Today my wife and I toured the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library Museum. Wilson, you may remember, was a president who sought peace and prosperity, yet was drawn into The Great War, what became known as World War One. The war itself introduced the world to modern mechanized armies, gas attacks, trench warfare, and many other bad ways to kill each other. The silver linings included an effort to avoid future wars (didn’t work). Wilson’s League of Nations was not supported by the US congress, and though other countries tried, it floundered. The ending of this first world war only made central Europe smolder until new leaders arose to bring about a larger war, one that was truely a World War.
On a personal note, Wilson increased America’s standing armed forces from under two hundred thousand to over two million. This gave plenty of people work (excluding the ten percent or so who either didn’t come back, or didn’t come back whole), and ultimately led to my own ability to receive a monthly retirement check for my own service in the military.