Arno Mayer,
Wilson vs. Lenin: Political Origins of the New Diplomacy, 1917-1918

(1964 ed. of 1959 original, in which the two halves of the title were reversed)

[A KIMBALL FILES "SAC Narrative Extension". SAC editor has inserted bold-face to highlight passages of greatest relevance to the course. For the same reason, hypertext links to SAC are inserted. Some Russian words have been re-transliterated better to conform to current scholarly usage.]

[Arno Mayer's book concentrates on a 10-month period between 1918mr:USA entry into WW1, and 1918ja:Woodrow Wilson's statement of war aims, "The Fourteen Points". His main argument is that the USA President challenged the European "Old Diplomacy" nearly as much as the leader of the Soviet revolution, Vladimir Il'ich Lenin. Together these two leaders, looking in at Europe from different geographical and political directions, presented a challenge to European "parties of order" and the sort of customary elitist foreign affairs that had, arguably, brought Europe to catastrophe in the Great War. However different the liberal American Wilson and the revolutionary Russian Lenin, their roles were very similar in the way they upset international affairs in the tragic and pitiful waning months of WW1. It is essential that we keep always in mind that the 10-month time frame here covers a period of frantic diplomatic effort among the Allies (England, France, Italy, a newly-revolutionary Russia [ID], and a newly-joined Ally, USA [ID]) to define broadly acceptable war aims. Mayer's account serves as background both to Wilson's "Fourteen Points" and to the Brest-Litovsk Treaty [ID] which ended hostilities on the Eastern Front almost a year before they ended on the Western Front. Mayer's account, therefore, also serves as instructive background for the understanding of the famous Versailles diplomacy and other Paris treaties [ID] after WW1. Throughout all but the last weeks of this 10-month period, WW1 continued to rage on two fronts [ID], one in western Europe (trench warfare in France and Belgium) and the other in eastern Europe (on the territories of now collapsed tsarist Russia). Suddenly (even in the months before Soviet power overthrew other post-tsarist revolutionary factions), the possibility arose that revolutionary Russia might on its own settle with the two most important Central Powers, Germany and Austria, on that Eastern Front. Suddenly, oppositional factions throughout Europe took up the call for peace now. When, in November (NS) 1917, Lenin's Bolshevik party came to power, Russia remained technically an ally of England, France and USA, but hostilities with Germany and Austria did cease on the Eastern Front in anticipation of negotiations among warring parties. In the frantic search for unified war aims among the Allies, the central novelty of Wilsonian and Leninist diplomacy was the way the USA and the emerging USSR looked over the heads of old European ruling circles and addressed the peoples of various nations directly. There was an odd way in which Wilsonian and Leninist diplomacy made no essential distinction between the peoples who lived within the jurisdiction of Allied governmental authority and those who lived within the jurisdiction of the Central Powers. Wilson and Lenin, in other words, were internationalists. However different, they were also both radical democrats. In a sense, the diplomatic challenge was an extension of the domestic political, social and economic challenge posed to old Europe by radical liberalism (Wilson) and radical social democracy (Lenin). Together they challenged old Europe with a surprising combination of what we have identified as the first two phases of the modern European revolutionary tradition [ID]. Mayer places a lot of emphasis on Wilson's and Lenin's struggle for support among the peoples of all warring nations in this devastating European struggle. Taking a lesson from John Stuart Mill [ID], Mayer describes this struggle as a factional conflict between "parties of movement" (progressive liberal and socialist parties, "the left") and "parties of order" (conservatives and reactionaries, established elites, "the right"). Diplomacy and domestic politics were now entwined. Thus our first question as we take up Mayer's words would be this = Is this account in fact about Wilson versus Lenin, or is it about Wilson and Lenin versus old Europe? You will see that it is a bit of both. HERE ARE MAYER'S WORDS =]



The Entente [the Allies] had not entered the Great War with the object of liberating subject peoples and democratizing the Central Powers. It was only after three and a quarter years of mutually exhausting military operations [in the early days of 1918], coupled with various fundamental politico-diplomatic realignments, that the Allies were in the process of crystallizing crusading war aims. Before the Allied military campaign was transformed into an ideological crusade, the Romanovs had been overthrown [had abdicated], America had entered the maelstrom of world politics, the European parties of movement had regrouped their forces, the Petrograd Soviet had articulated the basic tenets of the New Diplomacy [ID], [five months later] the Bolshevik Revolution [ID] had produced the first official practitioners of this New Diplomacy [ID], and President Wilson had transcended his role as American war mobilizer to become a world statesman [ID].

In addition to these historical causes there were certain compelling immediate causes for the review of Allied war aims. Above all, the Russian imbroglio [ID] forced the pace of Allied stocktaking. Both the British Prime Minister and the American President realized the importance not only of exploring every possible way of keeping Russia in the Entente coalition but also of denying the psycho-diplomatic offensive to the Central Powers; and, if possible, they wanted to capture this offensive for themselves.

On January 3 [1918], in commenting on the diplomatic offensive of the Bolsheviks, the Nation in New York had suggested that these "wild men" would "put the old-fashioned diplomacy to shame" if they really brought about "the concrete restatement of war aims which Lord


Lansdowne desired, and Mr. Asquith approved."1 Now that Lloyd George and Wilson had spoken publicly, the Nation's sister journal, the New Republic, approved the restyling of Allied diplomacy in an issue whose cover prominently reported PROGRESS IN WAR AIMS. According to this Wilsonian weekly, the progress was in large measure due to "aid and comfort from Russia"; the Allies had not started to clarify their war aims until after the Bolshevik Government had thrown "a flood light on the war aims of the belligerents." 2


Whereas Wilson praised the Bolshevik diplomacy in his Fourteen Points address, Lloyd George waited until after the war to admit that "it would not be fair to suppress the part which the Bolshevik Government had played in this development."3 In Paris, Albert Thomas, without for a single Instant abandoning his hostility for the Bolsheviks, reluctantly confessed that it was the "honor of the Russian Revolution to have led the Western Powers into cleansing their peace propositions of all imperialism." Moreover, he reproachfully told the French Government that "if the repeated appeals of Kerensky and Tereshchenko [Provisional Government leaders prior to Soviet Revolution] had been heeded earlier the political situation in Russia might well be different." However, Thomas insisted that notwithstanding the erratic diplomacy of the Bolsheviks, now that Lloyd George and Wilson had spoken Clemenceau could no longer afford to remain silent. He urged the French Government to take the initiative to get the Allies to issue a Joint declaration which would have the additional advantage of harmonizing the demands formulated by the British and American chief executives.4

Even though there were marked differences between the two addresses [of Lloyd George and Woodrow Wilson], they had certain basic features in common. Since the entire Allied coalition was confronted with one and the same diagram of diplomatic-military forces, it was perhaps not surprising that, though "drafted absolutely independently," the pronouncements of Lloyd George and Wilson should have coincided on territorial essentials. Both statesmen had felt the need to present opposing declarations to those launched by the Imperial Powers from Brest-Litovsk.5 They agreed on Belgium, on Alsace-Lorraine, and apparently on the Italian

1. Nation (January 3, 1918), p. 4.
2. New Republic (January 12, 1918), pp. 295, 297
3. Lloyd George, Memoirs of the Peace Conference, 2, 497.
4. JO (January 11, 1918), pp. 38-39.
5. Journal de Gen�ve, January 15, 1918.


claims. Furthermore, both statesmen came to terms with the new ideology, though obviously each in his own way: whereas Wilson embraced it enthusiastically, Lloyd George reluctantly acknowledged its existence. Jacques Bainville, therefore, warned them of the danger of sacrificing so much "to the idols of the day." According to this right-wing historian, both leaders ought to treat the ideas "of democracy and of the League of Nations" with caution because on some Future occasion such "ideas and theories might cease to be immaterial." Nevertheless, while criticizing both Wilson and Lloyd George for "playing with fire," Bainville had a great deal more praise for the latter than for the former. Bainville thought that since the British Premier did not "dream up a chimerical reconstruction of Europe," at the peace conference England could be counted on to follow a line similar to the one she had followed at the Congress of Berlin. 6

The European Left also realized immediately that the Prime Minister's pronouncement was decidedly more traditional than the President's. By maintaining his rigid mistrust of the virtues of both popular control of foreign policy and open diplomacy, Lloyd George proved his continuing faith in the Old Diplomacy. Moreover, in addition to barring an ideological dialogue with the Bolsheviks he failed to make a clear-cut distinction between the governors of Germany and the German people at large.

However, Lloyd George's reluctance to participate in Germany's embryonic civil war was not based exclusively on doctrinal considerations. Unlike President Wilson, the British Prime Minister had drafted a program which was calculated to serve Allied diplomacy in the event of either an immediate negotiated settlement or a future total victory. In pursuit of an early negotiated peace, Lloyd George sought to convince the rulers of the Central Powers that England had abandoned the program of the knock-out blow. This assurance might strengthen the position of the German interlocutors of Lord Lansdowne and Lord Milner. On the likely assumption that a fight to the finish might be necessary, Lloyd George made verbal concessions to the Labourites and to Wilson; the support of both would be absolutely essential if the Central Powers had to be decisively defeated.

Once America had entered the world struggle, Wilson never seriously envisaged either the possibility or the desirability of a peace without

6. Jacques Bainville writing In l�Action Fran�aise, January 6, 7,10, and 13,1918.


total victory. Consequently, now in early 1918 the President's diplomatic and psychological warfare offensive was not going to be blunted by the exigency of compromising with Berlin. Instead, Wilson stepped forward resolutely to embrace the New Diplomacy, to bid the German people to revolt against their rulers, and to proclaim the Allied military effort a part of both a crusade for democracy and a war to end all wars. By now the President confidently trusted in America's tremendous and, for the Allies, crucial military and ideological reserves, and was fully prepared to shoulder the complex responsibilities of leadership in the drive for total victory over German autocracy and militarism. In addition to dedicating himself to the crusade gospel which the Allied and Russian forces of movement had been preaching since March 1917, he now inspired them to help bring about the liberalization of the diplomacy of the entire anti-German coalition. Furthermore, instead of bemoaning the Russian Revolution as a military collapse engineered with the help of German agents, Wilson considered this Revolution as an integral part of the general intensification of the ideological momentum of the Great War.

Profoundly dedicated to the proposition that ideas are weapons, Wilson was unwilling to allow the Germans to make psychological capital out of the Brest-Litovsk negotiations. He was no less determined to prevent Lenin from gaining a monopoly on blueprints for the postwar world, especially since many of Lenin's diplomatic formulations were taken from the arsenal of Western Liberal ideas.

As he stepped into the madly raging battle of words, Wilson was able to tie his "placard paragraphs" to a reasonably comprehensive liberal-progressive ideological system of which the defunct New Freedom was the domestic policy dimension. Even though the domestic reform aspects of the President's program were extremely vague or almost nonexistent, his progressive audience in Europe shared the belief that this deficiency would soon be remedied. The President's international program rested on the same dedication to rational and moral progress which was at the basis of social-democratic plans for an equalitarian society in a peaceful world; according to many leftists the synthesis of liberal internationalism and Socialist reform would be consummated under Wilson's tutelage.

At the present juncture not only Wilson but also Lenin placed the major emphasis in their pronouncements on promises for a new world.


Both became daring generalissimos on the novel propaganda front and, as such, emerged as the "champion revolutionists of the age."7 Because Wilson boldly accepted the challenge of the new Zeitgeist in the Fourteen Points address, Colonel House predicted that this address "would so smother the Lloyd George speech that it would be forgotten." 8 And it was forgotten.

If it be true, then, that Wilson set for himself, or the diplomacy of the Great War set for him, such a wide-ranging political task, it would appear that his primary audience was not in the United States but abroad, in Russia, Austria-Hungary, Germany, France, and Great Britain. It was in Europe, and not in any of the forty-eight states of the American Union, that the ravages of the war had been instrumental in weakening the wartime political truce, in dangerously reducing areas of consensus on political beliefs and institutions, and in sending millions of soldiers and workers in search of new ideological and leadership symbols.

Since Wilson considered the Russian people the most receptive, possibly even the most important, sector of his international audience, on January 9,1918, Secretary of State Lansing sent the following cable to the American Embassy in Petrograd: "President delivered speech Congress yesterday stating war aims and attitude toward Russia. It was cabled to you at once. Have it conveyed unofficially to Trotsky. (Suggest you use Robins). Report results also of measures taken to circulate it."9 Three days later the Embassy replied that in an interview with Robins, Lenin had "approved of message and thought it a potential agency promoting peace"; furthermore, Lenin had agreed to telegraph the "President's message textually to Trotsky at Brest."10 Sadoul soon reported to Albert Thomas that the President's address was being hailed with gratitude throughout Russia, and that even in Bolshevik circles there was jubilation. The Maximalists [revolutionary extremists] were particularly sensitive to the respect with which the President had treated

7. Harold Lasswell, Propaganda Technique in the World War (New York, Knopf, 1927), p. 216.
8. House Diary, January 9, 1918.
9. National Archives, Document 763.72119/1072. Meanwhile Creel had sent Sisson a telegram advising him that "wonderful three thousand words are going to you today." Cited in Sisson, One Hundred Red Days, p. 206.
10. National Archives, Document 763.72119/1123. See also Kennan, Russia Leaves the War, pp. 258-60; U. S. Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Bolshevik Propaganda, p. 566; Sisson, One Hundred Red Days, pp. 208-9.


Bolshevik peace principles. They were also struck by Wilson's "friendly tone," which compared so favorably with the incessant anti-Bolshevik denunciations coming from almost all other Allied quarters.11 Nevertheless, because of both their past attacks on Wilsonian bourgeois-pacifism and their strong doctrinal convictions, the Bolsheviks combined their temporary friendliness toward Wilson with a deep-running distrust of his noble words. In the meantime, however, Lenin and Trotsky were only too anxious to use Wilson's Fourteen Points address in their dangerous diplomatic encounter with the Central Powers. According to Sisson, Lenin hailed the speech "as a great step ahead towards the peace of the world."

It is not surprising, therefore, that the Bolsheviks should have encouraged and helped Sisson in his plans to distribute the speech widely throughout Russia. First the speech had to be hurriedly translated into Russian at the Petrograd offices of the American Committee on Public Information. Then it was printed in the form of posters, handbills, and pamphlets. 100,000 posters were put up on the walls of Petrograd, while nearly 900,000 handbills were distributed in the capital. Moreover, the entire text was published in Izvestiia whose close to one million circulation reached far beyond Petrograd. According to Sisson, the editors of this official newspaper allowed him "to blackface the passages we desired�all clauses relating to Russia." All in all, "in its different handbill, poster, and pamphlet forms, the printed issues of the speech totaled 3,463,000 copies issued from Petrograd and Moscow presses, and this sum took no account of the millions of distribution through the Izvestiia and other newspapers, nor of handbills printed at Odessa, Tiflis, Kiev, Chita, Omsk, and Ekaterinburg." About one million of these "copies" were disseminated to German soldiers who were in the Eastern trenches or were prisoners inside Russia.12

11. Sadoul, Notes sur la R�volution Bolch�vique, p. 194.
12. Sisson, One Hundred Red Days, pp. 206-11; Complete Report of the Chairman of the Committee on Public Information (Washington, 1920), pp. 217-18; Wheeler-Bennett, The Forgotten Peace, p. 147. Editorially Izvestiia proclaimed that "the conditions laid down by President Wilson represent a great victory in the great struggle for a democratic peace, and we may hope to find in the American people an actual ally in that struggle." Cited in Kennan, Russia Leaves the War, p. 262. In commenting on this editorial Kennan (ibid.) invites the reader to "note here the reference to the American people rather than to the American Government . . ." Though this reference was undoubtedly symptomatic of the Bolsheviks' efforts to circumvent established governments, it should also be noted that in the Fourteen Points address Wilson himself had extensive recourse to this same circumvention in passages addressed not only to the German but also to the Russian people. Pravda, the party organ, published the President's' speech under the partisan headline "Wilson under the Mask of an Internationalist." On January 12, 1918, Pravda's disparaging editorial comments were cast in uncompromising Bolshevik language reminiscent of Lenin's prerevolutionary attacks on Wilsonian internationalism and pacifism. Cf. ibid., pp. 262-63.


Recognizing that Wilson�s passages pertaining to Russia were calculated to court a failing ally, the Central Powers immediately sought to expose the Presidents "hypocrisy." The Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung insisted that Wilson was wooing Petrograd primarily because he had not abandoned the hope of fashioning a "new business connection" with the Russians.13 Though unable completely to restrain its admiration for the new voice from Washington, even the Socialist Vorw�rts wondered whether the "idealistic verve" of the address was not "merely a diplomatic maneuver" to draw the Russians again into "the bloody morass" of the war." 14 Similarly the Kőlnische Zeitung upbraided the President for complicating the peaceful enterprise at Brest-Litovsk by trying simultaneously to fortify the weak and demoralize the strong.15

Naturally the Central Powers looked with greater favor on Lloyd George's hands-off policy toward Russia16 than on Wilson's uncompromising pronouncement about Russia's borderlands. The Bolsheviks were equally quick to notice the difference between the Prime Minister's and the President's Russian policies. They feared that Great Britain might be seeking "to have German demands satiated in the East so her requirements be minimized in the West."17 The Bolsheviks may have had little evidence other than the equivocations of the

13. Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, January 11, 1918.
14. Vorw�rts, January 10, 1918. This January 10th editorial can also be found in GFM, Container 1499.
15. Kőlnische Zeitung, January 11, 1918. For a summary review of German press reaction to Wilson's speech see cable from the American Embassy in the Hague to Lansing, dated January 11, 1918. National Archives, Document 763.-72119/1098. See also Joachim Seeberg, Wilsons Botschaft der 14 Punkte vom 8. Januar 1918 im Urteil der grossen deutschen Tagespresse von Januar bis zum Oktober 1918, Berlin, 1936.
16. For German press comments on Lloyd George's speech see DR (January 10,1918), pp. 545-46.
17. FR, Russia 1918, 1, 425. As part of his policy of domestic as well as diplomatic conciliation, Lloyd George invited first MacDonald and then Lansbury to breakfast. According to Buckler, who saw MacDonald on January 22, the Prime Minister requested the ILP leader "to undertake a mission to sound out the German Socialists." Buckler to House, January 10 and 22, 1917, Buckler Papers.


Prime Minister's speech to support this apprehension. However, their doctrinal image of the inevitable hostility of the combined capitalist world for the Revolution helped to validate their fear of a general peace to be concluded among all the belligerents at their expense. Lenin and Trotsky would soon use this real or imaginary threat as an additional argument for a speedy separate peace with the Central Powers: to forestall a combined capitalist onslaught on the precarious citadel of world Socialism. On January 11 Sadoul reported Lenin and Trotsky to be equally convinced that preliminary negotiations between Germany and England had been initiated.18 Then, on January 20 [1918], Lenin declared that "in concluding a separate peace we free ourselves as much as is possible at the present moment from both hostile imperialist groups [Allies and Central Powers], we take advantage of their enmity and warfare� which hamper concerted action on their part against us."19 A week later, at the third All-Russian Congress of Soviets, Trotsky maintained that Germany's imperialist designs in the East were "silently approved in London."20

Even though Russia's Foreign Commissar denounced

18. Sadoul, Notes sur la R�volution Bolch�vique, p. 191.
19. Cited in Degras, p. 39.
20. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, 3, 23-25, n. 6; Louis Fischer, The Soviets In World Affairs, 1917-1921 (2d ed. 2 vols. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1951), 1, 50;Suarez, Briand: Sa vie�son oeuvre, 4, 315-16. It would seem that Trotsky's fear that a negotiated peace either with the Germans or between the Central and Allied Powers might be to the disadvantage of the revolutionary regime was the "natural" concern of a statesman pursuing the defense of his country's national interest. The fact that this apprehension was. expressed in the vernacular of the anti-capitalist ideology should not detract from the objective power situation in which the inexperienced Bolshevik leaders were compelled to formulate foreign policy. This is not to deny that their ideology reinforced their suspicion of Allied motives beyond the realities of a diplomatic situation which were far from easy to assess accurately. Kennan's interpretation of Bolshevik foreign-policy pronouncements seems to emphasize unduly their dogmatic ideological foundations, which, in turn, he equates with unlimited and unprincipled expediency. He refers to Trotsky's "cynical view that the Allies were anxious to see the Germans succeed in imposing an onerous and punitive peace on Russia, since this would ease their own problem in arriving at peace with Germany at Russia's expense." Kennan takes Trotsky's address to the Congress of Soviets as further evidence that "it never occurred to him, any more than to Lenin, to credit Wilson with any good faith in the expression of self-determination sentiments. . . . Thus whatever effect the Fourteen Points may have had on Trotsky they certainly did not decrease his cynicism about American motives or convince him that her purposes had anything in common with those of Soviet leadership." Kennan, Russia Leaves the War, pp. 261-62.


not only von K�hlmann, Lloyd George, and Clemenceau but also Wilson, for embracing "the same aims,"21 throughout Europe the President was widely applauded for refusing to sacrifice Russia. The Journal de Gen�ve noted that whereas Lloyd George seemed "disinterested" in Russian problems to the point of encouraging German territorial ambitions, Wilson categorically "prohibited" Germany from expanding eastward.22 Likewise, on January 9, the British Labour movement welcomed Wilson's "demand that Russian territory must be evacuated."23 Even Maklakov, the deposed Russian Ambassador to France, contrasted American and British policy toward his country "in words of bitterness."24

Unlike the Prime Minister's TUC address, the Fourteen Points were calculated to serve as the basis for a frontal psychological-warfare assault on the Reich. Again with Bolshevik help, Sisson arranged for a German translation of Wilson's speech to be disseminated among the enemy's eastern armies. 500,000 handbills were fed across the northern and southern armistice lines, while 600,000 were distributed among German prisoners who might be returning to the Reich before long.25


Inside Germany, Wilson's message accentuated party divisions over the political and diplomatic conduct of the war. Ever since March 1917 both Scheidemann and Haase had incessantly warned the German parties of order of the dangers of not agreeing to a full democratization of Germany. Now their prediction that the Allies would "impose the democratization of Germany as a war formula" was coming true. Neither the tone nor the content of the Fourteen Points address was unexpected for either the leaders or the followers of the SPD [Socialist Party of Germany] and the USPD [Unaligned Socialist Party of Germany]. While Scheidemann confronted the Right with a highly justified "we told you so," he simultaneously sought to embarrass both Lloyd George and Wilson by asking them to promise also self-determination to Ireland, Persia, and India. But while engaging in such tactical maneuvers, Scheidemann and Haase were wide awake to the

21. Bunyan and Fisher, The Bolshevik Revolution, p. 506.
22. Journal de Gen�ve, January 11 and 13, 1918. The (London) Nation (January 12, 1918), p. 374, complained that "Mr. George's reference to Russia was singularly cold, and has made Russia think that her Western Allies meant to abandon her."
23. See statement published by British Labour Organizations on January 10, 1918, cited in FR, 1918, Supplement 1, 1, 34.
24. FR, 1918, Supplement 1, I, 19.
25. Complete Report of the Chairman of the Committee on Public Information, pp. 216-19.


long-range ideological implications of Wilson's message. Consequently they insisted that in view of the new ideological framework which Lenin and Wilson had set for all peace debates, the German Government could not afford to allow the Supreme Command to dictate with an iron fist at Brest-Litovsk. In late January industrial strikes broke out in various parts of Germany in protest against the high-handed tactics of Ludendorff in the peace negotiations with the Russians.26

But even prior to these strikes the forces of order had violently accused the Socialists of promoting the internal disunity upon which Wilson seized with such great skill. The Vaterlandspartei [Fatherland Party] condemned the entire forces of movement for doing the work of Germany's enemies by giving the impression that the Allies might eventually be able to deal with the Reichstag's "starvation peace majority and its chosen government."27 This interference in the Central Powers' internal politics also worried Czernin, who on so many of the war aims was in harmony with the German Left as well as with Wilson. At Brest-Litovsk he "politely but definitely" declined to consider those points of Wilson's speech which counseled the Central Powers to reform their Governments.

Whereas some Allied statesmen and publicists failed to recognize the revolutionary nature of Wilson's interference in Germany's domestic affairs, others were baffled by the subversive aspects of this New Diplomacy. Especially the right fringe of the Allied forces of order protested against any "arbitrary" distinction between the German people and their Government; they charged that all Germans were equally guilty of having plunged Europe into war. On the other hand, the more timid souls in the parties of movement were apprehensive lest the Wilson strategy work too well and contribute to uncontrolled revolution in Central Europe. It would seem, however, that by making common cause with Europe's non-revolutionary progressives, more especially with those of the Central camp, Wilson was serving enemy

26. Arthur Rosenberg, The Birth of the German Republic, pp. 210-16; Mammach, Der Einfluss der russischen Februarrevolution, pp. 84 ff.; Walter Bartel, "Der Januarstreik 1918 In Berlin," in Albert Schreiner, ed., Revolution�re Ereignisse und Probleme, pp. 141-83.
27. Deutsche Tageszeitung, January 10, 1918, cited in DR (January 16, 1918), p. 597.
28. Czernin, Im Weltkriege, p. 402. In mid-January 1918 various parts of Austria-Hungary were plagued by food riots, industrial strikes, and political protests. Bauer, Die Osterreichische Revolution, pp. 63-46; and Jan Opočenskŷ, Umsturz in Mitteleuropa (Dresden, Avalum, 1931), pp. 70ff.


and Allied Governments alike by denying Lenin a monopoly on appeals to the "Toiling, Oppressed, and Exhausted Peoples."

Coupled with his determination to fight on to final victory, Wilson's decision to sponsor a revolution in Germany marks perhaps his most decisive departure from the Old Diplomacy. In the United States "The Friends of German Democracy" now stepped up their campaign against the twin evils of the Hohenzollern autocracy and the military imperialists.29 Before long the reform of Germany's political system emerged as the central objective of the crusade to make the world safe for both democracy and peace. The hesitancy which temporarily restrained Wilson�s appeals to the Eastern European nationalities never interfered with his unrestrained drive against the established order in the Reich.

With "revolution in Berlin" as the inevitable corollary to the crusade, the need for an analysis of the political implications of the hoped-for victory should have been recognized. But in responsible circles little effort was made either to try to visualize the type of revolution which was being encouraged in Central Europe, or to clarify the image of the postrevolutionary political and economic system likely to arise in Germany.

In Great Britain the War Cabinet drafted Lord Northcliffe into government service to map out a new psychological warfare campaign in the light of the recent changes in the diplomatic and ideological situation. It is not without significance that Britain's Conservative newspaper tsar [this is a moment when "czar" might have been the better spelling] summoned H. G. Wells, a disillusioned Radical who had become a fervent crusader, to assist him at Crewe House in an advisory capacity. In the spring of 1918 Wells suggested that since the Allies did not "want to kill Germany" the only other alternative was to change her.

If we do not want to wipe Germany off the face of the earth, then we want Germany to become the prospective and trustworthy friend of her fellow nations. And if words have any meaning at all, that is saying that we are fighting to bring about a Revolution in Germany. . . . America, with him [i.e. Wilson] as her spokesman, is under no delusion; she is fighting consciously for a German Revolution as the essential War Aim.30

29. Complete Report of the Chairman of the Committee on Public Information, pp. 89-90; and Bruntz, Allied Propaganda, pp. 35-36.
30. Wells, In the Fourth "fear, pp. 70-71.


But soon after declaring that "the changing of Germany" had become "the primary war aim for the Allies," Wells cautioned that the process by which Germany was to be changed was "a complex question." "The word Revolution is, perhaps, to be deprecated. We do not, for instance, desire a Bolshevik breakdown in Germany, which would make her economically useless to mankind. We look, therefore, not so much to the German peasant and labourer as to the ordinary, fairly well-educated mediocre German for cooperation in the reinstatement of civilization."31 In brief, would the revolution in Germany be controlled or uncontrolled, would it be a revolution from above or a revolution from below? It was with the course of the Russian Revolution before his eyes that Wells contemplated the overthrow of the Hohenzollerns and the Habsburgs. As he scanned Germany's political horizon, Wells saw quite clearly that the SPD was the only party equipped to lead an extensive and lasting revolt. In order to prevent this SPD-led revolt from leading to the institution of Soviets in Germany, Wells proposed that the Allies enter into an alliance with his kind of Liberals in the Central camp.32

In any case, President Wilson, as well as Labour [Party] and Wells, reinforced the traditionalist contention that Germany alone was responsible for the outbreak of the war. However, they amended this monolithic interpretation which placed all the blame on German militarism by locating the roots of Germany's imperialist ambitions in her anachronistic political institutions. With this amendment they prepared the ground for the equally oversimplified proposition that whereas democratic states are inherently peaceful, despotic governments of necessity generate tensions leading to war. By incorporating open diplomacy into the Allied peace plank, President Wilson gave further support to this new thesis. He argued that parliamentary control of foreign policy, supplemented by the ever-watchful eye of public opinion, was an essential safeguard against the kind of diplomatic cunning which so often in the past had produced war. This mechanistic view of foreign-policy formulation lacked both an historical and a political dimension; it was insensitive to the need for recurring and basic adjustments in the balance of power. The problems facing the coming peace conference [at Versailles] were bound to be so overwhelming and complex that no

31. Cited In Sir Campbell Stuart, Secrets of Crewe House (London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1920), p. 80.
32. Bruntz, Allied Propaganda, p. 28.


matter how perfect and extensive this democratic control, many problems defied just and lasting solutions. Nevertheless, in the midst of this revolutionary crisis, Allied progressives trusted that parliamentary majorities were endowed with adequate insight, rationality, and unanimity to conclude a perpetual and democratic peace.

In the view of many Traditionalists, much of what Wilson and the UDC [Wki]�and the Socialists�advocated seemed steeped in Bolshevik and Socialist theory. Locked in diplomatic battle with the Russian delegates at Brest-Litovsk, on January 24 Count Czernin indignantly exclaimed that never, so far as he knew, had peace negotiations been conducted with open windows.33 Czernin's initial contact with open diplomacy had been through the Joffe and Trotsky manifestoes which sought to circumvent the traditional channels of diplomacy. Now the Entente seemed to engage in the same kind of revolutionary international politics. Czernin's apprehensions foreshadowed the thesis advanced in le Temps shortly after the Armistice in November 1918: that in deciding on secret negotiations Europe's statesmen would act as disciples of Talleyrand; however, should they decide in favor of public negotiations they would be acting under Trotsky's inspiration.34

But the negotiations at Brest-Litovsk had done even more to acquaint Czernin with the most extreme formulation of self-determination which in the course of 1918 also was echoed in gradually bolder versions by Paris,London, and Washington. In addition to having been very instrumental in giving the self-determination issue such great prominence, Lenin and Trotsky seemed to be forcing the Allied governments into giving occasional thought to the type of successor governments which were likely to arise from the ruins of the Dual Monarchy.

In Eastern Europe and the Balkans, for which Lenin had created his second geographic category, the Socialist movement was less structured and commanding than in Germany, France, or Great Britain. The predominantly agricultural economies within which scattered pockets of industry had developed presented an unlikely breeding ground for proletarian movements. Furthermore, the fight for national liberation itself tended to dilute even this marginal class-consciousness by diverting the proletariat's attention from class issues. Inside the Dual Monarchy self-determination was the principal political issue around which the battle for succession raged.

33. Czernin, Im Weltkriege, p. 396.
34. Le Temps, November 21, 1918.


All along, the bourgeois elements continued to hold commanding positions of power and control in the nationalities movement, especially because many Eastern European Socialists were half-hearted in their commitment to national regeneration. These Socialists kept warning that the class straggle was in danger of being completely subordinated to the nationalist struggle; accordingly they accused the bourgeoisie of exploiting the emotional appeal of the patriotic slogans in order to check the forces of progress.35 As a result, the Socialists were ill-equipped to challenge the Liberal patronage of self-determination. Moreover, the extremely influential New Europe, Free Serbia, and Regenerated Poland committees in the Allied and Associated capitals were representative of the bourgeois nationalities forces. As these committees drafted the blueprints for the postrevolutionary stage, they were concerned primarily with questions of plebiscites, elections, and civil liberties. The �migr�s did not contemplate a balanced national-political-economic-social revolution; they were essentially 19th-century nationalists whose "Liberalism was much too weak and too much undermined by nationalism."36

After the Bolsheviks had pressed their bid for the leadership of the nationalities at Brest-Litovsk, the bourgeois leaders began to exploit the specter of a Socialist nationalities revolt in order to win Allied statesmen for their cause. Occasionally they would not hesitate to give unduly exaggerated reports about the strength of the leftist forces in their home countries. In a similar vein, Masaryk never declined to capitalize on the faithful performance of the Czech Legion in Russia. Accordingly, A. J. P. Taylor suggests that the "threatening collapse of Central Europe finally brought success to the �migr� leaders; they convinced the Allies that they alone had the �authority� to stave off Bolshevism."37

35. In the Austrian Social Democratic movement the federalist thesis was advocated most persistently by Karl Renner; Otto Bauer became the leading advocate of the unrestrained self-determination thesis. See Rudolf Schlesinger, Federalism in Central and Eastern Europe, pp. 232-47; and Bauer, Die �sterreichische Revolution, pp. 54 ff.
36. Hans Kohn, Pan-Slavism (Notre Dame, 1953), p. 210. See also Hugh Seton-Watson, Eastern Europe between the Wars, 1918-1941 (Cambridge, 1946), esp. p. 141.
37. A. J. P. Taylor, The Habsburg Monarchy, 1809-1918 (London, Hamilton, 1948), p. 246. Bauer was more modest than Taylor when he claimed that "the victory of the Czechs, the Poles, and the Yugoslavs was a bourgeois revolution which broke the power of the Habsburgs, the German-Austrian bureaucracy, and the Magyar gentry; in the latter's place the Czech, the Polish, the Yugoslav bourgeoisie organized the new national states: and the triumphant national spirit also captured the proletariat." Bauer, Die �sterreichiche Revolution, p. 114.


Even though Masaryk and Bene� [liberal Czech independence activists] had a closer affinity with Woodrow Wilson's New Freedom than with Clemenceau's static republicanism, in early 1918 they turned to Paris for help. At this time not only Lloyd George but also Wilson seemed to be hedging on the self-determination issue, primarily as part of what the nationalities leaders considered an inauspicious attempt to wean the Dual Monarchy away from Germany.38 Only Clemenceau and Pichon in France and Northcliffe and Wickham Steed across the Channel were committed to a policy of unconditional surrender which included the dissolution of Austria-Hungary. Thus, though otherwise violently opposed to the New Diplomacy, Allied Traditionalists now took the initiative on the national question.

As a student of the March [February] Revolution, Trotsky suggested that one of the Provisional Government's chief functions had been "to short circuit the revolutionary energy of the masses into patriotic wires."39 A similar process now began in connection with Allied diplomacy. Although the Bolsheviks themselves had made self-determination a focal issue, they were unable to capitalize on it in Lenin's second geographic area. In the meantime, however, the Traditionalists in Paris, London, and Washington who had gradually rediscovered the potency of the nationalist idea, prepared to extend their full backing to the bourgeois-nationalities movements. By the end of 1918 le Temps recognized that since communism could not be defeated with "barbed wire" alone it was imperative to oppose it with a rival ideal. Accordingly, with Bolshevism determined to disrupt nations, le Temps looked to an inflamed patriotism as the most effective challenge to Socialist internationalism. Le Temps proclaimed that Europe's statesmen were about to reach the following crossroads: "One [was] the way of the nationalities. The other the way of classes.... Peace of nations or Bolshevism, between those two perspectives a choice [must] be made." 40

From January 1918 onward, under constant traditionalist prodding, self-determination gradually became the one new Allied war aim on which almost the entire political spectrum was in agreement. As Wil-

38. Bene�, Souvenirs de guerre, 1, 549-50.
39. Leon Trotsky, The History of the Russian Revolution, 1, 288.
40. Le Temps, December 28, 1918, and January 9, 1919.


son's crusade for democracy fused with the nationalist crusade in Eastern Europe, this new synthesis was grafted onto the time-tested spirit of romantic nationalism. In the Allied and Associated nations the sponsors of the struggling peoples in Eastern Europe were able to build on a long historical tradition in nationalist aspirations. Moreover, the bourgeois nationalist leaders in Lenin's second geographic area came to rely heavily on this non-Socialist support.

Soon especially the French Government sponsored the European nationalist movements in a pronounced conservative context. However, whereas the Quai d'Orsay [French Foreign Ministry] eventually became a reliable champion of self-determination, it was at all times highly skeptical of the other aspects of Wilson's war-aims offensive. Certain French officials even felt that Lloyd George had paid too much deference "to the extreme Labour party and Mr. Henderson." 41

On January 11, 1918, in the Chambre the SFIO [Socialist Party of France] once again called upon the Government to answer the Soviet peace proposals and to issue a joint war-aims pronouncement with the Allies. However, Clemenceau scornfully refused to participate in the debate. Instead, he left it to his Foreign Minister to ward off this new Socialist Interpellation. Stephen Pichon declared that France would continue "to execute her contracts" because she had agreements "which she could not conceive of breaking." For "nothing in the world" would France break her agreements with Italy, Serbia, Romania, and Belgium." Pichon was utterly unyielding. He spoke "in precise language which conveys the outlines of living reality, and does not lose itself even in the most tempting clouds."42

This refusal to liberalize French diplomacy in the face of the Lloyd George and Wilson speeches infuriated the entire Left. Albert Thomas and Pierre Renaudel now spoke for the Social Patriots, while May�ras intervened in the parliamentary debate in the name of the minoritaires.

Renaudel declared that he had listened to Pichon�s speech with "considerable sadness." He insisted that Lloyd George had "no distrust" of the Labour party and that President Wilson had courageously answered the Russian summons. Both statesmen were in agreement with the Left and, according to Renaudel, had brought about the war-aims

41. Lennox, The Diary of Lord Bertie, 2, 241-42. For a summary of the French press commentary on Wilson's speech see Ambassador Sharp to Secretary Lansing, January 10, 1918, National Archives, Document 763.72109/1099.
42. JO (January 11,1918), p. 43; and le Temps, January 13, 1918.


revision for which the SFIO had been clamoring for so many months. Why was Clemenceau reluctant to come out in support of Wilson's proposals? In Renaudel's view, the French Premier's "entire policy" continued to be "in contradiction with the noble ideas of President Wilson."43

As expected, the minoritaires were even more incensed than their Majoritarian colleagues. At first their demands included the publication of the secret treaties, the recognition of the Soviet regime, and the readiness to participate in the Brest-Litovsk negotiations. However, Mayeras, Pressemane, and Mistral abandoned their ordre du jour in favor of the one sponsored by Bracke, Renaudel, Cachin, Thomas, Varenne, and Lafont. According to this text, the Chambre was asked to proclaim "its general adhesion to the words of Mr. Lloyd George . . . and Mr. Wilson." Furthermore, the SFIO wanted the French Government "to insist on the convocation of an inter-Allied diplomatic conference" for the purpose of translating Wilson�s Fourteen Points "into a final, joint declaration of war aims."44

Even though the uncompromising confidence motion introduced by the opposing forces of order was passed by a substantial majority, this time the forces of movement counted 145 deputies in their own ranks.45 Nevertheless, unlike Lloyd George, Clemenceau stubbornly continued to refuse to meet the SFIO halfway. Primarily because France was very weak he did not actually voice any criticism of the Fourteen Points address; however, Clemenceau studiously avoided making a pronouncement in support of Wilson�s crusade. On the contrary, in early March he reiterated that his domestic and foreign policy were identical: in both spheres "I prosecute the war. ... At all times I prosecute the war."46

As a result of the stubbornness of the Right, the entire French Left was galvanized into the President's most ardent supporter in the Entente, and within the SFIO the minoritaires soon became the new majority.

Meanwhile, however, self-determination became the only principle of the New Diplomacy to be advocated by the Clemenceau Cabinet. Before long the promotion of the nationalities cause became tied to the

43. JO (January 11, 1918), pp. 44-48.
44. Ibid., pp. 48-49; and l�Humanit�, January 12, 1918.
45. Loc. cit.
46. G�n�ral Mordacq, Le Minist�re Clemenceau: Journal d�un t�moin (4 vols. Paris, Plon, 1930-31), 1,123; and JO (March 8, 1918), p. 790.


r�ligion de la patrie which had never ceased to be the rallying creed of all French Conservatives. Paul-Boncour deplored that by taking self-determination out of its Wilsonian context French leaders "were striving to give this liberation a reactionary orientation."47 Marcel Sembat cautioned against taking the nationalities principle as an exclusive guide, since without some higher allegiance it might lead to the "�tats d�sunis d'Europe" [Disunited States of Europe].48 But the Minist�re Clemenceau had no inclination to embrace the League of Nations or to favor open diplomacy. Instead, le Temps accused the Socialists of misusing Wilson's idealism for their own class purposes.49 With the SFIO under constant fire from the Right, even the Social patriotic Pierre Renaudel summoned all French progressives to support Wilson against France's own "chauvinists."50

In the context of the Wilson-Lenin dialectic, the war-aims battle within the SFIO during the remainder of the war is particularly instructive. Immediately after the last Assembly vote, the minoritaires made swift gains at the cost of the Social Patriots. However, Longuet, Bourderon, Merrheim, Mayeras, Mistral, and Pressemane fought their way to control of the entire party on a Wilsonian, not on a Leninist, platform. Before long Loriot and a few Maximalist supporters were hopelessly isolated on the extreme left. They refused to join their former colleagues of the Comit� pour la Reprise des Relations Internationales because, in Loriot's view, these colleagues obstinately looked westward in the expectation of "finding Stuttgart in Washington, and Liebknecht in the White House."51

On July 28-29, 1918, at a meeting of the National Council of the SFIO, the minoritaires were in the majority for the first time. Their Wilsonian motion was supported by 1544 votes against only 1172 votes for the Renaudel-Thomas faction.52 However, because Clemenceau continued to be unyielding on war aims, both major factions�the new and the old majority�were equally unrestrained in their devotion to

47. L'Humanit�, August 10, 1918.
48. Ibid., November 28, 1918.
49. Le Temps, August 31, 1918.
50. L'Humanit�, October 15,1918.
51. Cited in Guilbeaux, Le Mouvement socialiste et syndicaliste fran�ais pendant la guerre, pp. 40-41.
52. L'Humanit�, July 29 and 30, 1918. Longuet himself claimed that the resolution which he had drafted together with Mistral and Cachin "had the backing of the great majority of the party." Le Populaire, July 31, 1918. Cf. Guilbeaux, Le Mouvement socialiste et syndicaliste fran�ais pendant la guerre, pp. 49-51.


Wilson. By hailing Wilson instead of Lenin, both Longuet and Renaudel were able to dissent without being disloyal to the crusade for democracy. At the meeting of the National Congress on October 6-8, 1918, the old minority formally became the new majority. Once again, over the objection of the small Loriot faction, the SFIO sent an enthusiastic message to Wilson.53

Marcel Cachin and Jean Longuet, who now displaced Renaudel and Compere-Morel as chief editors of l�Humanit�, found comfort in the fact that Wilson�s "ideals were frightening all the Conservatives." Cachin proclaimed that it was to the President's lasting glory" to have recognized the dawning era of democratic and popular rule. Hence, before completing his own transformation from majoritaire to Maximalist, Cachin became an ardent Wilsonian who predicted that "henceforth Wilson would have all democrats and Socialists on his side."54

But why not Lenin? Renaudel soon decided that the Bolshevik Revolution was unworthy of serving as a model for France. The mounting violence of the Revolution, combined with the Bolsheviks' defection from the Entente, led Renaudel to proclaim that his Socialist convictions had rejoined those "du Pr�sident bourgeois qu'est Wilson."55 Likewise, Albert Thomas wrote an article in l�Humanit� under the then novel title "Democracy or Bolshevism." In this article Thomas declared that it was "Either Wilson, or Lenin. Either democracy based on the French Revolution, fortified by the struggles of an entire century, developed by the great American Republic, or the primitive, incoherent, brutal forms of Russian fanaticism. A choice must be made."56 Shocked by the excesses of the unfolding Russian Bolshevik Revolution, most French Social Patriots, as well as Independents, pre-

53. Ferrat, Histoire du parti communiste fran�ais, pp. 63-64; and Guilbeaux, Le Movement socialiste et syndicaliste fran�ais pendant la guerre, p. 51. As early as March 23, 1918, Tracy Lay, the American Consul in Paris, informed Washington that the mounting unrest within the French Left was due to the fact that the French Government had not subscribed publicly to the Wilson program; he noted, furthermore, that whereas in England the Lansdowne movement could "check and restrain the radicalism of the Socialist faction," in France there was no comparable movement "capable of standing as a buffer between the present regime and Socialism." FR, 1918, Supplement 1, 1, 210-13.
54. L'Humanit�, August 22, 1918.
55. Ibid., October 14, 1918.
56. Ibid., November 9, 1918. See B. W. Schaper, Albert Thomas: Dertig Jaar Sociaal Refomisme (Leiden, Universitaire Pers Leiden, 1953), pp. 173-78.


pared to abandon temporarily the equalitarian gospel and began to look to parliamentary democracy for guidance.

But was the choice really between Wilson and Lenin, between "democracy and bolshevism"? Leon Blum [ID], then young in years as well as in experience, burst forward with a thundering no, insisting that these were not the only alternatives: "Je ne choisie ni Wilson, ni L�nine. Je choisie Jaur�s." It was rather tragic that the "candidacy" of Jean Jaur�s was posed as kind of an afterthought, and that none of the elder Socialist statesmen had come forth in defense of Jaur�s' "democratic revolutionary Socialism." Blum's article sounded like a desperate attempt to recall the existence of the Second International, which was in the process of being overshadowed on the Right by the League of Nations [SAC LOOP] and on the Left by the Third International [SAC LOOP].

But meanwhile l�Humanit� published a special appeal "To the French Nation" which was signed by the CGT, the Ligue des Droits de l�Homme, the Coalition R�publicaine, and the SFIO, urging all Frenchmen "not to listen to the chauvinist excitations" of the French press which currently was engaged in a propaganda campaign designed "to distort Mr. Wilson's own intentions."58 All the parties and factions of movement with the exception of the Maximalists had come out in favor of Wilson.

In England, notwithstanding the Prime Minister's January 5th war-aims concessions, Labour also hastened to abandon Lloyd George in favor of Wilson. On January 9, 1918, in the afternoon following the President's address, a joint meeting was held by the Parliamentary Committee of the TUC, the Executive of the Labour party, and the Cooperative Parliamentary Representation Committee. Over the signatures of C. W, Bowerman, Arthur Henderson, and H. J. May, the British Left issued a statement commending "the moral quality and breadth of vision of Wilson�s pronouncement. In Labour�s judgment, by speaking "in favour of open diplomacy and [in] support of revolutionary Russia," the President had met the supreme test of statesmanship. After endorsing the moral crusade, the freedom of the seas, and the protection of Russia's western borderlands, the Labour statement

57. L'Humanit�, November 15, 1918. For extensive excerpts from pro-Wilson editorials in the major French Socialist dailies see Van Der Slice, International Labor, Diplomacy, and Peace, pp. 234-47.
58. L'Humanit�, October 27, 1918. Cf. le Temps, October 28, 1918.


concluded that Wilson's "programme [was] in essential respects so similar" to the Labour Memorandum on War Aims "that we need not discuss any point of difference in detail."59 It is perhaps not surprising that in March 1918 Beatrice Webb [ID] should have made the exaggerated claim that "the British Labour party was Wilson's one supporter in Europe."60

At the inter-Allied Labour and Socialist Conference held in London from February 20 to 24, 1918, the expanding bonds between European non-Bolshevik Socialism and Wilsonian Liberalism were no less evident. A new inter-Allied Labour and Socialist Memorandum on War Aims which the delegates now adopted was a Wilsonianized version of Labour's December 28th Memorandum.61 The most striking evidence of the Wilsonian imprint on Allied Socialist war aims was the recognition in this February Memorandum that the League of Nations had given "an entirely new aspect" to all territorial problems. Even though Gompers [ID] refused to concert with Socialist Internationalists and Lenin chastised this London Conference for its "renegade" character, it was obvious that through his Fourteen Points Wilson had won a powerful representation in Socialist circles. Since a vote for the February Memorandum was a vote for Wilson, the President was assured of the support not only of right-wing Socialists like Clynes, Renaudel, and Vandervelde but also of fervent Two and Two-and-a-half Internationalists [ID] like Henderson, MacDonald, Thorne, Longuet, Bourderon, Merrheim, and Huysmans. Before disbanding, this Conference decided to send a delegation to America "to confer with President Wilson and Gompers." Jouhaux, Cachin, and Huysmans were to be the most prominent members of this still-born mission.62 Nevertheless, even

59. In cabling the complete text of this Labour statement to Secretary of State Lansing, the U. S. Consul General in London commented that "this unreserved approval of the British Labor Organizations should be noted as a matter of great political importance." Cited in FR, 1018, Supplement 1, 1, 32-34.
60. Cole, p. 115.
61. Inter-Allied Labour and Socialist Conference, Memorandum on War Aims, Agreed upon in London February 20th to 24th, 1918, London, n.d. This pamphlet gives extensive details on the composition of all the delegations as well as on the membership of the various working committees. In the United States the text of the entire Memorandum was published in a special issue of the New Republic, March 23, 1918; and in FR, 1918, Supplement 1, 1, 155-67.
62. L'Humanit�, February 24 and March 6, 1918; and FH, 1918, Supplement 1, 1, 151-53. As of late March 1918 the Wilson Administration assured the Allied Governments that it would not welcome the visit of Socialist delegations from abroad. Baker, Woodrow Wilson: Life and Letters, 8, 60, n. 2; and FR, 1918, Supplement 1.1, 171-72. By this time Samuel Gompers was actively exercising his influence in Washington and In the Allied capitals to strengthen the conservative elements in the Allied Socialist and Labour parties. See Gompers, Seventy Years of Life and Labor (2 vols. New York, Dutton, 1925), 2,403 ff.; FR, 1918, Supplement 1, 1, 189, 198, 250-51, 259, 299, 330-31; Angell, The British Revolution and the American Democracy, pp. 21 ff.


without the personal visit of European Socialists, Wilson knew enough about their ideas and actions to conclude that "the labor people in touch with world movement" were the only internationally minded people.63

Regardless of whether Wilson consciously sought "to establish himself as leader of labour and radicalism everywhere," as the Washington correspondent of the London Times alleged,64 the net political effect of his diplomacy was to draw away the rapidly expanding and articulating parties of movement from the Socialist International [Comintern]. That in this fourth year of total war public opinion was particularly susceptible to a program projecting the bases for a lasting peace is not surprising. In Europe, excepting in Russia, even though the Socialist war aims were not more radical than Wilson's diplomatic proposals, the Left could not impose its war-aims program because the parties of order would not accept proposals which they knew to be an integral part of a more far-reaching reform program.

Furthermore, the British and the French parties of movement, more particularly the Labour party and the SFIO, harbored no illusions about the political strength which they might be able to muster in a showdown with the war cabinets. Partly because the popular passions which usually feed revolutionary agitation had been spent in the war, and possibly because the bloodshed of the military engagements acted as a repellent from further violence at the barricades of the Socialist revolution, the British and French Left were destined to proceed along evolutionary lines. Certainly the leadership of both the LP and the SFIO, as well as of the trade unions,65 was dedicated to exercising

63. Cited in Baker, 6, 241. As late as October 5, 1918, the New Republic, p. 271, noted that "the only important body of opinion which hitherto has appraised the League of Nations as the dominant formative principle of the peace settlement has been that represented by the British Labour Party and the Inter-Allied Socialist Conference. The character of the support which this particular emphasis upon the League obtained is a fair indication of the revolutionary changes which its acceptance will force upon the world." The editors of this journal were decidedly too optimistic about the future of the Wilsonian program.
64. Cited in The History of the Times, 4, Ft. I, pp. 440-41.
65. According to the leader of the French CGT, the President's speech "coincided so well with our strongest sentiments that all our sympathy went to him as the statesman whose clear and courageous thoughts broke with all the errors of traditional diplomacy." L�on Jouhaux, Le Syndicalisme et la C.G.T. (Paris, Sir�ne, 1920) p. 199.


all its influence in pursuit of a nonrevolutionary advance against the parties of order. But in their search for allies, Henderson and MacDonald, as also Thomas and Longuet, were led to turn beyond the geographic borders of England and France respectively. Indeed, as the era of perpetual international civil war seemed to dawn, Wilson commended himself as a natural partner. His language, unlike Lenin's, had much in common with Keir Hardie's [Wki] and Jean Jaur�s'. Moreover, whereas Lenin's extremism alienated most if not all non-Socialist members of the forces of movement, the engaging reasonableness of Wilson's platform actually was bound to lead to a further expansion of the progressive columns. Wilson could win the allegiance of Norman Angell [ID], G. Lowes Dickinson, Gilbert Murray [Wki], E. D. Morel, L�on Bourgeois, and Romain Rolland [Wki].

Hence, Beatrice Webb soon realized that the war aims on which Wilson and Labour were in broad agreement became "�the new thing� around which all who are discontent with the old order foregather."66 Likewise in France the Wilsonian system corresponded so well with the ideology of all the parties of movement that these parties and factions hailed the President as their leader.67

Meanwhile, in Russia, Lenin rightly claimed that never before had "Bolshevism been looked upon as a world force."68 In Central and Eastern Europe, where military defeat paved the way for the domestic victory of the nonrevolutionary forces of movement, food shortages and anarchy fed the Bolshevik cause. Particularly in Germany these disorganizing conditions nursed the growth of the Spartacist party [ID], and emboldened the even more rapidly growing USPD. Whereas in England and France the war cabinets reaped the political fruits of military victory, in Germany and the Dual Monarchy the precariously enthroned democratic successor governments embarked on a policy of political stabilization without this powerful asset. On the contrary, in Central Europe the humiliation of military defeat merely accentuated restlessness, hunger, and dissatisfaction among the laboring and war-weary classes, and among the new nationalities.

In this tense transitional period from October 1918 through June

66. Cole, p. 105.
67. See Goguel, La Politique des partis sous la IIIe R�publique, pp. 165. 174.
68. Lenin, Works, 23, 245.


1919 Wilson and the Wilsonian ideology became important instruments of control. Even though many Germans, particularly right-wing Germans, expediently rallied to Wilson's banner primarily because the President was their only ally in the impending peace struggle with the fiercely hostile Allied statesmen and their political-military supporters, many other Germans trusted in him for more constructive reasons. In Berlin the mantle of power had fallen on the Social Patriots who instead of steering a Leninist or national-communist course sought to channel Germany into a policy of cooperation with the Allies. Such a cooperative policy not only would lead to Germany's early admission to the projected League of Nations but would also help Social Democracy in its battle for domestic power and reform. When the Spartacists proceeded to agitate against the predatory ambitions of French, British, and Italian diplomacy, Scheidemann used Wilson's wartime pronouncements to prove that the Spartacist allegations were exaggerated. Thus in Germany, also, Wilson performed the all-important function of serving as a powerful beacon of hope to many Independents as well as to the SPD. Bernstein [SAC LOOP], Haase, and Kautsky [Wki] relied on Wilson quite as much as their Allied counterparts.

With his Radical-Socialist peace program the President first delayed and then dampened the politically explosive disillusionment of both the enemy and the Allied Left with the peace of victory which was being fashioned in Paris between January and June 1919.

During the [Paris] Peace Conference [ID] three great influences were at work "which may briefly be described as the Reaction, the Reconstruction, and the Revolution."69 Clemenceau and Sonnino with determination practiced the Old Diplomacy in pursuit both of national aggrandizement and of the consolidation of the French and Italian Right vis-�-vis the agitated parties of movement. If in Paris, while Central Europe was on the brink of anarchy, the ideology and program of the Old Diplomacy had set the public framework for the peace negotiations, then under Lenin's influence the westward-moving revolution might have gained innumerable adherents. Even the growing specter of revolution in Germany, Austria, and Hungary could not move the French and Italian leaders to diplomatic moderation. On the other hand, particularly after Bela Kun's victory in Budapest [ID], Lloyd George actively sided with the forces of Reconstruction. These forces of Reconstruction were inspired and led by Woodrow

69. Walter Lippmann, The Political Scene: An Essay on the Victory of 1918 (New York, Holt, 1919), p. x.


Wilson. The President battled for a peace without annexations and indemnities on the basis of the self-determination of peoples, guaranteed by the League of Nations. Just as the Right in France and England opposed his visionary program partly because this program also was the platform of the Left opposition, likewise in the United States Theodore Roosevelt and Cabot Lodge became Wilson's passionate opponents. However, although he was disavowed by the forces of order on both sides of the Atlantic, he had an extensive constituency among the forces of movement in both Allied and enemy nations. These progressive elements were attracted by Wilson's explicit advocacy of the New Diplomacy as symbolized in his League project, and by their self-generated confidence that Wilson's diplomatic program would also serve the cause of basic economic and social reform.

Some dissidents gave their support to the President not so much because they had faith in his positive program as because they hoped that his program might help prevent civil strife. In an open letter Romain Rolland implored the President to "speak, speak to everybody! The world is thirsting for a voice which transcends both national and class borders. And that the future may herald you under the name of conciliator."70 Rolland wrote this letter because in his view Wilson was the "last remaining dyke," and should this dyke give way, then Europe "was in danger of continuing this bloody game." In private the author of Au-dessus de la m�l�e not only admitted that he addressed Wilson without deep faith, but also charged that through his "clever lie Wilson was making away with the European Revolution in favor of the liberal bourgeoisie."71 Meanwhile, however, the attraction of Wilson's vision for the coming peace and its contribution to civil reconciliation � strategically supported by American financial power and economic surplus72 � kept Rolland as well as many Socialists and Radicals from instantly joining the forces of Revolution.

Under Lenin's resolute guidance these forces of Revolution belligerently proclaimed that the existing capitalist governments were

70. For the complete text of this letter, dated November 9, 1918, see Holland, Journal, pp. 1645-46.
71. Ibid., pp. 1654-61; Rolland, Les Pr�curseurs (Paris, 1920), pp. 216-18; l�Humanit�, December 14, 1918.
72. A well-documented discussion of the role of American economic resources in the stabilization of Europe during the seven-months' armistice can be found in Herbert Hoover, The Ordeal of Woodrow Wilson (New York, McGraw-Hill, 1958 ) , esp. pp. 87ff.


incapable of concluding a democratic peace. According to the Maximalists a non-predatory peace would be possible and secure only after the proletarian revolution had been victorious in the major capitalist countries. This revolution was expected to gain much from the war's legacy of misery and unrest, and the nascent Communist parties stood ready to intensify and profit from the prevailing political instability as a first step in the total transformation of European society, both national and international. Lenin's immediate aim was destructive: class war in preparation for the transitional dictatorship of the proletariat However, his ultimate objective of the classless society in a warless world had the same hopeful and Utopian quality as Wilson's search for a peaceful community of sovereign democratic nations of unequal power.

The war had thrown Europe into a profound political, economic, and intellectual crisis, and until 1917 this exhausted Europe faced the future without any hopeful visions. "But in one deed, the only truly great statesman-like deed, the first signal of world improvement rang out: Wilson announced the League of Nations; he foresaw that without it the peoples could no longer carry on their existence. The second attempt at world improvement . . . has been undertaken in Russia, and it is yet too soon to pronounce upon it. ... There can be no question that sub specie aeternitatis . . . Wilson and Lenin will appear merely as men with different methods. It is certain that mankind must make up its mind either for Wilson or for Lenin."73 Even though Clemenceau eventually triumphed over both Wilson and Lenin at the Paris Peace Conference, Clemenceau and his supporters at best scored a short-lived and pyrrhic victory.

73. The German-born Swiss essayist and playwright Hermann Kesser, writing in the Neue Z�richer Zeitung, October 27, 1918, cited in the Cambridge Magazine (November 16, 1918), p. 143.