Lectures Watched
Since January 1, 2014
Hundreds of free, self-paced university courses available:
my recommendations here
Peruse my collection of 275
influential people of the past.
View My Class Notes via:
Receive My Class Notes via E-Mail:


Contact Me via E-Mail:
edward [at] tanguay.info
Notes on video lecture:
The 1916 Missed Opportunity for Peace
Choose from these words to fill the blanks below:
overwhelms, peacetime, 1922, Ludendorff, civilization, Versailles, European, sympathy, continue, voice, Asquith, escalate, dictatorship, Bethmann, monarchy, mediation, fundamental, win, wealth, Germany, collapse, George, pacifistically, Russia, intellectual, working, earnest, French, presence, Princeton, church, Mexico, Mexico, win, reelection, merchants, Belgium, capitalism, front, panacea, hysterical, engulfing, bankrupt, orator
choices made in late 1916 on whether to continue the war
the study of history is analyzing choices as stories in which people confront a situation, try to make sense of it, see their problems there, try to figure out what is the best way to solve these problems, and then take action, which then leads to new situations
we want to discover why choices made towards the end of 1916 merged together so that the outcome would be to                  this already horrifying war
United States in 1916
Wilson's American was neutral, and was doing extremely well as a result
the U.S. was becoming a supplier mainly to the British and             
American farmers and                    were making a huge amount of money out of the war, these were good times for American agriculture
Wilson does not want America to be in the war and he has a firm grip on American foreign policy: American foreign policy in 1916 is the policy of Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924)
1902-1910: President of                   
1911-1913: Governor of New Jersey
1913-1921: U.S. President
willful and skillful politician and a forceful             
Wilson's position on war
had no                  for what the European countries were trying to achieve
did not strongly sympathize with any side, wanted America to stay out of the war
he knew if war continued, America would be pulled into it, and so he had to help stop it, he know that                would not tolerate for long America being the supplier of goods to only one side
leverage over combatants
he was regarded as neutral
leverage over Germany since if U.S. entered war, would be bad for Germany
although some Germans believed it would take too long for American's                  to be felt
leverage over British was selling them goods and lending them money, and British in turn were the financiers of the whole Allied war effort
Wilson tried a peace move in early 1916 but it failed because the warring sides still had their war plans to        the war in 1916, they weren't going to be interested in peace until those plans failed, which occurred in August and September 1916, but this window of opportunity closed again by the end of the year when Germany, England, and France had new leaders with renewed war interests.
internally, Wilson is running for reelection in the fall of 1916
Berlin 1916:                  and the Kaiser
Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg (1856-1921)
prominent law scholar, president of Frederick William University in Berlin
took care of the day-to-day running of the government
was just a Prussian career civil servant, was not elected, "served at the whim of his crowned master"
feeling great strain
tactically their position is good: armies are in French and                territory
strategically they can see no clear path to        the war, the one                they can think of is to use their submarines to cut the ties of Britain and their allies from the rest of the world, but you use the submarines would bring the United States in the war.
as the war goes on, Bethmann increasingly feels that if they go into this all-out submarine warfare and all-out war domestically, that Germany is going to have to become a different kind of country where the Germany will turn into a military                          dedicated to trying to wage an all-out war.
Germans reach out looking for urgent U.S. mediation to try to end the war
German ambassador:
-"The American people are are                              inclined. The American's aim in life is the peaceful acquisition of             . It is only when he believes that a deep injustice has been done him that he allows himself to be carried along in a                      war sentiment."
"The fronts in Europe are holding fast, we hope to conclude this war by winter. In case no major catastrophe should occur by then, would peace mediation by Wilson be possible if we were to guarantee Belgium's unconditional restoration? Otherwise the unrestricted U-boat war will have to be carried on in dead               ."
Johann Heinrich von Bernstorff (1862-1939)
German ambassador to the United States and              from 1908 to 1917
later shunned by Nazis as a person who was responsible for Germany's                 , moved to Geneva in 1930 till his death in 1939
Germany is anxious to end the war quickly before matters                 , but due to the presidential election in the fall of 1916, Wilson cannot act as he would were there no election.
The British leadership
Herbert Henry                (1852-1928)
1808-1916: Liberal prime minister
series of domestic reforms including social insurance
lead country into the First World War
achievements in peacetime have been overshadowed by his weaknesses in wartime
there were two Asquiths: the urbane and conciliatory Asquith, who was a successful                    leader, and the hesitant and increasingly exhausted Asquith, who practiced the politics of muddle and delay during the Great War
his eldest son Raymond Asquith was killed at the Somme in 1916
the war                      him
Britain is under enormous strain
little can hide that the fact that the            is not moving significantly and the devastation is terrible
August 1916: asks his cabinet to ponder what the aims would be for a continuation of the war
David Lloyd George (1863-1945)
represented the Welsh miners and                class
sees this moment when he would become the prime minister and the war leader
determined that Britain has to continue, what Britain needs to plan on a knock-out blow, sells himself as the man who will do whatever is needed
1916-         prime minister
Leader of the Liberal Party from 1926 to 1931.
Lloyd George referred to this as a courageous memo
"Our own casualties amount to 1.1 million. We've had 15,000 officers killed not including those that are missing. We are slowly killing off the best of the male population of these islands. The financial burden which we have already accumulated is almost incalculable."
fundamentally, Britain is about to go                 
Britain had been the financial hub of modern                      and that era is coming to a close because Britain is running out of money
if the war continues, Britain will change in some                        way that it can never recover and so might the rest of the world
these are liberal politicians seeing the world they grew up with disappearing before their eyes with the continuation of this war
Why did the moment pass?
The United States needs to bring the war to an end in order to keep it from                    them and they have leverage over the two warring sides. The Germans urgently want U.S.                    and are for their own reasons interested in getting a cessation of hostilities before the end of the year. The British are watching their country go bankrupt and are clearly looking for options to end the war as quickly as possible. So why did the moment pass? Mainly, Wilson couldn't act quickly enough because he was consumed by his                      campaign. In Germany, they are already moving their 1917 war plans where the military will have the upper hand. In Britain, the advocate of total war David Lloyd              had already outmaneuvered his opponents in the British cabinet and his politics are going to drive the British approach. And so by December 1916, when Wilson finally was able to make his peace move, British domestic politics and German domestic politics have already closed the window of opportunity and as this window closes, World War I transitions to a new stage.
the leading powers have new people in charge
British: going for the knock-out blow at all costs
In France, new leader Georges Clemenceau
Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929)
prime minister 1906 to 1909, and again from 1917 to 1920
one of the principal architects of the Treaty of                      at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919
was from a liberal party or radical party
a tough fellow, his nickname is the tiger, a formidable figure
strong advocate of liberty, opponent of the             
Berlin: Bethmann steps down and                      becomes effectively the military ruler of Germany
December 1916: United States peace move
as these teams move into place and delivers a peace message in December 1916, but the moment in which the leaders of the warring countries would have been open to concluding peace, had passed.
the United States army is not built up enough for the German military to be very frightened by it
German Gamble
yes, if we wage all-out submarine warfare, the U.S. may enter the war
but we will starve the British before the U.S. can slowly built up its army and make their weight felt in the battle field, and who knows if the U.S. army
New War
Revolution in             
Russia simply can't sustain the war effort anymore and the Russian people rise up and overthrow the                 
A German telegram which offered              a deal that if they join the side of the Central Powers, Germany would help Mexico gain back the territory it had lost in the 1840s including Texas and California, was intercepted by British intelligence which found a way of leaking it to the American press.
Wilson's decision to enter the war
to end the war in the right way offers the only hope to save                          and he needs to join with other countries and do what America can to make the world safe for a democratic future and American won't have any            on the future shape of the world unless it joins in the war to be able to be at the table and contribute
April 1917, United States for the first time in its history, joins in a full-scale                  conflict
1914: Schizophrenic Germany
1914: The Balkan Whirlpool
1914: From Balkan Crisis to War
1914-1916: All War Plans Fail Horribly
The 1916 Missed Opportunity for Peace
WWI Pushes Warring Countries Toward Total States
Why the Allies Won World War One
Post-WWI: Filling the Void of Collapsed Empires
Post-WWI Communism vs. Anti-Communism
Post World War I: The Age of Uncertainty
1910s/1920s: Modern Women
The World of 1930
The 1930s World Crisis
1930s: The Decade of Contingency
America's Entry into World War II
WWII: Strategies for Total War
1945: Hour Zero
Post WWII: Imagining New Countries
Conflicts in Postwar Nation Building
The Two Europes That Emerged After WWII
1947 China: Undesirable Communists vs. Flawed Nationalists
Post WWII: The Age of America
Reasons for the Korean War
How WWIII was Avoided in the Korean War
1950-1952: The Cold War Comes to Main Street
1950-1954: The H-Bomb and the Nuclear Revolution
1950s: Loosening Empires and Building Confederations
The Emergence of the Third World
1958-1962: The World at the Brink
Third World Proxy Wars of the 1950s and 1960s
Managerial States and the Transnational Disruption of 1968
1970s Obstacles to Reducing Cold War Tensions
1970s Democratic Socialism Becomes a Non-Choice
1980s Political Polarization
1980s: Global Capitalism Transformed