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To End All Wars: Woodrow Wilson and the Quest for a New World Order Revised ed. Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0691001500
ISBN-10: 0691001502
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Knock, an associate professor of history at Southern Methodist University, traces Woodrow Wilson's conception of the League of Nations as it evolved within the context of U.S. neutrality during the first two years of the Great War. Against this background he defines the conservative and progressive views of internationalism, and shows how Wilson won support from a large bloc of socialists by pushing through Congress an impressive list of reforms on the eve of his 1916 reelection. Knock then reveals how Wilson, during the Paris Peace Conference and the battle for ratification of the Treaty of Versailles, lost domestic support because of his apparent acquiescence to the suppression of civil liberties during the so-called Red Scare. Despite the glorification of "Saint Woodrow" by the common people of Europe, Wilson foresaw what he called a "tragedy of disappointment" even as he called for a new world order based on the arbitration of disputes among nations, general disarmament, self-determination and collective security. Not for the casual reader, Knock's analysis of the rise and fall of "progressive internationalism" will be of interest mainly to specialists. Photos.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This is not a biography of Wilson but a story of the man and his vision of a League of Nations. Knock (history, Southern Methodist Univ.) tries to show that Wilson embraced the concept during his first term, before the United States entered World War I. The author argues that Wilson failed to get the United States to join the league because he had abandoned the liberal and radical alliance that formed his power base in an unsuccessful attempt to appease Senate Republicans. As one of Wilson's critics put it, "he puts his enemies in office and his friends in jail." Compromises on civil liberties at home and with imperialist powers at Versailles helped doom Wilson's progressive internationalism, but the story makes for good reading. Recommended.
- Gary Williams, South eastern Ohio Regional Lib., Caldwell
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Revised ed. edition (May 26, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691001502
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691001500
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #908,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael H. Ebner on May 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
Professor Knock turned my head around on the foreign policies of Woodrow Wilson. This book takes the reader back into the 1890s, when Wilson was a professor of politics and history, in its quest to understand the evolution of his foreign policy thru American entry into the First World War. Nothing is sacred in this author's hands either. He devises a large-scale drama encompassing a spectrum of players--Jane Addams, William Howard Taft, Elihu Root, Eugene Debs, and more--as he dissects how and why Wilson failed to gain Senate ratification for the Treaty of Versailles. If it is a familiar story, Professor Knock's retelling of it is both original and compelling. I think this is the single most important book currently available on Wilsonian foreign policy.
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The book by Knock, To End All Wars, is a superbly written analysis of Wilson, WW I and his attempts to use it as a vehicle for his world view. This is not a biography of Wilson nor is it an analysis of the Treaty that ended WW I. It is as the author states an interweaving of Wilson, the man and the President, into, through and after the War. Wilson was a complex person, at times very idealistic, and at others quite pragmatic. However as the author demonstrates the more idealistic Wilson prevailed through his attempts to reach agreements at the end of the War which he felt promoted World peace.

The author commences with an excellent discussion of Wilson and some elements of the Socialist movement. On the one hand he saw them as fellow progressives and on the other hand, as the case with Debs and my grandmother (she was one of the heads of the Socialist Party in NY and I recall many of the details of Wilson and he somewhat heavy handed way of dealing with differing views), he saw them as threats to his unlimited power. Thus there was a love and hate relationship. The author focuses on the productive parts of the relationship in the early years when their interests coincided. Yet the Socialists were not just one group, there were many flavors of Socialism and this, in itself, made it difficult to understand. Wilson as the author indicates tries to benefit from their support.

Then the author discusses the internationalism of Wilson. His interactions with Croly of the New Republic and also with Lippmann, were positive initially and they were supporters. But those relationships were to falter as Wilson exercised his approach to Presidential power.

Wilson seemed to deal with international relations in the almost academic framework that he did with most everything else.
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To End All Wars attempts to show where President Wilson's ideas on the League of Nations came from and why he ultimatly failed. A fascinating protryal of early 20th century poltics, Knock successfully intergrates both the domestic policies of Wilson with his international policies. The links between the progressive, pacifist leagues and Wilson's views are clearly marked and appear credible. What is not examined is the moral conflict between Wilson's anti-war views and the fact he lead the country into World War I. Further research into this inconsitency could have led insight into why Wilson treated his former progrssive allies with such contempt as the war progressed. The ultimate result was his political inability to convince the American people to join the League of Nations after he alientated his greatest supporters.
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Thomas Knock's book To End All Wars is a study of President Wilson's foreign policy. There is a bit of a mini-biography in the beginning the traces President Wilson's intellectual development and rise to the presidency. Everything else focuses on the President's work abroad. In his first term the book's focus is on United States' relationship with other nations in the Americas. The Knock's focus on second term is partly on World War I but more so the battle to create the League of Nations.

One of the ironies the Knock points out is: with all the major foreign policy issues that would arise with President Wilson's time in office, the 1912 election had almost nothing to do with foreign policy. Knock however is quick to defend Wilson's own remark about how it would be ironic if foreign policy were to cover his Administration. Knock argues that Wilson's comment was based on the content of the election campaign not on his personal study of the issues.

"The election of 1912, like almost all the others of the preceding century, did not hinge on foreign policy. President Taft now and then reflected upon his futile exertions for reciprocal trade with Canada and arbitration treaties with the European powers. Debs viewed foreign policy as irrelevant to working-class interests, just as he had done during the debate over imperialism in 1900. The Progressive platform advocated free passage through the Panama Canal for American coastwise shippers and recommended the construction of two battleships per year, while the Democratic platform called for independence for the Philippines. But none of the candidates said much about even these rather innocuous issues." (pg. 19)

Wilson was an idealist but Wilson was not alone in his idealism.
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