The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, Volume 61
June 18-July 25, 1919
Woodrow Wilson

Edited by Arthur S. Link & David W. Hirst


Beginning with Wilson's tour of Belgium, this volume then moves to the last days of the peace conference. A great wave of relief sweeps over council chambers in Paris when a new German government sends word that it will accept the peace treaty unconditionally: restoration of peace occurs with the signing of the treaty in the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles on June 28. That same night Wilson boards his train for Brest to return to the United States on the George Washington. The voyage provides a period of leisure for Wilson, but there are signs that his strength has been strained beyond endurance. On board ship he tries and fails to compose one of the most important speeches of his life--an address to the Senate to accompany his presentation of the treaty to that body. On his return he manages to complete it only hours before delivering it on July 10. And he responds equivocally to the challenge--the greatest in his career as a legislative leader--to create a solid pro-League coalition and outmaneuver his opponent, Henry Cabot Lodge, who seems bent on blocking American membership in the League of Nations. Then, on July 19, Wilson suffers what is most likely a small stroke. It disorients and disables him, and, as this volume ends, he is still without any strategy to assure ratification of the treaty. Publication of Volume 61 ends the Peace Conference Volumes, which began with Volume 53.

First published in 1989.