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The Great Departure Paperback – October, 1965

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: McGraw Hill Text (October 1965)
  • ISBN-10: 0394342038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394342030
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,557,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
This short and well written book is a diplomatic history of the USA before, during, and after WWI. It deals primarily with the American decision to enter the War and the rejection of the Versailles settlement in the USA. Woodrow Wilson is very much the central figure in the narration, though Smith also discusses the roles of other important American actors like Secretary of State Robert Lansing and Wilson's close advisor, Edward House.
The analysis of the American decision to enter the war is probably the least familiar and most interesting aspect of the book. Smith has a nice analysis of the events and motivations that led to American entry on the side of the Allies. The backdrop is the traditional isolationism of American foreign policy. As Smith points out, by the end of the 19th century, American relations with Britain were particularly good and many Americans perceived British global dominance as a benign phenomenon, particularly as Britain indicated respect for the Monroe Doctrine and American influence in the Western Hemisphere. Many Americans, including influential individuals like Wilson and his advisors, also had sentimental ties to Britain. The rather erratic and intermittantly aggresive German foreign policy raised concerns about the dangers of a larger German role on the world stage. After an initial economic contraction, the outbreak of war resulted in an economic boom in the USA as the Allies turned to America for war supplies and financing. Both short term economic concerns and long term economic and strategic concerns, plus the bonds of sentiment, led to an American tilt to the Allies.
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