Wilson's Foreign Policy

5786 Words24 Pages
‘Wilson’s basic difficulty in shaping US foreign policy during and after World War I was in reconciling unity at home with effective policymaking abroad.’ Discuss. During this essay I shall look at the principle issues which helped shaped Wilson's domestic and foreign policies. The historical significance of American staying neutral during World War One was important for the American public as well as for Wilson, but as the German U-Boat campaign became brutalised this neutrality was called into question. The first two parts of the essay will focus on the issues of American neutrality as well as the naval strategies of Germany and Britain and the U.S response to them. I shall then look at an important aspect of the post-war environment, that of the League of Nations and the failure of Wilson to not only procure a fairer Treaty of Versailles but also the Senate defeat of the treaty and thus the league. The Issue of Neutrality Wilson's use of the public relations and in particularly his open door policy with the press allowed him the opportunity to use his progressive ideas to the fullest. He would be in regular intercourse with White House reporters to the extent that he was able to persuade them of his policies before they were able to report on them. This enabled the public to see situations from a view closer to Wilson's than would have previously been possible. When war broke out in Europe in August 1914 he was able to call a press conference in which he lectured the White House reporters on the need for them to strive for complete neutrality and urging them not to fan the flames of public opinion.1 “Of course, the European world is in a highly excited state of mind, but the excitement ought not to spread to the United States. So far as we are concerned, there is no cause for excitement.”2 Woodrow Wilson's initial firm stance on neutrality was
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