The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, Volume 46
January 16-March 12, 1918
Woodrow Wilson

Edited by Arthur S. Link


Wilson and his administration find themselves in a "winter crisis," set off by the Fuel Administrator's limitations on use of coal by manufacturing and business concerns. Soon afterward, the administration's critics, led by Senator George E. Chamberlain, demand the creation of a super war cabinet to take control of the war effort from Wilson. Wilson defends his Secretary of War; oversees the drafting of the Overman bill; appoints Bernard M. Baruch head of the War Industries Board; and rallies Senate forces to defeat the Chamberlain bill.

Meanwhile, the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister and American diplomats negotiate secretly for a separate peace between Austria-Hungary and the United States and the Allies. Wilson goes before a joint session of Congress on February 11 to continue his dialogue with the leaders of the Central Powers. The Germans reply, on March 3, 1918, by imposing the punitive Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on a prostrate Russia. Wilson stands firm in opposing any Japanese move into Siberia; he sends a message of friendship to the fourth All-Russia Congress of Soviets. As the volume ends, he corresponds with Emperor Charles through the King of Spain about the possibilities of a separate peace for Austria-Hungary.

First published in 1984.

Arthur S. Link is Professor of American History, Princeton University.