and allow them to dominate so the non-prussian germans is the good germany. the argument that many of them make, is that we don't want to see the u.s. and germany go to war. but if that were results in the kaiser and his group going away and allows for german democracy so everyone in germany is equally represented, then that might be something worth doing. again, i think that is why wilson hits that beam so hard. he says we are not going to war with german -- with germany, we are going to get rid of the terrible government they have so the natural energies that the german people have can come
11:34 pm
to the floor. there is an absolute distinction made. in today's world there is no geographic entity called prussia and we don't think about the distinction but they did think about it a lot. a large percentage of the american german community came to the united states to get away from the unification of germany and his dominant nation by prussia. >> i know there are going to be more questions and fortunately dr. nyberg will be with us for the rest of the symposium. you may be able to convince him to sign a copy during the break. we will be back at 10:00 a.m. we look forward to seeing you then. please join me in thanking dr. nyberg. [ applause ]

28 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on