Vital Signs

The American Myth of World War I

In 1917, two revolutions engulfed war-ravaged Europe.  The first was America’s military intervention in France on June 26, which prolonged World War I and, thus, made possible the second: the communist seizure of power in Russia on November 7.

To win maximum public support for their respective revolutions, the two rivals, Woodrow Wilson and Vladimir Lenin, adopted the same tactic.  Each declared his forces were fighting to establish peace, democracy, and national self-determination in Europe.

A common rhetoric concealed a common goal.  Despite ideological differences, Wilson the capitalist and Lenin the Marxist shared the same ambition—the destruction of the traditional cultural and social order of Europe.  Each sought to convert World War I into a war against Western civilization.  They differed only on which ideology—“democratic capitalism” or “democratic socialism”—would be the foundation for the New World Order they wished to impose upon Europe.

When Wilson militarily intervened in that war, he instigated a revolution against the traditional foreign policy of the United States.  As George Washington emphasized in his Farewell Address: “The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is—in extending our commercial relations—to have with them as little political connection as possible.”

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