House Edward Mandell - Seymour Charles - The intimate papers of Colonel House

Authors : House Edward Mandell - Seymour Charles
Title : The intimate papers of Colonel House Behind the Political Curtain
Year : 1926

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PREFATORY NOTE BY COLONEL HOUSE. THIS book written around my papers is in no sense a conventional apologia such as, despite my best intentions, I should probably have written had I attempted to describe the stirring and controversial events in which it was my fortune to play a part . The reader must bear in mind that it treats only of such matters as came within the orbit of my own activities . The President and his Cabinet dealt with many questions which could not enter into this narrative . My chief desire has been to let the papers tell their own story, and for this reason I have preferred to leave their arrangement in the hands of an historian . Dr. Seymour in arranging these papers has felt it his duty to assume a highly critical attitude toward some of the chief actors. Especially he has attempted to present the great central figure of the period, Woodrow Wilson, in a purely objective light . As for myself, I frankly admit that I was and am a partisan of Woodrow Wilson, and of the measures he so ably and eloquently advocated . That we differed now and then as to the methods by which these measures might be realized, this book reveals as one follows the thread of the story, and never more sharply than in the question of military and naval preparedness. The President, I believed, represented the opinion prevailing in the country at large, apart from the Atlantic seaboard ; and I was not certain, had he advocated the training of a large army, Congress would have sustained him . But I was sure, given a large and efficient army and navy, the United States would have become the arbiter of peace and probably without the loss of a single life. When the President became convinced that it was necessary to have a large navy, Congress readily yielded to his wishes . But, even so, it is not certain that had he asked for such an army as I advocated he would have been successful. The two arms do not hang together on even terms, for the building of a great army touches every nerve centre of the nation, social and economic, and raises questions and antagonisms which could never come to the fore over a large navy programme . In my opinion, it ill serves so great a man as Woodrow Wilson for his friends, in mistaken zeal, to claim for him impeccability . He had his shortcomings, even as other men, and having them but gives him the more character and virility. As I saw him at the time and as I see him in retrospect, his chief defect was temperamental . His prejudices were strong and oftentimes clouded his judgments . But, by and large, he was what the head of a state should be-intelligent, honest, and courageous . Happy the nation fortunate enough to have a Woodrow Wilson to lead it through dark and tempestuous days ! Much as he accomplished, much as he commended himself to the gratitude and admiration of mankind, by some strange turn of fate his bitterest enemies have done more than his best friends to assure his undying fame . Had the Versailles Treaty gone through the United States Senate as written and without question, Woodrow Wilson would have been but one of many to share in the imperishable glory of the League of Nations . But the fight which he was forced to make for it, and the world-wide proportions which this warfare assumed, gradually forced Woodrow Wilson to the forefront of the battle, and it was around his heroic figure that it raged . While he went down in defeat in his own country, an unprejudiced world begins to see and appreciate the magnitude of the conception and its service to mankind. The League of Nations and the name of Woodrow Wilson have become inseparable, and his enemies have helped to build to his memory the noblest monument ever erected to a son of man. ...

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