Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

War IndexGlossaryEducational ResourcesAbout the Show
The Great War
Prologue Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Timeline Maps & Battles The Shaping of the 21st Century Historians
Historians OverviewRobert Wohl

Woodrow Wilson - The Hope of a Different World
Robert Wohl
"I think very few Americans are aware of the extent to which Wilson came to symbolize the hopes that Europeans had for a different world.

"He had an extraordinary impact in Europe in 1918-1919. He was able to do this because he was an American; because he represented a country that had come to the aid of the British and the French in the First World War, and had achieved the defeat of the central powers and of German imperialism.

"He was able to do it because he was an extraordinarily articulate man who was at heart, an idealist. But, alas, a man who didn't really appreciate the extent of the problems that he would confront when he tried to realize the ambitions that he had conceived in the United States for a New World order.

"The excitement that people felt about Wilson… quickly turned into distaste, a sense of betrayal and disillusionment.

"This happened when they discovered that Wilson wasn't able to come through on his promises. This was, in part, because he had made too many promises, and he had to negotiate a peace settlement with leaders of other countries who had very different aims. Their aims were not to create a New World order. Their aims were to make certain that Germany would never again be able to impose its hegemony on the European continent.

"And it was the clash in these war aims that the tragedy of Wilson in Europe came to be realized. Because by the end of 1919 (by 1920), the same people who had been so excited about Wilson, and so enthusiastic about the 14-points, realized that Wilson wasn't going to be able to come through with the goods."

Back to Top     

Home Prologue Explosion/Stalemate Total War/Slaughter Mutiny/Collapse Hatred & Hunger/War Without End

Timeline Maps & Battles Shaping of the 21st Century Historians War Index Resources About the Show
Copyright © 1996 - 2004 Community Television of Southern California. All rights reserved.