Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Should America Enter the War? In 2014 New Republic Re-Debated Their 1917 Support

1917: Herbert Croly and Walter Lippmann

The first edition of the New Republic appeared on 7 November, 1914. Willard Straight supplied the money and Herbert Croly became its first editor. The magazine was run by a small editorial board of progressive intellectuals that included Croly's friend, Walter Lippmann. All outside contributions were submitted to the editorial board and had to be accepted by all members before it could appear in the magazine. Early contributors included Walter Weyl, Randolph Bourne, Charles Beard, Amy Lowell, Henry Brailsford and H. G. Wells.

Founded after the First World War had begun, one of the first tasks of the editors was to take a position on America's response to the hostilities. Editor Herbert Croly argued for American neutrality. The New Republic published articles by British critics of the war such as Norman Angell and Harold Laski. However, after the sinking of the Lusitania, Croly urged American entry into war. After Congress declared war on Germany, the magazine  gave Woodrow Wilson its full support. This upset those that still believed in neutrality and Max Eastman, editor of The Masses, complained that the New Republic had become a mouthpiece of President Wilson.

Interestingly, in 2014 the present-day editors of New Republic decided to re-debate the issue of America's entry into the war.  The two professors charged with making the Pro & Con case were highly informed on the topic and did–IMHO–a terrific job of making their cases.

2014: John Cooper and Michael Kazin


John Cooper, author of Woodrow Wilson: A Biography,  begins his YES! article:

Anti-interventionists used to deride World War I as “Mr. Wilson’s War.” They called it right. The United States entered the war in April 1917 because Woodrow Wilson decided to take the country in. Germany’s submarine attacks, renewed two months earlier, had brought shrill demands for immediate intervention from such war hawks as Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge, but every indicator of public and congressional opinion found most people clinging to what Wilson once called “the double wish of our people” to stand up to Germany and yet not get drawn into war. . . 

Read his entire article here:


Michael Kazin, author of War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918, begins his NO! article:

Every war is a tragedy, a failure to resolve sharp differences of ideology and interest or to stop evil men before they can impose their will on others. The First World War was one of the most tragic wars in history: Although none of its major protagonists expected or wanted it to occur, it initiated thirty years of bloodletting on an unprecedented scale and planted the seeds for civil conflicts that continue to rage today. Witness the fate of the Sykes-Picot Treaty, the secret pact drawn up in 1916 by diplomats from Britain and France that mashed together Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds in a new nation called Iraq. Historians will debate forever whether the Great War could have been prevented. But for the United States, it was indisputably a war of choice.

Read his entire article here:

Sources:  New Republic Archives & Spartacus Educational

1 comment:

  1. This debate is a proof that History is always current and not a thing of the past.