Woodrow Wilson, the Ottomans, and World War I*

Woodrow Wilson, the Ottomans, and World War I* On December 6 and 7 of 1917, the U.S. Congress was debating whether to declare war on Austria-Hungary, as it had on Germany eight months earlier. President Woodrow Wilson had advocated for war in his Annual Message to Congress on December 4 and, while Congress seemed overwhelmingly inclined to accept his call for war, a New York Times reporter noted that “the talk at the Capitol” after Wilson’s speech “bore more upon the Executive’s advice against a pronouncement [of war] against Turkey and Bulgaria than upon the demand for hostilities against Austria-Hungary.”1 Deliberations in the Senate and House of Representatives continued in the subsequent days, with several congressmen expressing a particularly keen desire to declare war on the Ottomans in speeches laced with racial and religious animosity. In the end, both chambers deferred to Wilson and decided, in the words of Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, not to “embarrass the Executive” and “act with absolute unity” in declaring that a state of war existed with Austria-Hungary but not with the Ottoman Empire or Bulgaria.2 Throughout the nineteen months that the United States was officially part of this conflict, Wilson successfully opposed numerous calls for war with the Ottomans from lawmakers and other public figures. The two countries remained at peace when the war ended. This article seeks to answer a rather broad and heretofore under-explored question: Why did Wilson decide not to advocate for war with the Ottomans? Although other authors have discussed this decision, no one has written a focused, article-length assessment of Wilson’s choice to remain at peace with the Ottomans, which stands in contrast to the long history of debate over the decision to go to war with Germany, along with articles and book chapters on war decisions regarding Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria.3 This article analyzes a broader range of factors than previous scholarship and argues that knowing more about Wilson’s decision-making on this matter provides further insight into his general conduct of the First World War.4 Wilson’s decision not to advocate for war with the Ottomans is particularly curious because several factors seemed to favor a call for war. As will be discussed below, most Americans during this era, including Wilson, were culturally conditioned to despise the “terrible Turk” and American antipathy towards the Ottoman Empire had been a constant refrain in U.S. foreign policy circles throughout the preceding century.5 Events of the war (primarily the Armenian massacres) only served to reinforce this antipathy. Additionally, Wilson struggled to defend his claim that a state of war existed with only one (and then two) of the four Central Powers. He knew that advocating for a limited entry into the war was not popular and gave his political rivals (namely Lodge and Theodore Roosevelt) material to publically attack his handling of the war effort. In spite of these cultural and political dynamics, Wilson decided to avoid war with the Ottomans for several interrelated reasons. The simplest of these is that Wilson was loath to enter this particularly destructive war at all and, once the United States had entered, the central rationale for war with Germany did not apply to the Ottomans, namely that the Germans had harmed the United States whereas the Ottomans had not. The next reason was logistical and showed the limits of American military power in this era. The United States was generally unprepared for such a major conflict, making it a difficult task for the United States to get troops to Europe, let alone the Eastern Mediterranean. Wilson was, therefore, disinclined to enter an area of the conflict where the United States could have no “material” effect. Furthermore, a political group of missionaries and their prominent donors who sought to protect their evangelical and humanitarian investments in Ottoman lands strongly influenced Wilson by arguing that the American missionaries and medical personnel in the region were stopping the “terrible Turk” from entirely ridding these lands of Christians. With these reasons in mind, Wilson was convinced that the potential costs of declaring war on the Ottomans would not match the potential good that could come from such an intervention. In general, this article reconsiders Wilson’s strategic and political decision-making during the war. The fact that Wilson did not ask Congress to declare war on the Ottomans highlights the pragmatic nature of his wartime decisions, which stands in contrast to the many idealistic pronouncements he made throughout the war years. As will be discussed in the conclusion, the tentative nature of the American entry into the war and Wilson’s pragmatic prosecution of the war effort (both exemplified by the Ottoman case) played a role in weakening his position at the Paris Peace Conference. The United States and the Ottoman Empire before 1917 Before World War I, the Ottoman Empire and the United States played minor roles in their respective foreign policies. American business interests were relatively small in the late Ottoman Empire, the largest of which included the American Tobacco Company, the MacAndrews and Forbes Company (harvesting licorice root), the Standard Oil Company of New York (selling kerosene and prospecting for oil), and the Singer Manufacturing Company (selling sewing machines). The United States was a major export market for the Ottomans, however, with twenty-three percent of the empire’s exports going to the United States.6 The reputation of the United States in the Ottoman Empire was somewhat mixed. Many in the empire had come to admire the United States mainly because of positive reports coming from those who had immigrated there.7 The medical and educational work that American missionaries were conducting in the Ottoman lands also bolstered this reputation.8 Ottoman authorities, however, were generally not as happy with these missionaries, claiming that they were “establishing nests of sedition and training revolutionaries.”9 Broadly speaking, however, the Ottomans would have viewed the United States as a growing but relatively benign global power with few designs on their territories, particularly relative to Russia, Britain, and France. Americans, on the other hand, generally would not have viewed the “Turk” as positively. The American public saw the “Turk” (a term often signifying any Muslim Ottoman) as indolent, violent, and unintelligent. Many people in the United States also regarded the Ottoman government as an enemy of Christianity and therefore a potential enemy of the United States. Evidence for this came in the form of the widely publicized massacres of Armenians in the empire in 1894–1896 and again in 1909.10 As war loomed, the United States and the Ottoman Empire had few tangible ties that might draw them into war with one another. The United States was, however, culturally pre-disposed to side against what many Americans saw as one of the world’s great villains.11 Wilson, for his part, rarely mentioned the Ottomans during his pre-war presidency. On one occasion, however, he voiced the opinion that the Ottoman Empire’s future should and would be short, stating to his adviser “Colonel” Edward House on December 18, 1912 that “there ain’t going to be no Turkey” in the near future.12 American missionaries in the Ottoman lands and their supporters had an influence on the Wilson administration that was disproportionate to their rather small numbers. Wilson, for example, was not a serious missionary advocate but could not ignore wealthy missionary backers who were often his political patrons, including philanthropist Charles R. Crane and, most significantly, copper magnate Cleveland Dodge. Crane, the main benefactor of Constantinople College (a missionary school for women in Istanbul), had been Wilson’s top campaign contributor in 1912.13 This earned him the first official appointment with Wilson during his presidency and swift access to Wilson thereafter.14 Dodge’s relationship with Wilson had deeper roots: he had been a classmate of Wilson’s at Princeton University and was his staunch ally on the Princeton Board of Trustees during Wilson’s contentious years as Princeton’s president (1902–1910). Dodge continued to support Wilson throughout his subsequent political campaigns and became arguably his closest friend while Wilson was president. Wilson had even offered Dodge the prestigious ambassadorship to London which he turned down, preferring to remain more discreetly influential. Dodge and his family were deeply involved in several non-business, legacy-building ventures in the Ottoman Empire, including Robert College in Istanbul and the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut (SPC, later renamed the American University of Beirut). Importantly, Dodge’s daughter Elizabeth was working at Robert College in 1914 and his son Bayard was teaching at SPC.15 After the war in Europe commenced on July 28, 1914, the Ottoman Empire did not officially decide to join the hostilities on the side of Germany and Austria-Hungary until October 29, delaying for months in order to bolster their exhausted treasury and military by squeezing the Germans for aid.16 Wilson, at this point, had no intention of allowing the United States to be dragged into what he saw as a European war, arguing in his Annual Message to Congress on December 8, 1914, that the country, on his watch, would not be “thrown off our balance by a war with which we have nothing to do, whose causes can not touch us.”17 Wilson viewed the entrance into what quickly became an obscenely destructive war with dread; if he had to lead the country into war, he would only do so if he could justify the shedding of American blood to himself and to the country in unequivocally moral terms.18 During World War I, the United States had two major concerns in the Ottoman Empire. The first was to protect American interests in the region, which mainly meant the educational and medical institutions created by American missionaries. With the abrogation of the “Capitulations” (the treaties between the Ottoman government and other states that exempted foreign citizens from numerous Ottoman laws and taxes) on October 1, 1914, all foreigners remaining in the region had to renegotiate their status within the Ottoman Empire from a much-weakened position. It is significant that this happened in midst of war, during which the confiscation of certain foreign holdings looked attractive to the increasingly distressed Ottoman government. The Wilson administration was aware of this danger, with counselor to the State Department (and eventual secretary of state) Robert Lansing informing Henry Morgenthau (the American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire) in November 1914 that: “Grave apprehension prevails here as to the safety of the Christian missionaries. Represent to the Ottoman Government the seriousness of the situation and urge in most solemn way upon them the necessity of preventing any loss of life, property of missionaries, stating the effect a failure to protect them would have upon the opinion and action of the United States.”19 Generally speaking, Ambassadors Morgenthau and Abram Elkus (who took over in 1916) were successful in maintaining cordial relationships with key figures in the Ottoman government (including leaders Talaat Pasha and Enver Pasha) while their countries remained diplomatically connected. Other major figures, like Howard Bliss, president of the SPC, managed to keep their institutions open through the maintenance of friendly contacts with local officials.20 The other major American concern was what came to be called Near East Relief. In the spring of 1915, American missionaries began reporting mass deportations and, eventually, massacre and starvation of Armenians in eastern Anatolia by Ottoman forces. Missionaries and State Department officials reported these events to the United States and these reports were then amplified in numerous newspaper articles.21 Less well publicized in the United States (but known to an important few) was the Syrian famine, which began in earnest in the winter of 1915–1916. On September 16, 1915, Cleveland Dodge formed the Armenian and Syrian Relief Committee (ACASR, later known as Near East Relief). The committee included many wealthy Americans who were close to Wilson (such as Charles Crane) and many influential missionary leaders (such as James Barton of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, the institutions of which dotted Anatolia). This group immediately began channeling funds to the region, often via Morgenthau, and engaged in what became a massive humanitarian relief effort, eventually raising and dispensing some $116,000,000 in aid during and after the war.22 Throughout the war, Wilson and most American policymakers were convinced that Germany’s allies were mere stooges and were doing all that Germany requested of them. Immediately following the Ottoman entry into the war, for example, Morgenthau told the State Department that “the Turkish authorities themselves have not seemed to desire war but have fallen more and more under the influence and power of the Germans,” and further reported that “Germany has absolute control of Turkish Navy; their military mission almost controls Turkish Army; they have [German General Colmar Freiherr] Von der Goltz in the palace and German Ambassador advising Cabinet.”23 Wilson rehashed this in his speeches, noting in 1917, for example, that “Germany has absolute control of Austria Hungary, practical control of the Balkan States, control of Turkey, control of Asia Minor.”24 Although recent research has shown that the Ottoman, Austrian, and Bulgarian governments charted more independent courses than many people suggested at the time, the perception of German dominance was widespread and played a major role in deliberations about the war.25 During the war, Woodrow Wilson’s international prominence rose because the United States’ continued neutrality turned the nation into a potential peacemaker, and Wilson’s speeches in favor of a new, more peaceful and stable world order were disseminated in global newspapers.26 In January 1915, for example, Morgenthau conveyed to Wilson that many Turks believed the war to be a mistake and that these people “look to you as the Peacemaker.”27 By the end of the war, as the region’s people realized that the Ottoman Empire was likely going to be dissolved, many of the regional popular movements turned to the United States for help, particularly because Wilson’s speeches seemed to show that he would support their political desires. Many groups in the region cited point twelve of Wilson’s famed Fourteen Points speech of January 8, 1918, which stated that the “Turkish Portion of the present Ottoman Empire shall be assured a secure sovereignty” after the war, while the “other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development.” These movements were certainly a part of the general “Wilsonian Moment” in the region, yet there were many competing voices and political projects in the Ottoman lands that made this a complicated and contentious moment in regional politics.28 In sum, the United States had relatively minor ties to the Ottoman Empire before the war, but the nature of these ties made it so that certain Americans with interests in the region were influential with Wilson. Although American business investments in the Ottoman Empire were small at this point, missionary investments were large. Additionally, the moral heft of helping besieged co-religionists in the Ottoman Empire in the face of persecution by the “terrible Turk” kept the region in American newspapers and in parish halls throughout the country via ACASR fundraising drives. In the general American discourse of the era, the Ottomans did not represent a threat to the world or to the United States as such, but they were a threat to politically important missionary and relief investments and to “civilized sensibilities” everywhere. The Ottomans in Debates about War with Germany During February and March of 1917, the surge in German submarine warfare, the “Zimmerman Telegram,” an evolving set of policies that favored the Triple Entente, and Wilson’s growing desire to play a significant role at a post-war peace conference helped to push the United States into war with Germany. Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany in a speech on April 2, 1917, and this turned out to be a rather simple sell, with Congress declaring that a state of war existed between the two countries almost immediately and nearly unanimously.29 In the run-up to this speech, Wilson and his inner-circle debated the wisdom of declaring war on one or more of Germany’s allies. Joseph Tumulty (Wilson’s secretary), for example, raised the issue to Wilson by including the following text from a New York Evening Post editorial in a letter on March 24: “What, moreover, of Turkey and Bulgaria? Are we to declare war against those countries? We should have to, logically, if we went the whole figure of joining the Allies … One item on their list is the expulsion of the Turk from Europe and the turning over of Constantinople to Russia. That may be an end desirable in itself, but has the United States any call to fight for it?”30 In his quest to craft a rationale for war that would command broad support, Wilson concluded that his case for war with Germany was strong but that the war needed to be about something larger, and the dual nature of his thinking was reflected in the April 2 speech. The first half of Wilson’s “War Message” outlined German crimes against the United States and others, and then detailed what the war effort would involve for Americans. Wilson explained the more general American “motives” and “objects” for entering into the war in the second half of the speech. The United States, according to Wilson, sought to bring a “steadfast concert for peace” to the world and, in order to accomplish this, had to help rid the world of autocracy and make it safe for democracy (an argument he could more easily make after the overthrow of the Czar of would-be ally Russia in March). When it came to Germany’s allies, the powerful case for war based on German crimes against the United States barely applied, but this crusade against autocracy certainly did. The first section of his rationale thus constrained Wilson because Germany’s allies had technically not harmed the United States, while the second seemed to indicate that all of Germany’s autocratic allies should be part of the war declaration. Wilson recognized this contradiction and tried to address it towards the end of his speech, stating that he was not asking for war with Germany’s allies because “they have not made war on us or challenged us to defend our right[s] and our honour.” Wilson did mention that the Austrians, for their part, had endorsed German submarine warfare but he stated that he was merely “postponing a discussion of our relations with the authorities at Vienna.” He did not mention the Ottoman Empire or Bulgaria by name, perhaps signaling his feelings about the relative merits of the case for extending the war to these other allies.31 He was also likely aware of reports coming out of the Ottoman lands that, in the words of Ambassador Elkus, “in case of hostilities between America and Germany, Turkey would not declare war against America.”32 Thus, Wilson did not appear to be close to expanding war declarations beyond Germany in April 1917 and the United States even sought to maintain diplomatic relations with Germany’s allies in the immediate aftermath of the declaration of war. Despite this, Austria-Hungary quickly broke off relations (April 8) and, under pressure from Germany, the Ottomans followed suit shortly thereafter (April 20), though the decision of the Ottoman cabinet was determined by a single vote and Ottoman treatment of the Americans remaining in the empire changed little.33 Bulgaria, for its part, chose to maintain relations with the United States mainly in hopes of leveraging this issue as a way to get German troops to leave the Black Sea region of Dobroudja.34 The severance of relations between the United States and the Ottoman Empire on April 20 caused alarm among Americans with ties to the region. They feared that the protections American neutrality had afforded their institutions and missionaries could end, especially as consuls throughout the empire returned home. They also feared that the ability of American benefactors to support these institutions (financially and otherwise), which had already been difficult throughout the war, would be truncated even further. The worst-case scenario was a declaration of war, which American institutions in the region worried would result in forced closures and Ottoman appropriation of their holdings.35 Stephen Panaretoff, the Bulgarian Ambassador to the United States, was one of the main opponents of an American declaration of war against Bulgaria and the Ottomans. Panaretoff was a graduate of Robert College in Istanbul and had been the head of Bulgarian language instruction there until 1914, when he was named ambassador. Once the Ottomans broke off diplomatic relations with the United States, Panaretoff immediately called on Cleveland Dodge, then president of the board of trustees of Robert College, in order to see what could be done to prevent war. Panaretoff made a personal promise that as long as the United States did not declare war on Bulgaria or the Ottoman Empire, he would guarantee that supplies from Bulgaria would make it to Robert College.36 Buoyed by this promise, Dodge called an emergency meeting of the Robert College trustees to discuss what they could do to avert an American declaration of war on the Ottomans. Dodge took it upon himself to head to Washington to speak with Wilson personally. Dodge had already been in touch with Wilson on matters pertaining to the war, writing to him on February 5 (two days after the breaking of diplomatic relations with Germany), “When I think of my dear ones in Turkey, naturally I am a little anxious.”37 Wilson replied the next day that he had “thought of” Dodge’s “dear ones in Turkey more than once with a pang of apprehension that was very deep.” He tried to reassure Dodge that “there was always one of our vessels” near Ottoman lands and that he hoped that he could “manage things so prudently that there will be no real danger to the lives of our people abroad.”38 When Dodge visited Wilson in late April, it appears that he was able to obtain a further promise from Wilson that he would do his best to prevent a declaration of war on both Bulgaria and the Ottomans. Although what was precisely discussed at this meeting is not documented, Dodge later told his son (Cleveland E. Dodge) that this was one of the few times he had asked Wilson for a favor.39 Another reason that Wilson chose not to seek a declaration of war against Germany’s allies was that he believed the United States could possibly negotiate a separate peace with one or more of these allies, thus weakening the German position and possibly ending the war. By limiting the war declaration to Germany, Wilson was able to “retain the greatest freedom of diplomatic maneuver.”40 One example of this came in June 1917, when Wilson approved a diplomatic mission to Istanbul by Henry Morgenthau. Morgenthau, having resigned his ambassadorship in 1916, told Wilson that there was a chance that he could get the Ottomans to leave the war if he made the pleas in person. Morgenthau embarked on this mission but abandoned it on the way to Istanbul after being convinced by various people, including some old colleagues and Zionist Chaim Weizmann, that his mission had little chance of succeeding.41 By the fall of 1917, Wilson seemed reluctant to make any major move when it came to the Ottomans, despite seeing the war as an opportunity to solve the “problem” of the Ottoman Empire, which, in his mind was “a veritable hornet’s nest, which keeps Europe always in alarm.”42 Wilson also appeared to stop considering a separate peace with the Ottomans. This was mainly because he believed that an early settlement could be advantageous to the Turks, noting in a letter to Lansing that “I suppose that [a separate] peace could be made only on terms which would preclude any radical changes of control over Constantinople and the straits,” which were changes that he believed to be desirable. Significantly, however, he added that the “only advantage” of an early peace would be to “prevent the bargains of the Allies with regard to Asia Minor from being carried out,” referring to the Sykes-Picot and related agreements that the British had shown him shortly after the United States declared war on Germany.43 His ultimate goal, the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire, was certainly on his mind at this point, yet he wanted to make sure it was not done through the “secret diplomacy” that he so disdained. Wilson’s strategic focus, however, appeared to be on the more immediate goal of crafting a policy that would help bring an end to the war and to the Ottomans while protecting missionary and relief interests in the region. The Ottomans in Debates about War with Austria The Italian defeat at Caporetto in October 1917 alarmed the Allies. The threat of an Italian capitulation, when paired with the mutinies of French soldiers during the summer of 1917 and the Bolshevik takeover of the Russian government in November, constituted a “dark hour” for the Allies and worried Wilson greatly.44 The public debate in the United States over the wisdom of declaring war on Germany’s allies had simmered over the summer of 1917 and became more serious in the fall. Although it is true, as one historian has noted, that the movement to declare war on the Ottomans lacked organization, it did have the support of political giant Theodore Roosevelt.45 On October 18, the ever-bellicose Roosevelt criticized Wilson’s handling of this matter in his widely syndicated Kansas City Star column. He argued that America’s policy of not going to war with Austria and the Ottomans was deceitful because the United States was not acting to “make the world safe for democracy” for the subject “races” of these empires, broadly attacking Wilson with the second part of his rationale for the war with Germany.46 After Caporetto, he continued to harp on what he deemed to be a disingenuous policy, arguing that had the United States declared war on Austria and directly supported Italy, the Italians may not have suffered such a heavy defeat.47 Roosevelt pointedly repeated these claims in a speech at Wilson’s beloved Princeton University on November 16.48 Less prominent people were calling for war as well. For example, Edward Grosvenor, a longtime Robert College professor, wrote an extended letter to the editor in the Springfield Daily Republican (which was sent to Robert Lansing) arguing that a declaration of war against the Ottomans would “hearten our British allies” and “discourage the Turk” who would then know that “his cause and that of the Kaiser is lost.”49 Pressure for a widening of the war effort mounted and tested Wilson’s resolve. Because the crimes of Austria, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria against the United States did not compare to those of Germany, the president found it difficult to justify a declaration of war on any of Germany’s allies. In this regard, however, the case for war with Austria appeared to be the strongest of the three. Austria arguably had harmed the United States: along with openly approving of the German U-boat campaign, a U-boat under the Austrian flag had sunk the Italian passenger liner Ancona in 1915 without sufficient warning, killing nine American citizens.50 Many American politicians were beginning to believe that the brittle Italian front was particularly dangerous to the Allied war effort as a whole and that a declaration of war against Austria was needed to help shore up this front. The Italians concurred: on November 1, Italian Foreign Minister Baron Sydney Sonnino unofficially noted to the American ambassador in Italy that a declaration of war on Austria would have an excellent effect on Italian morale.51 Opposition to such a declaration existed as well. When Wilson asked Secretary of War Newton Baker about the possibility of broadening American military operations to any of the Mediterranean fronts (including the Ottoman lands), he replied that the logistical difficulties of such an undertaking were formidable. He told the president that it was difficult enough to deliver troops to the western front and thus sending troops to the Mediterranean could not be contemplated, at least not in 1917. Baker concluded that the United States was not in a position to make a physical impact anywhere beyond the western front and thus he was not in favor of broader war declarations.52 Despite Baker’s opposition, Wilson and Secretary of State Lansing seemed to have accepted by late November that it was now expedient to declare war on Austria-Hungary in hopes of saving Italy, yet they still found it difficult to make a case for war against the Austrians.53 Wilson knew that if he declared war against Austria-Hungary, it would be difficult to justify remaining at peace with the Ottomans and Bulgaria. In preparation for his annual message to Congress to be delivered on December 4, Wilson wrote a number of drafts of his speech, and one of these drafts included the recommendation that “Congress immediately declare the United States in a state of war with Austria-Hungary, with Turkey, and with Bulgaria.”54 Knowing that this was a possibility (and with the backing of two main Protestant mission boards), Cleveland Dodge again used his position as Wilson’s friend and political backer to try to stave off war against the Ottomans. On December 2, Dodge wrote to Wilson (on behalf of numerous parties interested in the region) that a declaration of war against the “Turkish Empire” would be “fatal” to the “educational, missionary, and relief work” conducted there. He further argued in a cordial but forthright manner that “war with Turkey would be a serious blow to these great American enterprises and would jeopardize many American lives besides stopping the work we are doing in saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of natives.” He added a personal note that the welfare of his son and daughter might be endangered by a declaration of war.55 Although Wilson generally did not kowtow to his political supporters, he would no doubt have taken an appeal from his prominent friend seriously, as he did with all of Dodge’s appeals. In the end, Wilson only asked Congress to declare war on Austria-Hungary, though he left open the possibility of declaring war on Bulgaria and the Ottomans in the future. During his annual message to Congress on December 4, Wilson began by acknowledging that declaring “we are at war with Germany but not with her allies” was a “very embarrassing obstacle.” He then requested that Congress declare that the United States was “in a state of war with Austria-Hungary” because its government was “not acting upon its own initiative or in response to the wishes and feelings of its own peoples, but as the instrument of another nation.” He then went on to defend his position toward Bulgaria and the Ottomans, arguing that they were “the tools of Germany, but they are mere tools and do not yet stand in the direct path of our necessary action.” He did not preclude going to war in the future, stating, “We shall go wherever the necessities of this war carry us” but said that, in the short term, the United States should “go only where immediate and practical considerations lead us.”56 As can be seen in Wilson’s wording, he struggled to make the crimes of Austria-Hungary seem worse than those of Bulgaria and the Ottomans. He argued, with reference to the Italian front, that the conditions for declaring war on Austria-Hungary were “immediate and practical” whereas no such conditions existed with the other two. Wilson certainly added the clause about going “wherever the necessities of this war carry us” in order to placate those who wanted war with all of Germany’s allies but, in Wilson’s mind, the moment of last resort had not yet arrived with the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria. Wilson no doubt understood, however, that the logic of his argument was labored and that it might not be possible to remain at peace with the Ottomans. At a meeting after the speech, Wilson told his cabinet that “because of Robert College and such institutions he hoped we would not have to declare war on Turkey, but [the country] must be prepared for any eventualities.”57 Congress reacted to the distinction between Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria with confusion. Following Wilson’s call for a declaration of war against Austria-Hungary, Lansing received a request from Democratic Senator William Stone, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, asking him to explain the decision not to declare war on the Ottomans and Bulgaria. Lansing immediately replied, stating that the United States had much to lose with such a declaration and little to gain. Specifically, Americans would lose the accumulated benefits of the approximately “$20,000,000” invested in missionary activities in the region, which currently included “several million dollars” in property that would certainly be “destroyed or confiscated” in the event of war. Citing a letter from missionary W. W. Peet of Bible House in Istanbul, Lansing argued that a declaration of war could also perturb the tenuous status quo in the Ottoman lands in which Americans had remained safe. Lansing further contended that Turks were no threat to American forces in Europe, and that Turkish subjects in the United States also posed no threat because they were few in number and mostly “Christians.” The danger, according to Lansing, was distinctly Islamic in nature and if war was declared, there might be “fresh massacres on the Christians and Jews in the Turkish Empire.”58 Military intervention at this point could not be justified in terms of helping the oppressed minorities of the Ottoman Empire, as perhaps it could have been in 1915. On the contrary, it was Lansing’s contention that an American declaration of war would harm these minorities. Covering the Senate debate on the matter, The New York Times reported dissent from dozens of senators, stating, “hardly a Senator could be found who did not urge the inclusion of Turkey and Bulgaria in the declaration of war.”59 Senator Henry Cabot Lodge took a somewhat adversarial position. Although he pledged to stand with Wilson on his decision to declare war with only Austria at this moment, he noted that he did not agree that the United States should remain at peace with the Ottomans. He took aim specifically at the argument that the United States should not go to war with the Ottoman Empire because of the “danger” it would bring to “American life and property in Turkey.” “A declaration of war,” Lodge argued, “cannot be decided on the question of the danger to which citizens of the country have voluntarily exposed themselves in the hostile country.” Lodge then launched into the rather obligatory rant about the Turks being the long-time “scourge of Europe and Christendom” and a “curse to modern civilization,” followed by a description of the Armenian massacres. The final element of his speech, though, involved his concern about post-war diplomacy: Lodge believed that the United States should not arrive at the post-war “great council of nations as still the friend of Turkey.”60 In the House of Representatives, a similar debate occurred. Republican Representative Clarence B. Miller begrudgingly deferred to Wilson’s judgment on Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire, but then went on to deliver a bellicose speech arguing that no separate peace should be made with the murderous Turk. Miller believed that the only way any negotiation should take place with the Turk was with a “bayonet pointed squarely at his heart.” Democrat Henry D. Flood responded to Miller, restating Wilson’s argument that the Turks had not harmed the United States and had little potential to do so, though Americans in the Ottoman Empire might be harmed should the United States declare war. The congressional record notes that both arguments received applause during the debate.61 Despite these protests, Congress acquiesced and declared war on Austria-Hungary on December 7. Wilson, for his part, was aware of the dissent and knew the matter was not closed, writing to Cleveland Dodge on December 5 that “I sympathize with every word of your letter of the second [December 2] about war with Turkey and am trying to hold Congress back from following its inclination to include all the allies of Germany in a declaration of a state of war. I hope with all of my heart that I can succeed.”62 In response to the increased clamoring for war with the Ottomans, James Barton crafted a long letter to Henry Cabot Lodge on December 10. Significantly, this letter was circulated among the popular press and hence played a role in the public debate about further declarations of war.63 Barton’s arguments mirrored Lansing’s (possible loss of American property and lives; renewed slaughter of Christians; no way for the American military to influence this front), adding that the reputation of Germany was waning in the Ottoman Empire and that a split in this alliance was possible. The United States, in contrast, had grown in reputation during the war because of the relief efforts. A declaration of war, according to Barton, would accomplish Germany’s goal of converting “this friendly spirit of the Turks into a spirit of hatred” against the United States.64 The discursive characterization of the relationship between Germany and its allies was of great consequence in this debate. Although discussions between Germany, the Ottomans, Austria-Hungary, and Bulgaria were largely conducted in secret, many commentators claimed to understand the true nature of their relationships. No one doubted that Germany was the dominant member of the alliance but the role of Germany’s allies often changed in line with a person’s stance on the question of declaring war. Advocates for war with Germany’s allies, like Roosevelt and Lodge, would generally refer to them as knowing co-conspirators, using terms like “fellow tyrants” and “subject allies,” or emphasizing that the relationship between these governments was “intimate and indissoluble.”65 People against war with Germany’s allies, like Dodge and Barton, emphasized Germany’s domineering role in these relationships and often referred to the allies with terms like “pawns” or “mere tools.” In Barton’s words, “both Bulgaria and Turkey are under military rule and domination of the Germans, without power of throwing off that rule.” Barton went so far as to blame the Germans for the massacre of “the Armenians, the Syrians, the Greeks and the Jews” because Germany saw these groups as an impediment to “‘Berlin to Baghdad’ domination.” He further insinuated that it was inconceivable that anything of that magnitude could have happened without German approval or, even worse, orchestration.66 Moreover, Dodge argued that the Ottomans “want peace badly and have no love for the Germans,” implying that Germany alone was keeping them in the war.67 Because the president had asked for war with Austria-Hungary, the debate over Austria-Hungary’s relationship with Germany now appeared to have been agreed upon—they were indeed co-conspirators. The interested parties continued to debate the nature of the relationship between Bulgaria, the Ottomans, and Germany throughout the remaining days of the war. Regardless of contested assessments of the relationship between Germany and its allies, Lodge and the dissenters had successfully located the specious elements of Wilson’s rationale against declaring war on the Ottomans. Austria-Hungary’s situation was comparable to the Ottoman Empire’s in that the world needed to be rid of both autocracies. It was true that Austria had just dealt a major blow to the Allied war cause by nearly defeating Italy, yet there was arguably a stronger moral imperative to declare war on the Ottomans because of the Armenian massacres. Lodge and his allies realized this and were largely arguing for a punitive intervention that would ensure that the Turks were never in a position to conduct massacres again. Further Debate in 1918 Congressional debates over the declaration of war with Bulgaria and the Ottomans remained quiet during the winter of 1917–1918 but resurfaced in the spring, with members of the Senate reacting to the perceived worsening of the war situation because of the official Russian exit in March.68 On April 2, 1918, newly elected Democrat William H. King introduced Senate Joint Resolution 145, which sought to widen American participation in the war by declaring that “a state of war exists between the United States of America and the governments of Bulgaria and Turkey.”69 The matter was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations, yet little happened for three weeks. Republican Senator Frank Brandegee forced the issue on April 23 with the introduction of another resolution asking the Foreign Relations Committee to take up Resolution 145, which they then did.70 In response to these deliberations, the board of trustees of the Constantinople College (which was led by Charles Crane) sent a letter to Senator James Wadsworth of New York with the same arguments that had been put forth by Dodge and the missionaries. Wilson received the letter as well.71 The ACASR sent a similar letter to Senator Gilbert Hitchcock of Nebraska, who was about to become the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee after Senator Stone died on April 12.72 Wilson took the somewhat unusual step of meeting with Senator King in private on April 24 and reiterated that he was not in favor of the resolution for war. King promised not to press the issue but received a pledge from Wilson to “present to the Senate his reasons for opposing present action,” which Wilson then had Lansing prepare to do.73 In the midst of this flare up, Roosevelt resumed his public push for war with Bulgaria and the Ottomans in a May 1 speech. “The Turks have massacred Armenians,” he argued, “but we have not declared war upon Turkey.” He also pointed out that Zionist organizations had been recruiting in the United States for “the fight for the recovery of Palestine, something that should not be permitted against a country with which we are at peace.” The situation, Roosevelt concluded, “is a criminal absurdity.”74 In order to fulfill his promise to fully explain his administration’s position, Wilson sent Lansing to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 2. In front of the committee, Lansing repeated many of the reasons that he had given in December (“the confiscation or destruction of the large missionary interests in the Empire”; “the jeopardizing of the lives of many Americans”; the end of the “powerful restraining influence exerted by American missionaries and relief-workers upon the Turks in their brutal conduct”). With this in mind, he argued that “the Ottomans could wage war on us and that we could not wage war on them” because the American troops were being sent to the western front. He concluded that the United States would “gain nothing and lose much by going to war with Turkey.” In general, he positioned the “practical commonsense” of the Wilson administration against the more emotive thinking of the senators arguing for a declaration of war. He maintained that the United States could use its “influence” in the peace negotiations to “drive the Turk out of Europe and to take from him the territory occupied by subject races.” The plan was to remove the Turks from any position of power or importance so that “he would never be able to disturb the peace of the world or have a voice in world affairs.” After this testimony, Lansing boasted that the committee members who were “practically unanimous for declarations of war” at the beginning of his appearance now “seemed convinced that our policy is a wise one.”75 Although Wilson and Lansing remained steadfast in their opposition to a declaration of war on Bulgaria and the Ottomans, Lansing agreed (at the behest of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee) to learn the Allies’ opinions on this issue. Even before he did this, the Serbian Minister to the United States contacted Lansing on April 23. After hearing of the renewed push for war in the Senate, the minister hoped to convince Lansing that declaring war on Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire was a prudent move.76 On May 3, Lansing asked the ambassadors to Britain, France, and Italy to sound out their governments on the question of “whether or not such a declaration would be of material aid to the supreme purpose of defeating the Central Powers.”77 The use of the term “material” here is likely to have been deliberate because Wilson increasingly did not want to commit to any action that would merely result in “political” advantage. Ambassador to Italy Thomas Nelson Page replied quickly that Italian Foreign Minister Sonnino told him that such a declaration would “serve a useful purpose and have an important effect.” He further argued that it would “shake up Turkey and Bulgaria” and would “prove a material aid against Austria and also Germany.”78 Ambassador William Graves Sharp replied in the affirmative from France, with Georges Clemenceau and his ministers stating that “such action would give great satisfaction to the French Government.”79 The British government replied later in May that the United States should declare war with the Ottomans and Bulgaria, and also warned that if the United States did not declare war, then the “various phases of the eastern question which must come up at the peace conference” would be “settled without her [America’s] active intervention.” Thus for the British, the U.S. declaration of war would allow the United States to have a greater say in post-war negotiations, baiting Wilson’s growing hopes to remake the world in the aftermath of the war.80 Also in May, Lansing asked General Tasker Bliss to pose this same question to the more tactically minded Supreme War Council, who responded that the United States should declare war on the Ottomans immediately and Bulgaria only after it was found to be “impossible by diplomatic negotiation to detach” Bulgaria from “her alliance with the Central Powers.” The Supreme Council did not, however, want the United States to divert any of its troops from the western front, though the “potential” for the United States to do this would be welcome and may indeed encourage the “peoples of the Middle East” to “throw in their lot decidedly with the Entente Powers.” The council further believed that an American declaration of war would have a great “moral effect” on the “eastern theater,” though they wanted the material effect to remain a mere potential that could be activated if needed.81 Perhaps fearing that Wilson would be swayed by the opinions of the Allies and the Supreme War Council, Lansing wrote an addendum to these responses. In this, he argued that the Allies had failed “to recognize the humanitarian side of the question,” that “thousands of Armenians and Syrians are being kept alive today” by the “supplies” and “funds sent to our missionaries.” Lansing noted that he could see the advantages and disadvantages to any of the possible decisions. He stated, however, that the inverse of the Supreme War Council’s initial suggestion, war with Bulgaria and not the Ottomans, was not feasible because “war against a Christian nation without war against a Moslem nation would cause general criticism in this country,” again illustrating the engrained prejudice against Islam in the United States.82 Lansing pressed Wilson for an emphatic policy statement towards the end of May, claiming the administration needed to give “careful consideration” to the “united opinion of the Allied Governments.”83 By this point President Wilson’s opinion appeared to be hardening against declaring war. On May 19, Wilson and Colonel House discussed war declarations on Bulgaria and the Ottomans during, perhaps tellingly, a drive to Cleveland Dodge’s home in New York City. House reported that Wilson was “more inclined to declare war against Bulgaria than Turkey, giving as his reason that the Turks would massacre the entire Christian population.”84 In late June, he struck a pragmatic tone in a letter to former American Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau: “There is nothing practical that we can do for the time being in the matter of the Armenian massacres.”85 In late August, Wilson decreed that he was “definitely opposed” to declaring war on the Ottomans and gave perhaps the most comprehensive explanation of his position to Sir William Wiseman, the British government’s main liaison to Wilson. Wiseman recounted in a letter to the British Foreign Office that Wilson had reiterated his opposition to declaring war against the Ottomans and Bulgaria, and asserted that he was “reluctant to declare a war which would be unaccompanied by any definite military action on the part of the U. S., considering such a situation empty and undignified.” On the Ottoman Empire, more specifically, he stated that although he had “no sympathy or liking for the Turks,” he believed that the “presence of American missionaries and others has up to now prevented massacres and atrocities which would otherwise have occurred.” Wilson argued that a “terrible outburst of savagery would follow on a declaration of war,” and Wiseman added in the letter that he had been convinced of this by “advisers whom he trusts (mostly connected with various educational and religious organizations in Turkey).”86 After being informed of this, Sir Eric Drummond, British Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour’s secretary, replied to Wiseman that Wilson’s “theory” that keeping Americans in the Ottoman lands in the hopes of preventing further massacres was “quite untenable” because the massacres already committed in the presence of Americans had “probably surpassed for savagery anything in the war.” He also argued that the real reason that these missionaries did not want Wilson to declare war was that it would “imperil security of their important properties and institutions.” The British abandoned their effort to get the United States to declare war on the Ottomans in early September but remained apprehensive about Wilson’s ability to upend their post-war plans for the region.87 As the Allied victory in the war seemed increasingly assured in the fall of 1918, the Ottomans contacted the United States in hopes of using American help to leave the war on favorable terms. Wilson decided not to respond to their enquiries.88 The British, maneuvering to have the greatest advantage in post-war peace talks, conspired to keep the United States out of negotiations pertaining to the Ottoman Empire. In a cabinet meeting on October 3, Balfour suggested that the United States attempt to prod the Turks into negotiations by threatening them with a declaration of war if they did not sign a separate peace. Cabinet members rejected this suggestion because they believed that Wilson would not agree and that, should this work, Wilson would then have the ability to “claim a larger voice for America in the settlement of Middle East problems than its military contributions could entitle it to.”89 Lloyd George, for his part, was “very strongly in favour of eliminating President Wilson” from the negotiations “which concern Bulgaria and Turkey, with whom America is not at war.” According to Cabinet Secretary Maurice Hankey, Lloyd George increasingly preferred policies that kept “President Wilson’s fingers out of the Turkey pie.”90 The Ottomans and British signed the Armistice of Mudros on October 30, 1918 and the war ended with the United States and the Ottomans still at peace. Cleveland Dodge, for his part, was pleased with the manner in which the war wound down, stating to Wilson in a September 28 letter that “Bulgaria and Turkey seem to be nearly at their end and I am correspondingly happy and grateful to you for your wise and patient course of action—or nonaction.”91 In Dodge’s opinion, such a course of action kept his children safe, protected his legacy projects in the region, and saved the lives of numerous Ottoman Christians. Conversely, Henry Cabot Lodge lamented in a letter to Theodore Roosevelt just before the war’s end that “the worst of it all” was that “through our refusal to make war on Turkey and Bulgaria,” the United States would now have to “sit outside” when the “vital questions” of the disposition of the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria were discussed at the post-war peace conference.92 Conclusion Woodrow Wilson arrived at the Paris Peace Conference ostensibly in a position to influence the final settlement. As John Maynard Keynes noted in 1920, Wilson had moral authority garnered by peoples’ reactions to his lofty rhetoric and allies who were at his financial mercy.93 Clemenceau and Lloyd George knew that Wilson firmly desired a League of Nations and allowed it to be the first order of business. This, however, was a strategic choice, with Lloyd George stating that if they conceded the League to Wilson, they would likely be able to extract concessions from him on “the things to which we attach importance.”94 As the conference continued, Wilson’s moral authority faded and Henry Cabot Lodge’s concerns about remaining at peace with the Ottomans were realized. Woodrow Wilson had little leverage when it came to negotiating for the future disposition of the Ottoman lands in part because the United States had not declared war on the Ottoman Empire. When the reapportioning of the Ottoman lands finally became the main object of debate on March 20, it was clear that the negotiations were primarily between Britain and France, with Wilson acknowledging that they had included him in these discussions as a “courtesy” and not as a “right.” He noted that he was “not indifferent” to the secret arrangements made by the British and French during the war but also acknowledged that “it was not permissible for him to express an opinion thereon.” His lack of leverage was particularly apparent in the phrasings he used at the meeting, with the secretary recording that he prefaced his comments with deferential wordings such as “it might not be his business, but if the question was made his business” and if “you asked his opinion.” Wilson did try to nudge his way into the increasingly acrimonious negotiations as a “friend to both parties” and as “one of the representatives assembled to establish the peace of the world.” Wilson feared that world peace might be endangered by these particular negotiations because the people of the region were not being consulted and because he believed that a “scrap” was developing between Britain and France over the division of Ottoman lands. When it became clear that the British and French were prepared to largely brush aside his concerns, Wilson advocated for the sending of an “Inter-Allied” fact-finding commission to the region, with the commission’s recommendations guiding the final settlement.95 After the British, French, and Italians refused to participate in this commission (having previously agreed to do so), Wilson intransigently sent the Americans in late May 1919. By the end of June, however, he started to realize that the King-Crane Commission’s (as it is now called, in reference to its two American commissioners) conclusions would likely have little impact on the reapportioning of the Ottoman lands and that his last-ditch attempt to influence negotiations had failed. The French and the British eventually ignored the decidedly anti-imperial conclusions of the commission and the division of the region moved forward with little American input.96 Many people in the Ottoman lands, however, saw the King-Crane Commission as the culmination of Wilson’s wartime rhetoric and expected its recommendations to be heeded in some way. When the policy makers that the commission was meant to influence ignored it, people in the region became disillusioned with the post-war peace negotiations, suffering from what Wilson acknowledged as the “tragedy of disappointment” with himself and the leaders of the victorious powers. Imperial and anti-imperial violence followed in the ensuing years.97 As Wilson returned to the United States and began his ill-fated fight for Senate approval of the Treaty of Versailles, the Allied powers looked on as he lost his push for American membership in the League of Nations, which represented perhaps his last piece of major leverage on Ottoman matters.98 The Allies invited the United States to the subsequent negotiations on the final Ottoman settlements in London/San Remo (1920) and Lausanne (1922–1923), but they were not allowed to have any significant input into the content of the settlements.99 The Americans diplomats at these conferences acknowledged this lack of standing by prefacing official notes about these negotiations with statements, such as “While it is true that the United States was not at war with Turkey … it is the duty of this Government to make known its views.”100 The United States eventually concluded a bilateral treaty with the new country of Turkey in Lausanne after the agreement with the Allies had been signed, though the treaty led to a protracted squabble in the U.S. Senate featuring resurgent pro-Armenian sympathies and anti-Turkish venom. The Senate eventually rejected it in January 1927. The United States and Turkey restored diplomatic relations shortly after this through a simple exchange of notes and these relations evolved along lines more advantageous to the Turks than the lopsided, Capitulation-regulated ties of the pre-war years. Between the wars, the United States remained largely neutral in matters of import to the Turks and, according to historian Roger Trask, the relationship between the two countries developed into a “rapprochement.” It is possible that one longer-term consequence of remaining at peace during World War I contributed to, or at least did not impede, the development of these harmonious relations between the two countries.101 So why did Wilson resist going to war with the Ottoman Empire? As this article has argued, there were several reasons. The first was perhaps the most simple: Wilson had been reluctant to enter into such a vicious war and was averse to expanding American involvement further than he thought was necessary. Although Wilson was no pacifist and did not doubt the nobility of the American cause, he was inclined to limit American involvement in the war as much as was possible. The second was a reflection of Wilson’s pragmatic approach to the waging of the war. The United States had adhered to a “western front only” policy for a number of reasons: it had few trained troops, the situation on the western front was believed to be critical, and transporting troops to locations beyond the western front was difficult. Secretary of War Newton Baker later implied that without these logistical difficulties, American war participation may have been more widespread, stating “surely if Armenia were as near us as Cuba, we would have fought Turkey as we did Spain.”102 Although he may have exaggerated, there is no doubt that the likelihood of going to war with the Ottomans would have been higher if it was possible for the United States to have had a “material impact” on this front, as Wilson suggested towards the war’s end. For Wilson, merely affecting the morale of either the Allies or the Central Powers was not enough to justify going to war, unless, as in the case of Italy, the situation appeared desperate. The seemingly inevitable Ottoman collapse in the face of the British advance led Wilson to believe that there was no such desperation on this front. Beyond this, missionaries and their backers deeply influenced Wilson’s resistance to declaring war on the Ottomans. Wilson accepted the missionaries’ contention that the Turks would slaughter the region’s remaining Christians if the Americans doing relief work were forced to leave. Although it is uncertain that an increasingly exhausted Ottoman government would have perpetrated further massacres, Wilson’s conviction that the Turks were indeed “terrible” paired with (arguably dubious) missionary reports stating that massacres were inevitable without their presence, led him to believe that further massacres were likely. Wilson was also convinced that the Ottomans would confiscate American missionary investments and possibly do worse to the missionaries themselves if he declared war. Missionaries had invested their lives in many projects in the Ottoman Empire. These projects could not have existed without substantial financial outlays by wealthy businessmen who often placed these missions at similar levels of importance as their business dealings, and these donors often had influence among government officials. These alliances, between businessmen and missionaries, often led to powerful and influential lobbying nexuses that could be, given the right alignment of issue and interest, decisive in government decisions. The decision not to go to war with the Ottomans took place during a moment when a globalizing American presence (in this case, missionaries and relief workers with benefactors who had strong connections to the president) had significant repercussions on American policy, though it interestingly led the country away from war and not towards it. More generally, Wilson seemed to believe that intervention in the Ottoman theater would bring more harm than good to the United States. Despite the fact that the Ottomans had been guilty of perhaps the war’s greatest sins and that Wilson wanted their empire dissolved, Ottoman crimes were not directed against the United States, as Germany’s had been. This supports John Milton Cooper’s claim that Wilson’s conduct during the war was not naively idealistic, as many of his opponents and subsequent historians have claimed. Instead, the way Wilson handled the war reflected his complex “synthesis” of liberal international idealism with a more realist and pragmatic conception of national interest.103 The pragmatic element of Wilson’s decision not to declare war on the Ottomans was in line with many of his wartime policies, which were often necessarily expedient and sometimes turned out to be detrimental to his long-term priorities. It is an example of what Lloyd Ambrosius has characterized as Wilson’s failure to “coordinate political aims with military strategy except in general terms.”104 While it may be true, as John Milton Cooper has contended, that “Wilson could not tell how much leverage he would have over the peace settlement until he went to Europe,” giving more thought to how he could have maximized this influence in Paris may have been helpful.105 Wilson certainly would (or at least should) have been aware that remaining at peace with the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria would have consequences at the post-war peace conference. Indeed, just before he advocated for a declaration of war with Germany, Wilson stated that participating in the war was necessary so that the United States would “have a seat at the Peace Table” and not be forced to make suggestions through “a crack in the door.”106 On Ottoman matters, a crack in the door is all the Allies afforded Wilson. Although it is impossible to know what may have happened had Wilson’s conduct of the war been less “immediate and practical,” different choices on these matters, to borrow the words of H. W. Brands, “would have made for a different peace conference and a different settlement.”107 I would like to thank John Milton Cooper, Elizabeth Thompson, Brian Orend, Leonard Smith, Karine Walther, Oliver Bast, Mustafa Aksakal, Roberto Mazza, Christine Lindner, and my colleagues at Tennessee State University for feedback on this article. Footnotes 1 “War Declaration Ready,” The New York Times, December 5, 1917, 1. Americans in the era referred to the Ottoman Empire as Turkey as will be seen in the quotes. I use the terms the Ottoman Empire and the Ottomans. 2 Congressional Record, 65th Congress, 2nd Sess., vol. LVI, part 1, Dec. 6/7, 1917, 50–53, 63–68. Quote on 65. 3 Scholarship on the decision to declare war on Germany is abundant and well-known. For Bulgaria and Austria-Hungary, see Petko M. Petkov’s The United States and Bulgaria in World War I (Boulder, CO, 1991); Vaclav Horcicka, “Austria-Hungary, Unrestricted Submarine Warfare, and the United States’ Entrance in the First World War,” The International History Review 34, no. 2 (June 2012): 245–69; Victor S. Mamatey, The United States and East Central Europe 1914–1918: A Study in Wilsonian Diplomacy and Propaganda (Princeton, NJ, 1957). 4 Joseph Grabill, Protestant Diplomacy in the Near East: Missionary Influence on American Policy, 1810–1927 (Minneapolis, MN, 1971); Laurence Evans, United States Policy and the Partition of Turkey, 1914–1924 (Baltimore, MD, 1965); Simon Payaslian, United States Policy Toward the Armenian Question and the Armenian Genocide (New York, 2005); Nevzat Uyanik, Dismantling the Ottoman Empire: Britain, America, and the Armenian Question (London, 2016). 5 Karine Walther, Sacred Interests: The United States and the Islamic World, 1821–1921 (Chapel Hill, NC, 2015). 6 John A. DeNovo, American Interests and Policies in the Middle East 1900–1939 (Minneapolis, MN, 1963), 38–45. 7 Akram Fouad Khater, Inventing Home: Emigration, Gender, and the Middle Class in Lebanon, 1870–1920 (Berkeley, CA, 2001), 108–45. 8 Andrew Patrick, “‘These People Know about Us’: A Reconsideration of Attitudes towards the United States in World War I-Era Greater Syria,” Middle Eastern Studies 50, no. 3 (2014): 397–411. 9 Selim Deringil, The Well-Protected Domains: Ideology and the Legitimation of Power in the Ottoman Empire, 1876–1909 (London, UK, 2011), 125–32. Quote on 125. 10 Anne Marie Wilson, “In the name of God, Civilization, and Humanity: The United States and the Armenian Massacres of the 1890s,” Le Movement Social 2 (2009): 27–44. 11 Walther, Sacred Interests; Justin McCarthy, The Turk in America: The Creation of an Enduring Prejudice (Salt Lake City, UT, 2010). 12 Quoted in Edward House, The Intimate Papers of Edward House, ed. Charles Seymour (Ann Arbor, MI, 2005), 96. 13 John Milton Cooper, Woodrow Wilson: A Biography (New York, 2011), 172. 14 A. Scott Berg, Wilson (New York, 2013), 280. For more on Crane, see Normal E. Saul, The Life and Times of Charles R. Crane, 1858–1939: American Businessman, Philanthropist, and a Founder of Russian Studies in America (Lanham, MA, 2013). 15 Grabill, Protestant Diplomacy, 80–89. 16 Mustafa Aksakal, The Ottoman Road to War in 1914: The Ottoman Empire and the First World War (Cambridge, UK, 2008). 17 Address of the President, December 8, 1914, Foreign Relations of the United States (hereafter FRUS), XVIII 1914, Supplement, The World War, ed. Joseph V. Fuller (Washington, DC, 1928), xi–xx. 18 Cooper, Woodrow Wilson, 381–85. 19 Lansing to Morgenthau, November 20, 1914, FRUS, 1914, Supplement, The World War, file 763.72/1255a, 771. 20 Stephen Penrose, That They May Have Life: The Story of the American University of Beirut, 1866–1941 (New York, 1941), 161 and various correspondences in the American University of Beirut Archives and Special Collections, Howard Bliss Collection, 1860–1920, box 18. 21 Peter Balakian, The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response (New York, 2003), 281–82. 22 James L. Barton, The Story of Near East Relief (1915–1930): An Interpretation (New York, 1930), xi, 4–19. 23 William Jennings Bryan to German Ambassador Gerard, December 22, 1914, FRUS, 1914, Supplement 1, The World War, file 763.72115/308, 789; Morgenthau to State, November 7, 1914, Manuscript Division, Henry Morgenthau Papers (MS Morgenthau), microfilm reel 7, Library of Congress, Washington, DC (LOC). 24 An Address in Buffalo to the American Federation of Labor, November 12, 1917, in Papers of Woodrow Wilson (hereafter PWW) ed. Arthur Link, 69 vols (Princeton, NJ, 1986), 45:13. 25 Aksakal, The Ottoman Road to War; Petkov, The United States and Bulgaria; and Horcicka, “Austria-Hungary.” 26 Erez Manela, The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anti-Colonial Nationalism (New York, 2007), 48–53; James R. Mock and Cedric Larson, Words that Won the War: The Story of the Committee of Public Information, 1917–1919 (New York, 1968), 235–47. 27 Morgenthau to Wilson, Jan. 11, 1915, MS Morgenthau, reel 7. 28 Manela, Wilsonian Moment; James Gelvin, Divided Loyalties: Nationalism and Mass Politics in Syria at the Close of Empire (Berkeley, CA, 1998); Andrew Patrick, America’s Forgotten Middle East Initiative: The King-Crane Commission of 1919 (London, UK, 2015). 29 Justus D. Doenecke, Nothing Less than War: A New History of America’s Entry into World War I (Lexington, KY, 2011), 278–99. 30 Tumulty to Wilson, March 24, 1917, PWW, vol. 41, 464. 31 All quotes from “Wilson’s War Message to Congress,” April 2, 1917, FRUS, 1917, Supplement 1, The World War, 195–203. 32 Elkus to the State Department, February 11, 1917, FRUS, 1917, Supplement 1, The World War, file 763.72/3333, 134. 33 Horcicka, “Austria-Hungary”; Grabill, Protestant Diplomacy, 91; Abram Elkus, The Memoirs of Abram Elkus: Lawyer, Ambassador, Statesman (London, UK, 2004), 89–90. 34 Petkov, The United States and Bulgaria, 35–40. 35 Penrose, That They May Have, 160–63. 36 Petkov, The United States and Bulgaria, 35–46. 37 Dodge to Wilson, February 5, 1917, PWW, vol. 41, 128. 38 Wilson to Dodge, February 6, 1917, PWW, vol. 41, 133. 39 Robert Daniel, “The Friendship of Woodrow Wilson and Cleveland H. Dodge,” Mid-America: An Historical Review XLII (1961): 182–96; Penrose, That They May Have, 162–63; Grabill, Protestant Diplomacy, 89–91; Petkov, The United States and Bulgaria, 35–46. 40 John Milton Cooper, “A Friend in Power? Woodrow Wilson and Armenia,” in America and the Armenian Genocide of 1915, ed. Jay Winter (Cambridge, UK, 2003), 103–12. Quote on 110. 41 Frank Brecher, “Revisiting Ambassador Morgenthau’s Turkish Peace Mission of 1917,” Middle Eastern Studies 24, no. 3 (July 1988): 357–63; William Yale, “Henry Morgenthau’s Special Mission of 1917,” World Politics 1, no. 3 (April 1949): 308–20. 42 Wilson, as quoted in a letter from Baron Moncheur [Belgian Ambassador] to Baron Charles de Broqueville [Belgian Foreign Minister], August 14, 1917, PWW, vol. 43, 469. 43 Wilson to Lansing, November 28, 1917, PWW, vol. 45, 148. On the treaties, see Cooper, Woodrow Wilson, 396; David Fromkin, A Peace to End all Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East (New York, 1989), 257. 44 Cooper, Woodrow Wilson, 419. 45 Robert Daniel, American Philanthropy in the Near East 1820–1960 (Athens, OH, 1970), 155. 46 Theodore Roosevelt, “A Difficult Question to Answer,” October 18, 1917, in Publications of the Roosevelt Memorial Association: II Roosevelt in the Daily Star (Boston, MA, 1921), 23–25. 47 Roosevelt, “Nine-Tenths of Wisdom is being Wise in Time,” November 1, 1917, in ibid., 42–43. 48 Victor S. Mamatey, The United States and East Central Europe (Princeton, NJ, 1957), 156. 49 Edward A. Grosvenor to the editor, The Springfield Daily Republican, December 5, 1917, Correspondence “1917, November 20–December 15,” box 32, Robert Lansing Papers (MS Lansing), Manuscript Division, LOC. 50 Gerald H. Davis, “The ‘Ancona’ Affair: A Case of Preventative Diplomacy,” Journal of Modern History 38, no. 3 (September 1966), 267–77; Arthur Link, Wilson: Confusions and Crises 1915–1916 (Princeton, NJ, 1964), 62–67. 51 The Ambassador in Italy (Page) to the Secretary of State, November 1, 1917, FRUS, 1917, Supplement 2, Part 1, The World War, file 763.72/7529, 286. 52 Baker to Wilson, October 11, 1917, PWW, vol. 44, 361–62; Daniel R. Beaver, Newton D. Baker and the American War Effort 1917–1919 (Lincoln, NE, 1966), 47–48. 53 Robert Lansing, War Memoirs of Robert Lansing, Secretary of State (New York, 1935), 257–58. 54 Undated draft of Annual Message to Congress (December 1918 speech), reel 479 “Messages to Congress, 1913 Apr 7–1918 May 7,” Woodrow Wilson Papers Microfilm Reels, (hereafter Wilson Microfilm), LOC. 55 Dodge to Wilson, December 2, 1917, PWW, vol. 45, 185–86. In conjunction with Dodge’s personal push, former Ambassador Elkus went to the State Department to make similar points. See Grabill, Protestant Diplomacy, 92. 56 Annual Message to Congress, December 4, 1917, PWW, vol. 45, 194–202. 57 Diary of Josephus Daniels (Secretary of the Navy), December 4, 1917, PWW, vol. 45, 207. 58 Lansing to Stone, December 6, 1917, FRUS, 1917, Supplement 2, Part 1, The World War, file 763.72/8475b, 448–50. 59 “War Declaration Ready,” The New York Times, December 5, 1917, 2. 60 Congressional Record, 65th Congress, 2nd Sess., vol. LVI, Part 1, December 7, 1917, 64–65. 61 Congressional Record, 65th Congress, 2nd Sess., vol. LVI, Part 1, December 6, 1917, 50–52. 62 Wilson to Dodge, December 5, 1917, PWW, vol. 45, 215. 63 “War with Turkey Called a Mistake,” New York Times, December 16, 1917, 4. 64 Barton to Lodge, December 10, 1917, reel 8, MS Morgenthau, LOC. 65 Roosevelt, “A Difficult Question to Answer,” October 18, 1917; “Nine-Tenths of Wisdom is being Wise in Time,” November 1, 1917, in Publications of the Roosevelt Memorial Association, 23–25, 42–43; Senator William Stone, as quoted in “President Signs Declaration of War on Austria-Hungary,” New York Times, December 8, 1917, 4. 66 Barton to Lodge, December 10, 1917, reel 8, MS Morgenthau, LOC 67 Dodge to Wilson, December 2, 1917, PWW, vol. 45, 185–86. 68 Thomas J. Knock, To End All Wars: Woodrow Wilson and the Quest for a New World Order (Princeton, NJ, 1992), 154–57. 69 Senate Resolution 145, 65th Congress, Papers relating to specific bills and resolutions, box 55, RG 46 Records of the U.S. Senate, United States National Archives, College Park, Maryland (hereafter USNA). 70 “U.S. Dawdling; Force Needed Now, Brandegee Asserts,” New York Tribune, April 24, 1918, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, accessed August 21, 2017, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. 71 Samuel Dutton to Wadsworth, April 24, 1918, “Case File 128, Turkey,” Wilson Microfilm 220. 72 Charles Vickrey, Secretary of the ACASR to Hitchcock, April 24, 1918, 65th Congress, Committee Papers, Committee on Foreign Relations, box 56, RG 46 Records of the U.S. Senate, USNA. 73 “Wilson Ends Move to Force War on Germany’s Allies,” The Evening World, April 24, 1918, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, accessed August 21, 2017, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. 74 “Roosevelt Urges War on Foe’s Allies,” The New York Times, May 2, 1919, 3. Roosevelt was likely referring to Article 4 of “Hague V” from the 1907 Hague Convention. 75 “Conference with Committee on Foreign Relations on Declaring War on Turkey and Bulgaria,” May 2, 1919, reel 1, MS Lansing, LOC. 76 Lioubmir Michailovich to Lansing, April 23, 1918, PWW, vol. 47, 416–17. 77 Lansing to Walter Hines Page, May 3, 1918, FRUS, 1918, Supplement 1, The World War, file 763.72/9799a, 222. 78 Thomas Nelson Page to Lansing, May 4, 1918, FRUS, 1918, Supplement 1, The World War, file 763.72/9839, 225–26. 79 William Graves Sharp to Lansing, May 8, 1918, FRUS, 1918, Supplement 1, The World War, file 763.72/9904, 229. 80 Official British reply to Lansing’s query, included in Walter Hines Page to Lansing, May 17, 1918, FRUS, 1918, Supplement 1, The World War, file 763.72/10049, 232–33. 81 Bliss (via Sharp) to Lansing, May 7, 1918, FRUS, 1918, Supplement 1, The World War, file 762.72/9893, 227–28. 82 Lansing to Wilson, May 8, 1918, FRUS, The Lansing Papers, 1914–1920, vol. II, file 763.72/9893, 124–6. 83 Lansing to Wilson, May 20, 1918, PWW, vol. 48, 80–81. 84 “From the Diary of Colonel House,” May 19, 1918, PWW, vol. 48, 70. 85 Wilson to Morgenthau, June 14, 1918, reel 8, MS Morgenthau, LOC. 86 Wiseman to Drummond, August 27, 1918, PWW, vol. 49, 365. 87 Drummond to Wiseman, September 12, 1918, PWW, vol. 49, 537; James Renton, “Changing Languages of Empire and the Orient: Britain and the Invention of the Middle East, 1917–1918,” The Historical Journal 50, no. 3 (2007): 645–67. 88 Wilson to Lansing, September 2, 1918, FRUS, The Lansing Papers, 1914–1920, vol. II, file 763.72/13378 ½, 143–44. 89 Gwynne Dyer, “The Turkish Armistice of 1918: 2: A Lost Opportunity: The Armistice Negotiations at Mudros,” International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 8, no. 3 (October 1972): 313–48. Quote on 316. 90 Stephen Roskill, Hankey: Man of Secrets Volume I 1877–1918 (London, 1970), 606. 91 Dodge to Wilson, September 28, 1918, PWW, vol. 51, 151–52. 92 Lodge to Roosevelt, October 2, 1918, reel 7, Lodge-Roosevelt Correspondence, Massachusetts Historical Society. 93 John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace (New York, 1920), 19. 94 Quoted in Knock, To End all Wars, 201. 95 Council of Four, March 20, 1919, in FRUS, Paris Peace Conference, 1919, vol. V, file. 180.03401/101, 8–10. 96 Patrick, America’s Forgotten Middle East Initiative. 97 Quote in George Creel, The War, the World, and Wilson (New York, 1920), 163; Gelvin, Divided Loyalties; Elizabeth Thompson, Colonial Citizens: Republican Rights, Paternal Privilege, and Gender in French Syria and Lebanon (New York, 2000). 98 John Milton Cooper, Breaking the Heart of the World: Woodrow Wilson and the Fight for the League of Nations (Cambridge, MA, 2001). 99 Paul C. Helmreich, From Paris to Sevres: The Partition of the Ottoman Empire at the Peace Conference of 1919–1920 (Columbus, OH, 1974), 186, 284–85, 306–7. 100 Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby to French Ambassador Jean Jules Jusserand, March 24, 1920, FRUS, 1920, vol. III, file 763.72119/9608, 750. 101 Roger Trask, The United States Response to Turkish Nationalism and Reform, 1914–1939 (Minneapolis, MN, 1971). 102 Newton Baker, Why We Went to War (New York, 1936), 61. 103 John Milton Cooper, The Warrior and the Priest: Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt (Cambridge, MA, 1983), 270–71, 303–23. 104 Lloyd Ambrosius, Wilsonian Statecraft: Theory and Practice of Liberal Internationalism during World War I (Lanham, MD, 1991), xv. 105 Cooper, Breaking the Heart of the World, 431. 106 As quoted in Arthur Link, Wilson: Campaigns for Progressivism and Peace, 1916–1917 (Princeton, NJ, 1965), 414. 107 H. W. Brands, “Woodrow Wilson and the Irony of Fate,” Diplomatic History 28, no. 4 (September 2004): 503–12. Quote on 512. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Diplomatic History Oxford University Press

Woodrow Wilson, the Ottomans, and World War I*

Diplomatic History , Volume Advance Article – Apr 16, 2018

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Abstract

On December 6 and 7 of 1917, the U.S. Congress was debating whether to declare war on Austria-Hungary, as it had on Germany eight months earlier. President Woodrow Wilson had advocated for war in his Annual Message to Congress on December 4 and, while Congress seemed overwhelmingly inclined to accept his call for war, a New York Times reporter noted that “the talk at the Capitol” after Wilson’s speech “bore more upon the Executive’s advice against a pronouncement [of war] against Turkey and Bulgaria than upon the demand for hostilities against Austria-Hungary.”1 Deliberations in the Senate and House of Representatives continued in the subsequent days, with several congressmen expressing a particularly keen desire to declare war on the Ottomans in speeches laced with racial and religious animosity. In the end, both chambers deferred to Wilson and decided, in the words of Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, not to “embarrass the Executive” and “act with absolute unity” in declaring that a state of war existed with Austria-Hungary but not with the Ottoman Empire or Bulgaria.2 Throughout the nineteen months that the United States was officially part of this conflict, Wilson successfully opposed numerous calls for war with the Ottomans from lawmakers and other public figures. The two countries remained at peace when the war ended. This article seeks to answer a rather broad and heretofore under-explored question: Why did Wilson decide not to advocate for war with the Ottomans? Although other authors have discussed this decision, no one has written a focused, article-length assessment of Wilson’s choice to remain at peace with the Ottomans, which stands in contrast to the long history of debate over the decision to go to war with Germany, along with articles and book chapters on war decisions regarding Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria.3 This article analyzes a broader range of factors than previous scholarship and argues that knowing more about Wilson’s decision-making on this matter provides further insight into his general conduct of the First World War.4 Wilson’s decision not to advocate for war with the Ottomans is particularly curious because several factors seemed to favor a call for war. As will be discussed below, most Americans during this era, including Wilson, were culturally conditioned to despise the “terrible Turk” and American antipathy towards the Ottoman Empire had been a constant refrain in U.S. foreign policy circles throughout the preceding century.5 Events of the war (primarily the Armenian massacres) only served to reinforce this antipathy. Additionally, Wilson struggled to defend his claim that a state of war existed with only one (and then two) of the four Central Powers. He knew that advocating for a limited entry into the war was not popular and gave his political rivals (namely Lodge and Theodore Roosevelt) material to publically attack his handling of the war effort. In spite of these cultural and political dynamics, Wilson decided to avoid war with the Ottomans for several interrelated reasons. The simplest of these is that Wilson was loath to enter this particularly destructive war at all and, once the United States had entered, the central rationale for war with Germany did not apply to the Ottomans, namely that the Germans had harmed the United States whereas the Ottomans had not. The next reason was logistical and showed the limits of American military power in this era. The United States was generally unprepared for such a major conflict, making it a difficult task for the United States to get troops to Europe, let alone the Eastern Mediterranean. Wilson was, therefore, disinclined to enter an area of the conflict where the United States could have no “material” effect. Furthermore, a political group of missionaries and their prominent donors who sought to protect their evangelical and humanitarian investments in Ottoman lands strongly influenced Wilson by arguing that the American missionaries and medical personnel in the region were stopping the “terrible Turk” from entirely ridding these lands of Christians. With these reasons in mind, Wilson was convinced that the potential costs of declaring war on the Ottomans would not match the potential good that could come from such an intervention. In general, this article reconsiders Wilson’s strategic and political decision-making during the war. The fact that Wilson did not ask Congress to declare war on the Ottomans highlights the pragmatic nature of his wartime decisions, which stands in contrast to the many idealistic pronouncements he made throughout the war years. As will be discussed in the conclusion, the tentative nature of the American entry into the war and Wilson’s pragmatic prosecution of the war effort (both exemplified by the Ottoman case) played a role in weakening his position at the Paris Peace Conference. The United States and the Ottoman Empire before 1917 Before World War I, the Ottoman Empire and the United States played minor roles in their respective foreign policies. American business interests were relatively small in the late Ottoman Empire, the largest of which included the American Tobacco Company, the MacAndrews and Forbes Company (harvesting licorice root), the Standard Oil Company of New York (selling kerosene and prospecting for oil), and the Singer Manufacturing Company (selling sewing machines). The United States was a major export market for the Ottomans, however, with twenty-three percent of the empire’s exports going to the United States.6 The reputation of the United States in the Ottoman Empire was somewhat mixed. Many in the empire had come to admire the United States mainly because of positive reports coming from those who had immigrated there.7 The medical and educational work that American missionaries were conducting in the Ottoman lands also bolstered this reputation.8 Ottoman authorities, however, were generally not as happy with these missionaries, claiming that they were “establishing nests of sedition and training revolutionaries.”9 Broadly speaking, however, the Ottomans would have viewed the United States as a growing but relatively benign global power with few designs on their territories, particularly relative to Russia, Britain, and France. Americans, on the other hand, generally would not have viewed the “Turk” as positively. The American public saw the “Turk” (a term often signifying any Muslim Ottoman) as indolent, violent, and unintelligent. Many people in the United States also regarded the Ottoman government as an enemy of Christianity and therefore a potential enemy of the United States. Evidence for this came in the form of the widely publicized massacres of Armenians in the empire in 1894–1896 and again in 1909.10 As war loomed, the United States and the Ottoman Empire had few tangible ties that might draw them into war with one another. The United States was, however, culturally pre-disposed to side against what many Americans saw as one of the world’s great villains.11 Wilson, for his part, rarely mentioned the Ottomans during his pre-war presidency. On one occasion, however, he voiced the opinion that the Ottoman Empire’s future should and would be short, stating to his adviser “Colonel” Edward House on December 18, 1912 that “there ain’t going to be no Turkey” in the near future.12 American missionaries in the Ottoman lands and their supporters had an influence on the Wilson administration that was disproportionate to their rather small numbers. Wilson, for example, was not a serious missionary advocate but could not ignore wealthy missionary backers who were often his political patrons, including philanthropist Charles R. Crane and, most significantly, copper magnate Cleveland Dodge. Crane, the main benefactor of Constantinople College (a missionary school for women in Istanbul), had been Wilson’s top campaign contributor in 1912.13 This earned him the first official appointment with Wilson during his presidency and swift access to Wilson thereafter.14 Dodge’s relationship with Wilson had deeper roots: he had been a classmate of Wilson’s at Princeton University and was his staunch ally on the Princeton Board of Trustees during Wilson’s contentious years as Princeton’s president (1902–1910). Dodge continued to support Wilson throughout his subsequent political campaigns and became arguably his closest friend while Wilson was president. Wilson had even offered Dodge the prestigious ambassadorship to London which he turned down, preferring to remain more discreetly influential. Dodge and his family were deeply involved in several non-business, legacy-building ventures in the Ottoman Empire, including Robert College in Istanbul and the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut (SPC, later renamed the American University of Beirut). Importantly, Dodge’s daughter Elizabeth was working at Robert College in 1914 and his son Bayard was teaching at SPC.15 After the war in Europe commenced on July 28, 1914, the Ottoman Empire did not officially decide to join the hostilities on the side of Germany and Austria-Hungary until October 29, delaying for months in order to bolster their exhausted treasury and military by squeezing the Germans for aid.16 Wilson, at this point, had no intention of allowing the United States to be dragged into what he saw as a European war, arguing in his Annual Message to Congress on December 8, 1914, that the country, on his watch, would not be “thrown off our balance by a war with which we have nothing to do, whose causes can not touch us.”17 Wilson viewed the entrance into what quickly became an obscenely destructive war with dread; if he had to lead the country into war, he would only do so if he could justify the shedding of American blood to himself and to the country in unequivocally moral terms.18 During World War I, the United States had two major concerns in the Ottoman Empire. The first was to protect American interests in the region, which mainly meant the educational and medical institutions created by American missionaries. With the abrogation of the “Capitulations” (the treaties between the Ottoman government and other states that exempted foreign citizens from numerous Ottoman laws and taxes) on October 1, 1914, all foreigners remaining in the region had to renegotiate their status within the Ottoman Empire from a much-weakened position. It is significant that this happened in midst of war, during which the confiscation of certain foreign holdings looked attractive to the increasingly distressed Ottoman government. The Wilson administration was aware of this danger, with counselor to the State Department (and eventual secretary of state) Robert Lansing informing Henry Morgenthau (the American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire) in November 1914 that: “Grave apprehension prevails here as to the safety of the Christian missionaries. Represent to the Ottoman Government the seriousness of the situation and urge in most solemn way upon them the necessity of preventing any loss of life, property of missionaries, stating the effect a failure to protect them would have upon the opinion and action of the United States.”19 Generally speaking, Ambassadors Morgenthau and Abram Elkus (who took over in 1916) were successful in maintaining cordial relationships with key figures in the Ottoman government (including leaders Talaat Pasha and Enver Pasha) while their countries remained diplomatically connected. Other major figures, like Howard Bliss, president of the SPC, managed to keep their institutions open through the maintenance of friendly contacts with local officials.20 The other major American concern was what came to be called Near East Relief. In the spring of 1915, American missionaries began reporting mass deportations and, eventually, massacre and starvation of Armenians in eastern Anatolia by Ottoman forces. Missionaries and State Department officials reported these events to the United States and these reports were then amplified in numerous newspaper articles.21 Less well publicized in the United States (but known to an important few) was the Syrian famine, which began in earnest in the winter of 1915–1916. On September 16, 1915, Cleveland Dodge formed the Armenian and Syrian Relief Committee (ACASR, later known as Near East Relief). The committee included many wealthy Americans who were close to Wilson (such as Charles Crane) and many influential missionary leaders (such as James Barton of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, the institutions of which dotted Anatolia). This group immediately began channeling funds to the region, often via Morgenthau, and engaged in what became a massive humanitarian relief effort, eventually raising and dispensing some $116,000,000 in aid during and after the war.22 Throughout the war, Wilson and most American policymakers were convinced that Germany’s allies were mere stooges and were doing all that Germany requested of them. Immediately following the Ottoman entry into the war, for example, Morgenthau told the State Department that “the Turkish authorities themselves have not seemed to desire war but have fallen more and more under the influence and power of the Germans,” and further reported that “Germany has absolute control of Turkish Navy; their military mission almost controls Turkish Army; they have [German General Colmar Freiherr] Von der Goltz in the palace and German Ambassador advising Cabinet.”23 Wilson rehashed this in his speeches, noting in 1917, for example, that “Germany has absolute control of Austria Hungary, practical control of the Balkan States, control of Turkey, control of Asia Minor.”24 Although recent research has shown that the Ottoman, Austrian, and Bulgarian governments charted more independent courses than many people suggested at the time, the perception of German dominance was widespread and played a major role in deliberations about the war.25 During the war, Woodrow Wilson’s international prominence rose because the United States’ continued neutrality turned the nation into a potential peacemaker, and Wilson’s speeches in favor of a new, more peaceful and stable world order were disseminated in global newspapers.26 In January 1915, for example, Morgenthau conveyed to Wilson that many Turks believed the war to be a mistake and that these people “look to you as the Peacemaker.”27 By the end of the war, as the region’s people realized that the Ottoman Empire was likely going to be dissolved, many of the regional popular movements turned to the United States for help, particularly because Wilson’s speeches seemed to show that he would support their political desires. Many groups in the region cited point twelve of Wilson’s famed Fourteen Points speech of January 8, 1918, which stated that the “Turkish Portion of the present Ottoman Empire shall be assured a secure sovereignty” after the war, while the “other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development.” These movements were certainly a part of the general “Wilsonian Moment” in the region, yet there were many competing voices and political projects in the Ottoman lands that made this a complicated and contentious moment in regional politics.28 In sum, the United States had relatively minor ties to the Ottoman Empire before the war, but the nature of these ties made it so that certain Americans with interests in the region were influential with Wilson. Although American business investments in the Ottoman Empire were small at this point, missionary investments were large. Additionally, the moral heft of helping besieged co-religionists in the Ottoman Empire in the face of persecution by the “terrible Turk” kept the region in American newspapers and in parish halls throughout the country via ACASR fundraising drives. In the general American discourse of the era, the Ottomans did not represent a threat to the world or to the United States as such, but they were a threat to politically important missionary and relief investments and to “civilized sensibilities” everywhere. The Ottomans in Debates about War with Germany During February and March of 1917, the surge in German submarine warfare, the “Zimmerman Telegram,” an evolving set of policies that favored the Triple Entente, and Wilson’s growing desire to play a significant role at a post-war peace conference helped to push the United States into war with Germany. Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany in a speech on April 2, 1917, and this turned out to be a rather simple sell, with Congress declaring that a state of war existed between the two countries almost immediately and nearly unanimously.29 In the run-up to this speech, Wilson and his inner-circle debated the wisdom of declaring war on one or more of Germany’s allies. Joseph Tumulty (Wilson’s secretary), for example, raised the issue to Wilson by including the following text from a New York Evening Post editorial in a letter on March 24: “What, moreover, of Turkey and Bulgaria? Are we to declare war against those countries? We should have to, logically, if we went the whole figure of joining the Allies … One item on their list is the expulsion of the Turk from Europe and the turning over of Constantinople to Russia. That may be an end desirable in itself, but has the United States any call to fight for it?”30 In his quest to craft a rationale for war that would command broad support, Wilson concluded that his case for war with Germany was strong but that the war needed to be about something larger, and the dual nature of his thinking was reflected in the April 2 speech. The first half of Wilson’s “War Message” outlined German crimes against the United States and others, and then detailed what the war effort would involve for Americans. Wilson explained the more general American “motives” and “objects” for entering into the war in the second half of the speech. The United States, according to Wilson, sought to bring a “steadfast concert for peace” to the world and, in order to accomplish this, had to help rid the world of autocracy and make it safe for democracy (an argument he could more easily make after the overthrow of the Czar of would-be ally Russia in March). When it came to Germany’s allies, the powerful case for war based on German crimes against the United States barely applied, but this crusade against autocracy certainly did. The first section of his rationale thus constrained Wilson because Germany’s allies had technically not harmed the United States, while the second seemed to indicate that all of Germany’s autocratic allies should be part of the war declaration. Wilson recognized this contradiction and tried to address it towards the end of his speech, stating that he was not asking for war with Germany’s allies because “they have not made war on us or challenged us to defend our right[s] and our honour.” Wilson did mention that the Austrians, for their part, had endorsed German submarine warfare but he stated that he was merely “postponing a discussion of our relations with the authorities at Vienna.” He did not mention the Ottoman Empire or Bulgaria by name, perhaps signaling his feelings about the relative merits of the case for extending the war to these other allies.31 He was also likely aware of reports coming out of the Ottoman lands that, in the words of Ambassador Elkus, “in case of hostilities between America and Germany, Turkey would not declare war against America.”32 Thus, Wilson did not appear to be close to expanding war declarations beyond Germany in April 1917 and the United States even sought to maintain diplomatic relations with Germany’s allies in the immediate aftermath of the declaration of war. Despite this, Austria-Hungary quickly broke off relations (April 8) and, under pressure from Germany, the Ottomans followed suit shortly thereafter (April 20), though the decision of the Ottoman cabinet was determined by a single vote and Ottoman treatment of the Americans remaining in the empire changed little.33 Bulgaria, for its part, chose to maintain relations with the United States mainly in hopes of leveraging this issue as a way to get German troops to leave the Black Sea region of Dobroudja.34 The severance of relations between the United States and the Ottoman Empire on April 20 caused alarm among Americans with ties to the region. They feared that the protections American neutrality had afforded their institutions and missionaries could end, especially as consuls throughout the empire returned home. They also feared that the ability of American benefactors to support these institutions (financially and otherwise), which had already been difficult throughout the war, would be truncated even further. The worst-case scenario was a declaration of war, which American institutions in the region worried would result in forced closures and Ottoman appropriation of their holdings.35 Stephen Panaretoff, the Bulgarian Ambassador to the United States, was one of the main opponents of an American declaration of war against Bulgaria and the Ottomans. Panaretoff was a graduate of Robert College in Istanbul and had been the head of Bulgarian language instruction there until 1914, when he was named ambassador. Once the Ottomans broke off diplomatic relations with the United States, Panaretoff immediately called on Cleveland Dodge, then president of the board of trustees of Robert College, in order to see what could be done to prevent war. Panaretoff made a personal promise that as long as the United States did not declare war on Bulgaria or the Ottoman Empire, he would guarantee that supplies from Bulgaria would make it to Robert College.36 Buoyed by this promise, Dodge called an emergency meeting of the Robert College trustees to discuss what they could do to avert an American declaration of war on the Ottomans. Dodge took it upon himself to head to Washington to speak with Wilson personally. Dodge had already been in touch with Wilson on matters pertaining to the war, writing to him on February 5 (two days after the breaking of diplomatic relations with Germany), “When I think of my dear ones in Turkey, naturally I am a little anxious.”37 Wilson replied the next day that he had “thought of” Dodge’s “dear ones in Turkey more than once with a pang of apprehension that was very deep.” He tried to reassure Dodge that “there was always one of our vessels” near Ottoman lands and that he hoped that he could “manage things so prudently that there will be no real danger to the lives of our people abroad.”38 When Dodge visited Wilson in late April, it appears that he was able to obtain a further promise from Wilson that he would do his best to prevent a declaration of war on both Bulgaria and the Ottomans. Although what was precisely discussed at this meeting is not documented, Dodge later told his son (Cleveland E. Dodge) that this was one of the few times he had asked Wilson for a favor.39 Another reason that Wilson chose not to seek a declaration of war against Germany’s allies was that he believed the United States could possibly negotiate a separate peace with one or more of these allies, thus weakening the German position and possibly ending the war. By limiting the war declaration to Germany, Wilson was able to “retain the greatest freedom of diplomatic maneuver.”40 One example of this came in June 1917, when Wilson approved a diplomatic mission to Istanbul by Henry Morgenthau. Morgenthau, having resigned his ambassadorship in 1916, told Wilson that there was a chance that he could get the Ottomans to leave the war if he made the pleas in person. Morgenthau embarked on this mission but abandoned it on the way to Istanbul after being convinced by various people, including some old colleagues and Zionist Chaim Weizmann, that his mission had little chance of succeeding.41 By the fall of 1917, Wilson seemed reluctant to make any major move when it came to the Ottomans, despite seeing the war as an opportunity to solve the “problem” of the Ottoman Empire, which, in his mind was “a veritable hornet’s nest, which keeps Europe always in alarm.”42 Wilson also appeared to stop considering a separate peace with the Ottomans. This was mainly because he believed that an early settlement could be advantageous to the Turks, noting in a letter to Lansing that “I suppose that [a separate] peace could be made only on terms which would preclude any radical changes of control over Constantinople and the straits,” which were changes that he believed to be desirable. Significantly, however, he added that the “only advantage” of an early peace would be to “prevent the bargains of the Allies with regard to Asia Minor from being carried out,” referring to the Sykes-Picot and related agreements that the British had shown him shortly after the United States declared war on Germany.43 His ultimate goal, the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire, was certainly on his mind at this point, yet he wanted to make sure it was not done through the “secret diplomacy” that he so disdained. Wilson’s strategic focus, however, appeared to be on the more immediate goal of crafting a policy that would help bring an end to the war and to the Ottomans while protecting missionary and relief interests in the region. The Ottomans in Debates about War with Austria The Italian defeat at Caporetto in October 1917 alarmed the Allies. The threat of an Italian capitulation, when paired with the mutinies of French soldiers during the summer of 1917 and the Bolshevik takeover of the Russian government in November, constituted a “dark hour” for the Allies and worried Wilson greatly.44 The public debate in the United States over the wisdom of declaring war on Germany’s allies had simmered over the summer of 1917 and became more serious in the fall. Although it is true, as one historian has noted, that the movement to declare war on the Ottomans lacked organization, it did have the support of political giant Theodore Roosevelt.45 On October 18, the ever-bellicose Roosevelt criticized Wilson’s handling of this matter in his widely syndicated Kansas City Star column. He argued that America’s policy of not going to war with Austria and the Ottomans was deceitful because the United States was not acting to “make the world safe for democracy” for the subject “races” of these empires, broadly attacking Wilson with the second part of his rationale for the war with Germany.46 After Caporetto, he continued to harp on what he deemed to be a disingenuous policy, arguing that had the United States declared war on Austria and directly supported Italy, the Italians may not have suffered such a heavy defeat.47 Roosevelt pointedly repeated these claims in a speech at Wilson’s beloved Princeton University on November 16.48 Less prominent people were calling for war as well. For example, Edward Grosvenor, a longtime Robert College professor, wrote an extended letter to the editor in the Springfield Daily Republican (which was sent to Robert Lansing) arguing that a declaration of war against the Ottomans would “hearten our British allies” and “discourage the Turk” who would then know that “his cause and that of the Kaiser is lost.”49 Pressure for a widening of the war effort mounted and tested Wilson’s resolve. Because the crimes of Austria, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria against the United States did not compare to those of Germany, the president found it difficult to justify a declaration of war on any of Germany’s allies. In this regard, however, the case for war with Austria appeared to be the strongest of the three. Austria arguably had harmed the United States: along with openly approving of the German U-boat campaign, a U-boat under the Austrian flag had sunk the Italian passenger liner Ancona in 1915 without sufficient warning, killing nine American citizens.50 Many American politicians were beginning to believe that the brittle Italian front was particularly dangerous to the Allied war effort as a whole and that a declaration of war against Austria was needed to help shore up this front. The Italians concurred: on November 1, Italian Foreign Minister Baron Sydney Sonnino unofficially noted to the American ambassador in Italy that a declaration of war on Austria would have an excellent effect on Italian morale.51 Opposition to such a declaration existed as well. When Wilson asked Secretary of War Newton Baker about the possibility of broadening American military operations to any of the Mediterranean fronts (including the Ottoman lands), he replied that the logistical difficulties of such an undertaking were formidable. He told the president that it was difficult enough to deliver troops to the western front and thus sending troops to the Mediterranean could not be contemplated, at least not in 1917. Baker concluded that the United States was not in a position to make a physical impact anywhere beyond the western front and thus he was not in favor of broader war declarations.52 Despite Baker’s opposition, Wilson and Secretary of State Lansing seemed to have accepted by late November that it was now expedient to declare war on Austria-Hungary in hopes of saving Italy, yet they still found it difficult to make a case for war against the Austrians.53 Wilson knew that if he declared war against Austria-Hungary, it would be difficult to justify remaining at peace with the Ottomans and Bulgaria. In preparation for his annual message to Congress to be delivered on December 4, Wilson wrote a number of drafts of his speech, and one of these drafts included the recommendation that “Congress immediately declare the United States in a state of war with Austria-Hungary, with Turkey, and with Bulgaria.”54 Knowing that this was a possibility (and with the backing of two main Protestant mission boards), Cleveland Dodge again used his position as Wilson’s friend and political backer to try to stave off war against the Ottomans. On December 2, Dodge wrote to Wilson (on behalf of numerous parties interested in the region) that a declaration of war against the “Turkish Empire” would be “fatal” to the “educational, missionary, and relief work” conducted there. He further argued in a cordial but forthright manner that “war with Turkey would be a serious blow to these great American enterprises and would jeopardize many American lives besides stopping the work we are doing in saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of natives.” He added a personal note that the welfare of his son and daughter might be endangered by a declaration of war.55 Although Wilson generally did not kowtow to his political supporters, he would no doubt have taken an appeal from his prominent friend seriously, as he did with all of Dodge’s appeals. In the end, Wilson only asked Congress to declare war on Austria-Hungary, though he left open the possibility of declaring war on Bulgaria and the Ottomans in the future. During his annual message to Congress on December 4, Wilson began by acknowledging that declaring “we are at war with Germany but not with her allies” was a “very embarrassing obstacle.” He then requested that Congress declare that the United States was “in a state of war with Austria-Hungary” because its government was “not acting upon its own initiative or in response to the wishes and feelings of its own peoples, but as the instrument of another nation.” He then went on to defend his position toward Bulgaria and the Ottomans, arguing that they were “the tools of Germany, but they are mere tools and do not yet stand in the direct path of our necessary action.” He did not preclude going to war in the future, stating, “We shall go wherever the necessities of this war carry us” but said that, in the short term, the United States should “go only where immediate and practical considerations lead us.”56 As can be seen in Wilson’s wording, he struggled to make the crimes of Austria-Hungary seem worse than those of Bulgaria and the Ottomans. He argued, with reference to the Italian front, that the conditions for declaring war on Austria-Hungary were “immediate and practical” whereas no such conditions existed with the other two. Wilson certainly added the clause about going “wherever the necessities of this war carry us” in order to placate those who wanted war with all of Germany’s allies but, in Wilson’s mind, the moment of last resort had not yet arrived with the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria. Wilson no doubt understood, however, that the logic of his argument was labored and that it might not be possible to remain at peace with the Ottomans. At a meeting after the speech, Wilson told his cabinet that “because of Robert College and such institutions he hoped we would not have to declare war on Turkey, but [the country] must be prepared for any eventualities.”57 Congress reacted to the distinction between Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria with confusion. Following Wilson’s call for a declaration of war against Austria-Hungary, Lansing received a request from Democratic Senator William Stone, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, asking him to explain the decision not to declare war on the Ottomans and Bulgaria. Lansing immediately replied, stating that the United States had much to lose with such a declaration and little to gain. Specifically, Americans would lose the accumulated benefits of the approximately “$20,000,000” invested in missionary activities in the region, which currently included “several million dollars” in property that would certainly be “destroyed or confiscated” in the event of war. Citing a letter from missionary W. W. Peet of Bible House in Istanbul, Lansing argued that a declaration of war could also perturb the tenuous status quo in the Ottoman lands in which Americans had remained safe. Lansing further contended that Turks were no threat to American forces in Europe, and that Turkish subjects in the United States also posed no threat because they were few in number and mostly “Christians.” The danger, according to Lansing, was distinctly Islamic in nature and if war was declared, there might be “fresh massacres on the Christians and Jews in the Turkish Empire.”58 Military intervention at this point could not be justified in terms of helping the oppressed minorities of the Ottoman Empire, as perhaps it could have been in 1915. On the contrary, it was Lansing’s contention that an American declaration of war would harm these minorities. Covering the Senate debate on the matter, The New York Times reported dissent from dozens of senators, stating, “hardly a Senator could be found who did not urge the inclusion of Turkey and Bulgaria in the declaration of war.”59 Senator Henry Cabot Lodge took a somewhat adversarial position. Although he pledged to stand with Wilson on his decision to declare war with only Austria at this moment, he noted that he did not agree that the United States should remain at peace with the Ottomans. He took aim specifically at the argument that the United States should not go to war with the Ottoman Empire because of the “danger” it would bring to “American life and property in Turkey.” “A declaration of war,” Lodge argued, “cannot be decided on the question of the danger to which citizens of the country have voluntarily exposed themselves in the hostile country.” Lodge then launched into the rather obligatory rant about the Turks being the long-time “scourge of Europe and Christendom” and a “curse to modern civilization,” followed by a description of the Armenian massacres. The final element of his speech, though, involved his concern about post-war diplomacy: Lodge believed that the United States should not arrive at the post-war “great council of nations as still the friend of Turkey.”60 In the House of Representatives, a similar debate occurred. Republican Representative Clarence B. Miller begrudgingly deferred to Wilson’s judgment on Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire, but then went on to deliver a bellicose speech arguing that no separate peace should be made with the murderous Turk. Miller believed that the only way any negotiation should take place with the Turk was with a “bayonet pointed squarely at his heart.” Democrat Henry D. Flood responded to Miller, restating Wilson’s argument that the Turks had not harmed the United States and had little potential to do so, though Americans in the Ottoman Empire might be harmed should the United States declare war. The congressional record notes that both arguments received applause during the debate.61 Despite these protests, Congress acquiesced and declared war on Austria-Hungary on December 7. Wilson, for his part, was aware of the dissent and knew the matter was not closed, writing to Cleveland Dodge on December 5 that “I sympathize with every word of your letter of the second [December 2] about war with Turkey and am trying to hold Congress back from following its inclination to include all the allies of Germany in a declaration of a state of war. I hope with all of my heart that I can succeed.”62 In response to the increased clamoring for war with the Ottomans, James Barton crafted a long letter to Henry Cabot Lodge on December 10. Significantly, this letter was circulated among the popular press and hence played a role in the public debate about further declarations of war.63 Barton’s arguments mirrored Lansing’s (possible loss of American property and lives; renewed slaughter of Christians; no way for the American military to influence this front), adding that the reputation of Germany was waning in the Ottoman Empire and that a split in this alliance was possible. The United States, in contrast, had grown in reputation during the war because of the relief efforts. A declaration of war, according to Barton, would accomplish Germany’s goal of converting “this friendly spirit of the Turks into a spirit of hatred” against the United States.64 The discursive characterization of the relationship between Germany and its allies was of great consequence in this debate. Although discussions between Germany, the Ottomans, Austria-Hungary, and Bulgaria were largely conducted in secret, many commentators claimed to understand the true nature of their relationships. No one doubted that Germany was the dominant member of the alliance but the role of Germany’s allies often changed in line with a person’s stance on the question of declaring war. Advocates for war with Germany’s allies, like Roosevelt and Lodge, would generally refer to them as knowing co-conspirators, using terms like “fellow tyrants” and “subject allies,” or emphasizing that the relationship between these governments was “intimate and indissoluble.”65 People against war with Germany’s allies, like Dodge and Barton, emphasized Germany’s domineering role in these relationships and often referred to the allies with terms like “pawns” or “mere tools.” In Barton’s words, “both Bulgaria and Turkey are under military rule and domination of the Germans, without power of throwing off that rule.” Barton went so far as to blame the Germans for the massacre of “the Armenians, the Syrians, the Greeks and the Jews” because Germany saw these groups as an impediment to “‘Berlin to Baghdad’ domination.” He further insinuated that it was inconceivable that anything of that magnitude could have happened without German approval or, even worse, orchestration.66 Moreover, Dodge argued that the Ottomans “want peace badly and have no love for the Germans,” implying that Germany alone was keeping them in the war.67 Because the president had asked for war with Austria-Hungary, the debate over Austria-Hungary’s relationship with Germany now appeared to have been agreed upon—they were indeed co-conspirators. The interested parties continued to debate the nature of the relationship between Bulgaria, the Ottomans, and Germany throughout the remaining days of the war. Regardless of contested assessments of the relationship between Germany and its allies, Lodge and the dissenters had successfully located the specious elements of Wilson’s rationale against declaring war on the Ottomans. Austria-Hungary’s situation was comparable to the Ottoman Empire’s in that the world needed to be rid of both autocracies. It was true that Austria had just dealt a major blow to the Allied war cause by nearly defeating Italy, yet there was arguably a stronger moral imperative to declare war on the Ottomans because of the Armenian massacres. Lodge and his allies realized this and were largely arguing for a punitive intervention that would ensure that the Turks were never in a position to conduct massacres again. Further Debate in 1918 Congressional debates over the declaration of war with Bulgaria and the Ottomans remained quiet during the winter of 1917–1918 but resurfaced in the spring, with members of the Senate reacting to the perceived worsening of the war situation because of the official Russian exit in March.68 On April 2, 1918, newly elected Democrat William H. King introduced Senate Joint Resolution 145, which sought to widen American participation in the war by declaring that “a state of war exists between the United States of America and the governments of Bulgaria and Turkey.”69 The matter was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations, yet little happened for three weeks. Republican Senator Frank Brandegee forced the issue on April 23 with the introduction of another resolution asking the Foreign Relations Committee to take up Resolution 145, which they then did.70 In response to these deliberations, the board of trustees of the Constantinople College (which was led by Charles Crane) sent a letter to Senator James Wadsworth of New York with the same arguments that had been put forth by Dodge and the missionaries. Wilson received the letter as well.71 The ACASR sent a similar letter to Senator Gilbert Hitchcock of Nebraska, who was about to become the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee after Senator Stone died on April 12.72 Wilson took the somewhat unusual step of meeting with Senator King in private on April 24 and reiterated that he was not in favor of the resolution for war. King promised not to press the issue but received a pledge from Wilson to “present to the Senate his reasons for opposing present action,” which Wilson then had Lansing prepare to do.73 In the midst of this flare up, Roosevelt resumed his public push for war with Bulgaria and the Ottomans in a May 1 speech. “The Turks have massacred Armenians,” he argued, “but we have not declared war upon Turkey.” He also pointed out that Zionist organizations had been recruiting in the United States for “the fight for the recovery of Palestine, something that should not be permitted against a country with which we are at peace.” The situation, Roosevelt concluded, “is a criminal absurdity.”74 In order to fulfill his promise to fully explain his administration’s position, Wilson sent Lansing to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 2. In front of the committee, Lansing repeated many of the reasons that he had given in December (“the confiscation or destruction of the large missionary interests in the Empire”; “the jeopardizing of the lives of many Americans”; the end of the “powerful restraining influence exerted by American missionaries and relief-workers upon the Turks in their brutal conduct”). With this in mind, he argued that “the Ottomans could wage war on us and that we could not wage war on them” because the American troops were being sent to the western front. He concluded that the United States would “gain nothing and lose much by going to war with Turkey.” In general, he positioned the “practical commonsense” of the Wilson administration against the more emotive thinking of the senators arguing for a declaration of war. He maintained that the United States could use its “influence” in the peace negotiations to “drive the Turk out of Europe and to take from him the territory occupied by subject races.” The plan was to remove the Turks from any position of power or importance so that “he would never be able to disturb the peace of the world or have a voice in world affairs.” After this testimony, Lansing boasted that the committee members who were “practically unanimous for declarations of war” at the beginning of his appearance now “seemed convinced that our policy is a wise one.”75 Although Wilson and Lansing remained steadfast in their opposition to a declaration of war on Bulgaria and the Ottomans, Lansing agreed (at the behest of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee) to learn the Allies’ opinions on this issue. Even before he did this, the Serbian Minister to the United States contacted Lansing on April 23. After hearing of the renewed push for war in the Senate, the minister hoped to convince Lansing that declaring war on Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire was a prudent move.76 On May 3, Lansing asked the ambassadors to Britain, France, and Italy to sound out their governments on the question of “whether or not such a declaration would be of material aid to the supreme purpose of defeating the Central Powers.”77 The use of the term “material” here is likely to have been deliberate because Wilson increasingly did not want to commit to any action that would merely result in “political” advantage. Ambassador to Italy Thomas Nelson Page replied quickly that Italian Foreign Minister Sonnino told him that such a declaration would “serve a useful purpose and have an important effect.” He further argued that it would “shake up Turkey and Bulgaria” and would “prove a material aid against Austria and also Germany.”78 Ambassador William Graves Sharp replied in the affirmative from France, with Georges Clemenceau and his ministers stating that “such action would give great satisfaction to the French Government.”79 The British government replied later in May that the United States should declare war with the Ottomans and Bulgaria, and also warned that if the United States did not declare war, then the “various phases of the eastern question which must come up at the peace conference” would be “settled without her [America’s] active intervention.” Thus for the British, the U.S. declaration of war would allow the United States to have a greater say in post-war negotiations, baiting Wilson’s growing hopes to remake the world in the aftermath of the war.80 Also in May, Lansing asked General Tasker Bliss to pose this same question to the more tactically minded Supreme War Council, who responded that the United States should declare war on the Ottomans immediately and Bulgaria only after it was found to be “impossible by diplomatic negotiation to detach” Bulgaria from “her alliance with the Central Powers.” The Supreme Council did not, however, want the United States to divert any of its troops from the western front, though the “potential” for the United States to do this would be welcome and may indeed encourage the “peoples of the Middle East” to “throw in their lot decidedly with the Entente Powers.” The council further believed that an American declaration of war would have a great “moral effect” on the “eastern theater,” though they wanted the material effect to remain a mere potential that could be activated if needed.81 Perhaps fearing that Wilson would be swayed by the opinions of the Allies and the Supreme War Council, Lansing wrote an addendum to these responses. In this, he argued that the Allies had failed “to recognize the humanitarian side of the question,” that “thousands of Armenians and Syrians are being kept alive today” by the “supplies” and “funds sent to our missionaries.” Lansing noted that he could see the advantages and disadvantages to any of the possible decisions. He stated, however, that the inverse of the Supreme War Council’s initial suggestion, war with Bulgaria and not the Ottomans, was not feasible because “war against a Christian nation without war against a Moslem nation would cause general criticism in this country,” again illustrating the engrained prejudice against Islam in the United States.82 Lansing pressed Wilson for an emphatic policy statement towards the end of May, claiming the administration needed to give “careful consideration” to the “united opinion of the Allied Governments.”83 By this point President Wilson’s opinion appeared to be hardening against declaring war. On May 19, Wilson and Colonel House discussed war declarations on Bulgaria and the Ottomans during, perhaps tellingly, a drive to Cleveland Dodge’s home in New York City. House reported that Wilson was “more inclined to declare war against Bulgaria than Turkey, giving as his reason that the Turks would massacre the entire Christian population.”84 In late June, he struck a pragmatic tone in a letter to former American Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau: “There is nothing practical that we can do for the time being in the matter of the Armenian massacres.”85 In late August, Wilson decreed that he was “definitely opposed” to declaring war on the Ottomans and gave perhaps the most comprehensive explanation of his position to Sir William Wiseman, the British government’s main liaison to Wilson. Wiseman recounted in a letter to the British Foreign Office that Wilson had reiterated his opposition to declaring war against the Ottomans and Bulgaria, and asserted that he was “reluctant to declare a war which would be unaccompanied by any definite military action on the part of the U. S., considering such a situation empty and undignified.” On the Ottoman Empire, more specifically, he stated that although he had “no sympathy or liking for the Turks,” he believed that the “presence of American missionaries and others has up to now prevented massacres and atrocities which would otherwise have occurred.” Wilson argued that a “terrible outburst of savagery would follow on a declaration of war,” and Wiseman added in the letter that he had been convinced of this by “advisers whom he trusts (mostly connected with various educational and religious organizations in Turkey).”86 After being informed of this, Sir Eric Drummond, British Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour’s secretary, replied to Wiseman that Wilson’s “theory” that keeping Americans in the Ottoman lands in the hopes of preventing further massacres was “quite untenable” because the massacres already committed in the presence of Americans had “probably surpassed for savagery anything in the war.” He also argued that the real reason that these missionaries did not want Wilson to declare war was that it would “imperil security of their important properties and institutions.” The British abandoned their effort to get the United States to declare war on the Ottomans in early September but remained apprehensive about Wilson’s ability to upend their post-war plans for the region.87 As the Allied victory in the war seemed increasingly assured in the fall of 1918, the Ottomans contacted the United States in hopes of using American help to leave the war on favorable terms. Wilson decided not to respond to their enquiries.88 The British, maneuvering to have the greatest advantage in post-war peace talks, conspired to keep the United States out of negotiations pertaining to the Ottoman Empire. In a cabinet meeting on October 3, Balfour suggested that the United States attempt to prod the Turks into negotiations by threatening them with a declaration of war if they did not sign a separate peace. Cabinet members rejected this suggestion because they believed that Wilson would not agree and that, should this work, Wilson would then have the ability to “claim a larger voice for America in the settlement of Middle East problems than its military contributions could entitle it to.”89 Lloyd George, for his part, was “very strongly in favour of eliminating President Wilson” from the negotiations “which concern Bulgaria and Turkey, with whom America is not at war.” According to Cabinet Secretary Maurice Hankey, Lloyd George increasingly preferred policies that kept “President Wilson’s fingers out of the Turkey pie.”90 The Ottomans and British signed the Armistice of Mudros on October 30, 1918 and the war ended with the United States and the Ottomans still at peace. Cleveland Dodge, for his part, was pleased with the manner in which the war wound down, stating to Wilson in a September 28 letter that “Bulgaria and Turkey seem to be nearly at their end and I am correspondingly happy and grateful to you for your wise and patient course of action—or nonaction.”91 In Dodge’s opinion, such a course of action kept his children safe, protected his legacy projects in the region, and saved the lives of numerous Ottoman Christians. Conversely, Henry Cabot Lodge lamented in a letter to Theodore Roosevelt just before the war’s end that “the worst of it all” was that “through our refusal to make war on Turkey and Bulgaria,” the United States would now have to “sit outside” when the “vital questions” of the disposition of the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria were discussed at the post-war peace conference.92 Conclusion Woodrow Wilson arrived at the Paris Peace Conference ostensibly in a position to influence the final settlement. As John Maynard Keynes noted in 1920, Wilson had moral authority garnered by peoples’ reactions to his lofty rhetoric and allies who were at his financial mercy.93 Clemenceau and Lloyd George knew that Wilson firmly desired a League of Nations and allowed it to be the first order of business. This, however, was a strategic choice, with Lloyd George stating that if they conceded the League to Wilson, they would likely be able to extract concessions from him on “the things to which we attach importance.”94 As the conference continued, Wilson’s moral authority faded and Henry Cabot Lodge’s concerns about remaining at peace with the Ottomans were realized. Woodrow Wilson had little leverage when it came to negotiating for the future disposition of the Ottoman lands in part because the United States had not declared war on the Ottoman Empire. When the reapportioning of the Ottoman lands finally became the main object of debate on March 20, it was clear that the negotiations were primarily between Britain and France, with Wilson acknowledging that they had included him in these discussions as a “courtesy” and not as a “right.” He noted that he was “not indifferent” to the secret arrangements made by the British and French during the war but also acknowledged that “it was not permissible for him to express an opinion thereon.” His lack of leverage was particularly apparent in the phrasings he used at the meeting, with the secretary recording that he prefaced his comments with deferential wordings such as “it might not be his business, but if the question was made his business” and if “you asked his opinion.” Wilson did try to nudge his way into the increasingly acrimonious negotiations as a “friend to both parties” and as “one of the representatives assembled to establish the peace of the world.” Wilson feared that world peace might be endangered by these particular negotiations because the people of the region were not being consulted and because he believed that a “scrap” was developing between Britain and France over the division of Ottoman lands. When it became clear that the British and French were prepared to largely brush aside his concerns, Wilson advocated for the sending of an “Inter-Allied” fact-finding commission to the region, with the commission’s recommendations guiding the final settlement.95 After the British, French, and Italians refused to participate in this commission (having previously agreed to do so), Wilson intransigently sent the Americans in late May 1919. By the end of June, however, he started to realize that the King-Crane Commission’s (as it is now called, in reference to its two American commissioners) conclusions would likely have little impact on the reapportioning of the Ottoman lands and that his last-ditch attempt to influence negotiations had failed. The French and the British eventually ignored the decidedly anti-imperial conclusions of the commission and the division of the region moved forward with little American input.96 Many people in the Ottoman lands, however, saw the King-Crane Commission as the culmination of Wilson’s wartime rhetoric and expected its recommendations to be heeded in some way. When the policy makers that the commission was meant to influence ignored it, people in the region became disillusioned with the post-war peace negotiations, suffering from what Wilson acknowledged as the “tragedy of disappointment” with himself and the leaders of the victorious powers. Imperial and anti-imperial violence followed in the ensuing years.97 As Wilson returned to the United States and began his ill-fated fight for Senate approval of the Treaty of Versailles, the Allied powers looked on as he lost his push for American membership in the League of Nations, which represented perhaps his last piece of major leverage on Ottoman matters.98 The Allies invited the United States to the subsequent negotiations on the final Ottoman settlements in London/San Remo (1920) and Lausanne (1922–1923), but they were not allowed to have any significant input into the content of the settlements.99 The Americans diplomats at these conferences acknowledged this lack of standing by prefacing official notes about these negotiations with statements, such as “While it is true that the United States was not at war with Turkey … it is the duty of this Government to make known its views.”100 The United States eventually concluded a bilateral treaty with the new country of Turkey in Lausanne after the agreement with the Allies had been signed, though the treaty led to a protracted squabble in the U.S. Senate featuring resurgent pro-Armenian sympathies and anti-Turkish venom. The Senate eventually rejected it in January 1927. The United States and Turkey restored diplomatic relations shortly after this through a simple exchange of notes and these relations evolved along lines more advantageous to the Turks than the lopsided, Capitulation-regulated ties of the pre-war years. Between the wars, the United States remained largely neutral in matters of import to the Turks and, according to historian Roger Trask, the relationship between the two countries developed into a “rapprochement.” It is possible that one longer-term consequence of remaining at peace during World War I contributed to, or at least did not impede, the development of these harmonious relations between the two countries.101 So why did Wilson resist going to war with the Ottoman Empire? As this article has argued, there were several reasons. The first was perhaps the most simple: Wilson had been reluctant to enter into such a vicious war and was averse to expanding American involvement further than he thought was necessary. Although Wilson was no pacifist and did not doubt the nobility of the American cause, he was inclined to limit American involvement in the war as much as was possible. The second was a reflection of Wilson’s pragmatic approach to the waging of the war. The United States had adhered to a “western front only” policy for a number of reasons: it had few trained troops, the situation on the western front was believed to be critical, and transporting troops to locations beyond the western front was difficult. Secretary of War Newton Baker later implied that without these logistical difficulties, American war participation may have been more widespread, stating “surely if Armenia were as near us as Cuba, we would have fought Turkey as we did Spain.”102 Although he may have exaggerated, there is no doubt that the likelihood of going to war with the Ottomans would have been higher if it was possible for the United States to have had a “material impact” on this front, as Wilson suggested towards the war’s end. For Wilson, merely affecting the morale of either the Allies or the Central Powers was not enough to justify going to war, unless, as in the case of Italy, the situation appeared desperate. The seemingly inevitable Ottoman collapse in the face of the British advance led Wilson to believe that there was no such desperation on this front. Beyond this, missionaries and their backers deeply influenced Wilson’s resistance to declaring war on the Ottomans. Wilson accepted the missionaries’ contention that the Turks would slaughter the region’s remaining Christians if the Americans doing relief work were forced to leave. Although it is uncertain that an increasingly exhausted Ottoman government would have perpetrated further massacres, Wilson’s conviction that the Turks were indeed “terrible” paired with (arguably dubious) missionary reports stating that massacres were inevitable without their presence, led him to believe that further massacres were likely. Wilson was also convinced that the Ottomans would confiscate American missionary investments and possibly do worse to the missionaries themselves if he declared war. Missionaries had invested their lives in many projects in the Ottoman Empire. These projects could not have existed without substantial financial outlays by wealthy businessmen who often placed these missions at similar levels of importance as their business dealings, and these donors often had influence among government officials. These alliances, between businessmen and missionaries, often led to powerful and influential lobbying nexuses that could be, given the right alignment of issue and interest, decisive in government decisions. The decision not to go to war with the Ottomans took place during a moment when a globalizing American presence (in this case, missionaries and relief workers with benefactors who had strong connections to the president) had significant repercussions on American policy, though it interestingly led the country away from war and not towards it. More generally, Wilson seemed to believe that intervention in the Ottoman theater would bring more harm than good to the United States. Despite the fact that the Ottomans had been guilty of perhaps the war’s greatest sins and that Wilson wanted their empire dissolved, Ottoman crimes were not directed against the United States, as Germany’s had been. This supports John Milton Cooper’s claim that Wilson’s conduct during the war was not naively idealistic, as many of his opponents and subsequent historians have claimed. Instead, the way Wilson handled the war reflected his complex “synthesis” of liberal international idealism with a more realist and pragmatic conception of national interest.103 The pragmatic element of Wilson’s decision not to declare war on the Ottomans was in line with many of his wartime policies, which were often necessarily expedient and sometimes turned out to be detrimental to his long-term priorities. It is an example of what Lloyd Ambrosius has characterized as Wilson’s failure to “coordinate political aims with military strategy except in general terms.”104 While it may be true, as John Milton Cooper has contended, that “Wilson could not tell how much leverage he would have over the peace settlement until he went to Europe,” giving more thought to how he could have maximized this influence in Paris may have been helpful.105 Wilson certainly would (or at least should) have been aware that remaining at peace with the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria would have consequences at the post-war peace conference. Indeed, just before he advocated for a declaration of war with Germany, Wilson stated that participating in the war was necessary so that the United States would “have a seat at the Peace Table” and not be forced to make suggestions through “a crack in the door.”106 On Ottoman matters, a crack in the door is all the Allies afforded Wilson. Although it is impossible to know what may have happened had Wilson’s conduct of the war been less “immediate and practical,” different choices on these matters, to borrow the words of H. W. Brands, “would have made for a different peace conference and a different settlement.”107 I would like to thank John Milton Cooper, Elizabeth Thompson, Brian Orend, Leonard Smith, Karine Walther, Oliver Bast, Mustafa Aksakal, Roberto Mazza, Christine Lindner, and my colleagues at Tennessee State University for feedback on this article. Footnotes 1 “War Declaration Ready,” The New York Times, December 5, 1917, 1. Americans in the era referred to the Ottoman Empire as Turkey as will be seen in the quotes. I use the terms the Ottoman Empire and the Ottomans. 2 Congressional Record, 65th Congress, 2nd Sess., vol. LVI, part 1, Dec. 6/7, 1917, 50–53, 63–68. Quote on 65. 3 Scholarship on the decision to declare war on Germany is abundant and well-known. For Bulgaria and Austria-Hungary, see Petko M. Petkov’s The United States and Bulgaria in World War I (Boulder, CO, 1991); Vaclav Horcicka, “Austria-Hungary, Unrestricted Submarine Warfare, and the United States’ Entrance in the First World War,” The International History Review 34, no. 2 (June 2012): 245–69; Victor S. Mamatey, The United States and East Central Europe 1914–1918: A Study in Wilsonian Diplomacy and Propaganda (Princeton, NJ, 1957). 4 Joseph Grabill, Protestant Diplomacy in the Near East: Missionary Influence on American Policy, 1810–1927 (Minneapolis, MN, 1971); Laurence Evans, United States Policy and the Partition of Turkey, 1914–1924 (Baltimore, MD, 1965); Simon Payaslian, United States Policy Toward the Armenian Question and the Armenian Genocide (New York, 2005); Nevzat Uyanik, Dismantling the Ottoman Empire: Britain, America, and the Armenian Question (London, 2016). 5 Karine Walther, Sacred Interests: The United States and the Islamic World, 1821–1921 (Chapel Hill, NC, 2015). 6 John A. DeNovo, American Interests and Policies in the Middle East 1900–1939 (Minneapolis, MN, 1963), 38–45. 7 Akram Fouad Khater, Inventing Home: Emigration, Gender, and the Middle Class in Lebanon, 1870–1920 (Berkeley, CA, 2001), 108–45. 8 Andrew Patrick, “‘These People Know about Us’: A Reconsideration of Attitudes towards the United States in World War I-Era Greater Syria,” Middle Eastern Studies 50, no. 3 (2014): 397–411. 9 Selim Deringil, The Well-Protected Domains: Ideology and the Legitimation of Power in the Ottoman Empire, 1876–1909 (London, UK, 2011), 125–32. Quote on 125. 10 Anne Marie Wilson, “In the name of God, Civilization, and Humanity: The United States and the Armenian Massacres of the 1890s,” Le Movement Social 2 (2009): 27–44. 11 Walther, Sacred Interests; Justin McCarthy, The Turk in America: The Creation of an Enduring Prejudice (Salt Lake City, UT, 2010). 12 Quoted in Edward House, The Intimate Papers of Edward House, ed. Charles Seymour (Ann Arbor, MI, 2005), 96. 13 John Milton Cooper, Woodrow Wilson: A Biography (New York, 2011), 172. 14 A. Scott Berg, Wilson (New York, 2013), 280. For more on Crane, see Normal E. Saul, The Life and Times of Charles R. Crane, 1858–1939: American Businessman, Philanthropist, and a Founder of Russian Studies in America (Lanham, MA, 2013). 15 Grabill, Protestant Diplomacy, 80–89. 16 Mustafa Aksakal, The Ottoman Road to War in 1914: The Ottoman Empire and the First World War (Cambridge, UK, 2008). 17 Address of the President, December 8, 1914, Foreign Relations of the United States (hereafter FRUS), XVIII 1914, Supplement, The World War, ed. Joseph V. Fuller (Washington, DC, 1928), xi–xx. 18 Cooper, Woodrow Wilson, 381–85. 19 Lansing to Morgenthau, November 20, 1914, FRUS, 1914, Supplement, The World War, file 763.72/1255a, 771. 20 Stephen Penrose, That They May Have Life: The Story of the American University of Beirut, 1866–1941 (New York, 1941), 161 and various correspondences in the American University of Beirut Archives and Special Collections, Howard Bliss Collection, 1860–1920, box 18. 21 Peter Balakian, The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response (New York, 2003), 281–82. 22 James L. Barton, The Story of Near East Relief (1915–1930): An Interpretation (New York, 1930), xi, 4–19. 23 William Jennings Bryan to German Ambassador Gerard, December 22, 1914, FRUS, 1914, Supplement 1, The World War, file 763.72115/308, 789; Morgenthau to State, November 7, 1914, Manuscript Division, Henry Morgenthau Papers (MS Morgenthau), microfilm reel 7, Library of Congress, Washington, DC (LOC). 24 An Address in Buffalo to the American Federation of Labor, November 12, 1917, in Papers of Woodrow Wilson (hereafter PWW) ed. Arthur Link, 69 vols (Princeton, NJ, 1986), 45:13. 25 Aksakal, The Ottoman Road to War; Petkov, The United States and Bulgaria; and Horcicka, “Austria-Hungary.” 26 Erez Manela, The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anti-Colonial Nationalism (New York, 2007), 48–53; James R. Mock and Cedric Larson, Words that Won the War: The Story of the Committee of Public Information, 1917–1919 (New York, 1968), 235–47. 27 Morgenthau to Wilson, Jan. 11, 1915, MS Morgenthau, reel 7. 28 Manela, Wilsonian Moment; James Gelvin, Divided Loyalties: Nationalism and Mass Politics in Syria at the Close of Empire (Berkeley, CA, 1998); Andrew Patrick, America’s Forgotten Middle East Initiative: The King-Crane Commission of 1919 (London, UK, 2015). 29 Justus D. Doenecke, Nothing Less than War: A New History of America’s Entry into World War I (Lexington, KY, 2011), 278–99. 30 Tumulty to Wilson, March 24, 1917, PWW, vol. 41, 464. 31 All quotes from “Wilson’s War Message to Congress,” April 2, 1917, FRUS, 1917, Supplement 1, The World War, 195–203. 32 Elkus to the State Department, February 11, 1917, FRUS, 1917, Supplement 1, The World War, file 763.72/3333, 134. 33 Horcicka, “Austria-Hungary”; Grabill, Protestant Diplomacy, 91; Abram Elkus, The Memoirs of Abram Elkus: Lawyer, Ambassador, Statesman (London, UK, 2004), 89–90. 34 Petkov, The United States and Bulgaria, 35–40. 35 Penrose, That They May Have, 160–63. 36 Petkov, The United States and Bulgaria, 35–46. 37 Dodge to Wilson, February 5, 1917, PWW, vol. 41, 128. 38 Wilson to Dodge, February 6, 1917, PWW, vol. 41, 133. 39 Robert Daniel, “The Friendship of Woodrow Wilson and Cleveland H. Dodge,” Mid-America: An Historical Review XLII (1961): 182–96; Penrose, That They May Have, 162–63; Grabill, Protestant Diplomacy, 89–91; Petkov, The United States and Bulgaria, 35–46. 40 John Milton Cooper, “A Friend in Power? Woodrow Wilson and Armenia,” in America and the Armenian Genocide of 1915, ed. Jay Winter (Cambridge, UK, 2003), 103–12. Quote on 110. 41 Frank Brecher, “Revisiting Ambassador Morgenthau’s Turkish Peace Mission of 1917,” Middle Eastern Studies 24, no. 3 (July 1988): 357–63; William Yale, “Henry Morgenthau’s Special Mission of 1917,” World Politics 1, no. 3 (April 1949): 308–20. 42 Wilson, as quoted in a letter from Baron Moncheur [Belgian Ambassador] to Baron Charles de Broqueville [Belgian Foreign Minister], August 14, 1917, PWW, vol. 43, 469. 43 Wilson to Lansing, November 28, 1917, PWW, vol. 45, 148. On the treaties, see Cooper, Woodrow Wilson, 396; David Fromkin, A Peace to End all Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East (New York, 1989), 257. 44 Cooper, Woodrow Wilson, 419. 45 Robert Daniel, American Philanthropy in the Near East 1820–1960 (Athens, OH, 1970), 155. 46 Theodore Roosevelt, “A Difficult Question to Answer,” October 18, 1917, in Publications of the Roosevelt Memorial Association: II Roosevelt in the Daily Star (Boston, MA, 1921), 23–25. 47 Roosevelt, “Nine-Tenths of Wisdom is being Wise in Time,” November 1, 1917, in ibid., 42–43. 48 Victor S. Mamatey, The United States and East Central Europe (Princeton, NJ, 1957), 156. 49 Edward A. Grosvenor to the editor, The Springfield Daily Republican, December 5, 1917, Correspondence “1917, November 20–December 15,” box 32, Robert Lansing Papers (MS Lansing), Manuscript Division, LOC. 50 Gerald H. Davis, “The ‘Ancona’ Affair: A Case of Preventative Diplomacy,” Journal of Modern History 38, no. 3 (September 1966), 267–77; Arthur Link, Wilson: Confusions and Crises 1915–1916 (Princeton, NJ, 1964), 62–67. 51 The Ambassador in Italy (Page) to the Secretary of State, November 1, 1917, FRUS, 1917, Supplement 2, Part 1, The World War, file 763.72/7529, 286. 52 Baker to Wilson, October 11, 1917, PWW, vol. 44, 361–62; Daniel R. Beaver, Newton D. Baker and the American War Effort 1917–1919 (Lincoln, NE, 1966), 47–48. 53 Robert Lansing, War Memoirs of Robert Lansing, Secretary of State (New York, 1935), 257–58. 54 Undated draft of Annual Message to Congress (December 1918 speech), reel 479 “Messages to Congress, 1913 Apr 7–1918 May 7,” Woodrow Wilson Papers Microfilm Reels, (hereafter Wilson Microfilm), LOC. 55 Dodge to Wilson, December 2, 1917, PWW, vol. 45, 185–86. In conjunction with Dodge’s personal push, former Ambassador Elkus went to the State Department to make similar points. See Grabill, Protestant Diplomacy, 92. 56 Annual Message to Congress, December 4, 1917, PWW, vol. 45, 194–202. 57 Diary of Josephus Daniels (Secretary of the Navy), December 4, 1917, PWW, vol. 45, 207. 58 Lansing to Stone, December 6, 1917, FRUS, 1917, Supplement 2, Part 1, The World War, file 763.72/8475b, 448–50. 59 “War Declaration Ready,” The New York Times, December 5, 1917, 2. 60 Congressional Record, 65th Congress, 2nd Sess., vol. LVI, Part 1, December 7, 1917, 64–65. 61 Congressional Record, 65th Congress, 2nd Sess., vol. LVI, Part 1, December 6, 1917, 50–52. 62 Wilson to Dodge, December 5, 1917, PWW, vol. 45, 215. 63 “War with Turkey Called a Mistake,” New York Times, December 16, 1917, 4. 64 Barton to Lodge, December 10, 1917, reel 8, MS Morgenthau, LOC. 65 Roosevelt, “A Difficult Question to Answer,” October 18, 1917; “Nine-Tenths of Wisdom is being Wise in Time,” November 1, 1917, in Publications of the Roosevelt Memorial Association, 23–25, 42–43; Senator William Stone, as quoted in “President Signs Declaration of War on Austria-Hungary,” New York Times, December 8, 1917, 4. 66 Barton to Lodge, December 10, 1917, reel 8, MS Morgenthau, LOC 67 Dodge to Wilson, December 2, 1917, PWW, vol. 45, 185–86. 68 Thomas J. Knock, To End All Wars: Woodrow Wilson and the Quest for a New World Order (Princeton, NJ, 1992), 154–57. 69 Senate Resolution 145, 65th Congress, Papers relating to specific bills and resolutions, box 55, RG 46 Records of the U.S. Senate, United States National Archives, College Park, Maryland (hereafter USNA). 70 “U.S. Dawdling; Force Needed Now, Brandegee Asserts,” New York Tribune, April 24, 1918, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, accessed August 21, 2017, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. 71 Samuel Dutton to Wadsworth, April 24, 1918, “Case File 128, Turkey,” Wilson Microfilm 220. 72 Charles Vickrey, Secretary of the ACASR to Hitchcock, April 24, 1918, 65th Congress, Committee Papers, Committee on Foreign Relations, box 56, RG 46 Records of the U.S. Senate, USNA. 73 “Wilson Ends Move to Force War on Germany’s Allies,” The Evening World, April 24, 1918, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, accessed August 21, 2017, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. 74 “Roosevelt Urges War on Foe’s Allies,” The New York Times, May 2, 1919, 3. Roosevelt was likely referring to Article 4 of “Hague V” from the 1907 Hague Convention. 75 “Conference with Committee on Foreign Relations on Declaring War on Turkey and Bulgaria,” May 2, 1919, reel 1, MS Lansing, LOC. 76 Lioubmir Michailovich to Lansing, April 23, 1918, PWW, vol. 47, 416–17. 77 Lansing to Walter Hines Page, May 3, 1918, FRUS, 1918, Supplement 1, The World War, file 763.72/9799a, 222. 78 Thomas Nelson Page to Lansing, May 4, 1918, FRUS, 1918, Supplement 1, The World War, file 763.72/9839, 225–26. 79 William Graves Sharp to Lansing, May 8, 1918, FRUS, 1918, Supplement 1, The World War, file 763.72/9904, 229. 80 Official British reply to Lansing’s query, included in Walter Hines Page to Lansing, May 17, 1918, FRUS, 1918, Supplement 1, The World War, file 763.72/10049, 232–33. 81 Bliss (via Sharp) to Lansing, May 7, 1918, FRUS, 1918, Supplement 1, The World War, file 762.72/9893, 227–28. 82 Lansing to Wilson, May 8, 1918, FRUS, The Lansing Papers, 1914–1920, vol. II, file 763.72/9893, 124–6. 83 Lansing to Wilson, May 20, 1918, PWW, vol. 48, 80–81. 84 “From the Diary of Colonel House,” May 19, 1918, PWW, vol. 48, 70. 85 Wilson to Morgenthau, June 14, 1918, reel 8, MS Morgenthau, LOC. 86 Wiseman to Drummond, August 27, 1918, PWW, vol. 49, 365. 87 Drummond to Wiseman, September 12, 1918, PWW, vol. 49, 537; James Renton, “Changing Languages of Empire and the Orient: Britain and the Invention of the Middle East, 1917–1918,” The Historical Journal 50, no. 3 (2007): 645–67. 88 Wilson to Lansing, September 2, 1918, FRUS, The Lansing Papers, 1914–1920, vol. II, file 763.72/13378 ½, 143–44. 89 Gwynne Dyer, “The Turkish Armistice of 1918: 2: A Lost Opportunity: The Armistice Negotiations at Mudros,” International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 8, no. 3 (October 1972): 313–48. Quote on 316. 90 Stephen Roskill, Hankey: Man of Secrets Volume I 1877–1918 (London, 1970), 606. 91 Dodge to Wilson, September 28, 1918, PWW, vol. 51, 151–52. 92 Lodge to Roosevelt, October 2, 1918, reel 7, Lodge-Roosevelt Correspondence, Massachusetts Historical Society. 93 John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace (New York, 1920), 19. 94 Quoted in Knock, To End all Wars, 201. 95 Council of Four, March 20, 1919, in FRUS, Paris Peace Conference, 1919, vol. V, file. 180.03401/101, 8–10. 96 Patrick, America’s Forgotten Middle East Initiative. 97 Quote in George Creel, The War, the World, and Wilson (New York, 1920), 163; Gelvin, Divided Loyalties; Elizabeth Thompson, Colonial Citizens: Republican Rights, Paternal Privilege, and Gender in French Syria and Lebanon (New York, 2000). 98 John Milton Cooper, Breaking the Heart of the World: Woodrow Wilson and the Fight for the League of Nations (Cambridge, MA, 2001). 99 Paul C. Helmreich, From Paris to Sevres: The Partition of the Ottoman Empire at the Peace Conference of 1919–1920 (Columbus, OH, 1974), 186, 284–85, 306–7. 100 Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby to French Ambassador Jean Jules Jusserand, March 24, 1920, FRUS, 1920, vol. III, file 763.72119/9608, 750. 101 Roger Trask, The United States Response to Turkish Nationalism and Reform, 1914–1939 (Minneapolis, MN, 1971). 102 Newton Baker, Why We Went to War (New York, 1936), 61. 103 John Milton Cooper, The Warrior and the Priest: Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt (Cambridge, MA, 1983), 270–71, 303–23. 104 Lloyd Ambrosius, Wilsonian Statecraft: Theory and Practice of Liberal Internationalism during World War I (Lanham, MD, 1991), xv. 105 Cooper, Breaking the Heart of the World, 431. 106 As quoted in Arthur Link, Wilson: Campaigns for Progressivism and Peace, 1916–1917 (Princeton, NJ, 1965), 414. 107 H. W. Brands, “Woodrow Wilson and the Irony of Fate,” Diplomatic History 28, no. 4 (September 2004): 503–12. Quote on 512. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)

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Published: Apr 16, 2018

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