(Thomas) Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924)


President of the United States (1913–1921)

From President of Princeton University he became the governor of the state of New Jersey and then President of the United States. He usually wore either a full evening dress or a suit, with a top hat. Leaning onto his walking cane, he would look at the world from behind his typical pince-nez eyeglasses.

He was an idealist and a pacifist,. He called his war effort a crusade, while defining his enemies as dictators and he was ruthless with them. He oversaw the collective persecution of American Germans and Austrians; he created the first modern ministry of propaganda and had anyone openly criticising the government’s war effort jailed.

He took swift and arbitrary decisions at the Versailles peace conference, The peace he created left the continent and the world peaceless. His ideas on the peace treaties and the charter of the League of Nations were not ratified by the United States, which was a final blow to his ill-health.

His first wife, Ellen Louise Axson gave him three girls, before dying in 1913. After he suffered a stroke in 1919, many of his decisions over state matters were taken by his second wife, Eddie Bolling Galt.

Under Wilson, the United States stepped definitively onto the stage of world politics and the American century began.


“The world must be made safe for democracy”
The president’s speech on 2 April 1917 to justify his call for a declaration of war on Germany.
US 65th Congress, 1st Session, Senate Document No. 5, Washington, 1917, pp. 8.

„My life would not be worth living if it were not for the driving power of religion, for faith, pure and simple.”
In a letter to his friend in 1915
Leon G. Stevens: One Nation Under God: A Facultal History of America’s Religious Heritage. Morgan James Publishing, New York, 2014. pp. 100

„Once lead this people into war and they will forget there ever was such a thing as tolerance. The spirit of ruthless brutality will enter into the very fiber of our national life.”
Paul Johnson: Modern Times The World from the Twenties to the Nineties, Harper Collins Publishers pp. 14

„Old system of powers, balance of powers, had failed too often”
Margaret MacMillan: Peacemakers: The Paris Conference of 1919

„In God's name, could any one have done more than I have to show a desire for peace?”
Arthur S. Link: Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era 1910—1917. Harper & Row, New York, 1954. 213. o.


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