The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, Volume 47
March 13-May 12, 1918
Woodrow Wilson
Edited by Arthur S. Link

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The nine weeks covered here are a transitional period in Wilson's conduct of the war and see the emergence of the War Industries Board, the so-called War Cabinet, and the National War Labor Board. Administration forces rally behind the Overman bill. Wilson quiets an outcry against the Aircraft Production Board and deals with problems such as the fixing of prices of basic commodities; requests for federal assistance from farmers and livestock growers; the transportation system, leasing of public lands to oil companies; and alleviation of the housing shortage in Washington. He also blocks a bill for the trial by special military tribunals of persons charged with disloyalty.

Meanwhile, peace with Austria-Hungary is discussed, but Wilson believes that Germany is not prepared for a general settlement. In late March, the Germans begin their long-awaited spring offensive on the western front. The Allies turn to Wilson for help, and a compromise among Americans and Allies grants Pershing some control over his forces, while postponing the formation of an independent American army in France. France and Britain want an intervention in Siberia by Japan, but Wilson is resolute in his opposition to this move.

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