The Primacy of Realism and Legalism
While the political atmosphere in the Ottoman Empire putrefied and the land bloodied, the policy of neutrality governed the agenda undergirding the position of the Wilson administration. Meanwhile, U.S. military preparedness became an increasingly contested issue in domestic politics. A growing number of anti-preparedness organizations, such as the American Union Against Militarism, led by the socialist Eugene V. Debs, clashed with conservative internationalist organizations—the National Security League, the Navy League, the American Defense Society, and the League to Enforce Peace—which criticized President Wilson for not doing enough to defeat Germany. Wilson repeatedly rebuffed the advocates of a strong, standing army. On May 7, 1915, when a German submarine torpedoed the Lusitania off the coast of Ireland, killing more than a hundred Americans among the passengers, the policy of neutrality as stressed by the administration appeared to have come under direct challenge. Public opinion in the United States grew hostile toward German propaganda and subterfuge, but despite such antipathy most Americans still preferred to avoid participation in the war.1 “The situation not yet fully developed but need not if wisely handled involve a crisis,” Wilson stated in a letter.2
KeywordsEurope Transportation Syria Turkey Egypt
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