.. tic he knew to bring Hughes down. Hughes was called the “war candidate”(Biography of Woodrow Wilson). Later, Wilson would even use the slogan “Wilson and Peace with Honor, or Hughes with Roosevelt and War?(Internet 1)” So Wilson did what he had to do in order to stay in office. By 1916, Wilson began to realize where his country stood in relation to those that were fighting.
He had been paying attention to the press to see the results of the events that were unfolding. In particular, the Battle of the Somme struck President Wilson with deep concern. At this battle, the British were on the offensive against the Germans. The British command called for a five day assualt with heavy cannon. After the shelling, the soldiers were expected to simply walk over claim the land. The offensive failed and as a result, the British suffered casualties near 70,000 in just a few days time.
At that time, the United States military personel numbered less than 150,000. The United States, at that rate, would have only been able to last for a few days if they entered the war. This brings us to the main point of this article; Wilson had to get his armed forces up in numbers without breaking his campaign promise to his people. How was Wilson suppossed to do this? The answer was Pancho Villa. Pancho Villa was a very predictable man.
After the events down in Agua Prieta, Villa was on a one course action, death to all Americans. Villa made his first move in January of 1916. Engineers from El Paso were on their way to open up a mine down in Mexico. They had been given assurances that there was nothing to fear. While enroute by way of rail, the engineers were stopped and pulled off the train. All were put down on their knees and shot in the back of the head.
Villa had begun to deliver his promise to the Americans. Wilson was aware of this. All he had to do was to wait for the right moment. Wilson’s chance came in early March of 1916. Sometime around the 6th of March, U.S. intelligence began to send reports to Washington that Villa and his men had been seen along the border near Columbus.
These reports would continue up until the 9th of March when Villa finally made his attack. Although history plays the attack as a suprise, events leading up to the attack suggest that the U.S. government knew of Villa’s location and intentions. Just prior to the attack, Lieutenant George Patton, who was being stationed at Columbus, was ordered, along with the remaining officers, to leave for a polo match near Deming, New Mexico. Patton would later remark in his diary that he had never played the sport before.
Also, when the attack did occur, the press made a big deal about the machine guns being still in their storage cases. Had Columbus known of Villa’s location, it would have been likely that the machine guns would probably had been readied. Throughout his presidency, Wilson showed a pattern of bullying and deception, and great desire to involve the American people in wars that they had no desire to get into. The first example is Mexico. Wilson had an intense personal hatred of Mexico’s President, General Victotiano Huerta, because he had suppressed a left-wing revolution. This hatred led Wilson to try to provoke a war with Mexico. He got his chance when a small number of Americans where arrested in Mexican port of Tampico.
Knowing that Wilson was looking for an exuse for war, Huerta immediately ordered the release of the Americans, and personally apologized to them for the incident. But Wilson would not let the situation end at that. He demanded more apologies, and even worse demanded that some of the Mexicans involved salute the American flag! Imagine if you were a soldier in the American Army and were ordered by a foreign leader to salute a foreign flag. Of course the Mexicans refused, so Wilson got his chance to start a war, and launched a surprise attack on the barely defended Mexican city of Vera Cruz. Fortunately for the youth of both countries, Huerta was not as eager for war as Wilson. So he got several Latin American governments to intercede.
Wilson demanded that any peace be on the condition of Huerta stepping down as president of Mexico. Showing how much more of a man Huerta was than Wilson, Huerta agreed to Wilson’s demands rather than allowing the war to continue. The results of Wilson’s warmongering were disastrous for Mexico. The Wilson-backed regime who came to power after Huerta stepped down was too weak to hold his country together, and Mexico fell into civil war. In a five month period Mexico City changed hands six times.
The notorious Mexican bandit Pancho Villa almost got control of Mexico in the struggle. Eventually the Wilson-backed regime of Venustiano Carranzo emerged on top, but it was too weak to suppress Villa, who led multiple raids into the United States. Wilson, ever the mummer of Mars, used Villa’s raids into the United States to justify savage incursions by the US Army into Mexico, which did little more than make Villa a hero to the people of northern Mexico. The Spanish-American War is often offered up as an example of American imperialism. But Haiti is a much better one.
Haiti also vividly illustrates Wilson’s true character which he was so effective in hiding from the public. Wilson thought France and Germany were becoming too influential in Haiti, and for this reason invaded that sovereign republic that neither did nor wanted to do any act hostile to the United States. Soon after the marines had secured control of Haiti, Wilson had a puppet government set up, and forced it to elect Phillippe Dartiguenave president. Next, Wilson tired to force his puppets to sign a treaty that would essentially cede Haitian sovereignty to the United States. But the puppets would not submit, so Wilson declared martial law and made Admiral Caperton the absolute dictator over all of Haiti. Wilson again tried to force the Haitian government to submit to the same humiliating treaty by withholding the salaries of all government employees until they complied.
They finally gave in. Wilson then held a show election for a constitutional assembly. When the assembly met, Wilson simply had his military commanders order the delegates to ratify his own constitution. They bravely refused, and are heroes as much as those who took the Tennis Court Oath more than a century earlier; but the American general in command, General Cole, dissolved the assembly, and decided to hold a referendum on it. It was absurd, a type of election that Stalin would have approved of, with armed soldiers at every polling place, making sure every Haitian that might try to vote against the American imposed constitution saw the error of his decision. So much for Wilson the lover of democracy.
Afterwards Haiti became an dictatorship under the American military. The corvee was soon revived, and slavery returned to our Hemisphere. The American military commanders used Haitian slave labor mainly to build roads, which would allow them to quickly move troops to suppress any resistance to American rule. During a revolt against the American system of forced labor and military occupation, the Marine Corps reports it killed 3250 Haitians(History of Haiti). President Wilson in 1916 established a military dictatorship over the Dominican Republic. Wilson also had the marines occupy and subdue large part of Nicaragua at that government’s request.
President Woodrow Wilson has been marked for his great issue of foreign poilicy. Latin America was effected greatly by all the policies that were promoted by President Wilson. Although some of his ideas were denied, such as the League of Nations, his effort to unite the nations has made a big impact on American and Latin American history. Woodrow Wilson is the president with the greatest intervention in Latin America.