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Huerta without getting into war. A still more important consequence, the full effect of which was not immediately apparent, was the enormous increase in the confidence felt by Latin America in the good intentions of the Wilson Administration. The acceptance of A-B-C mediation in 1914 made possible the entry of most of the Latin-American powers into the European War in 1917 as allies of the United States. And for a time it was to appear as if this had been about the only tangible profit of the episode; for Carranza presently proved almost as troublesome as Huerta. The Fall of 1914 saw the outbreak of a new civil war between Villa and Carranza, in which Zapata, Villa's ally, for a long time held Mexico City. Obregon's victories in 1915 drove Villa back to his old hunting grounds.
By this time the European war was occupying most of the attention of the American people, but Mexico was a constant irritant. Carranza carried the Presidential art of biting the hand that fed him to an undreamed of height. Wilson, Villa and Obregon had enabled him to displace Huerta, and Obregon had saved him from Villa. Yet he had quarreled with Villa, he was eventually to quarrel with Obregon; and though the United States and the chief Latin-American powers had given him formal recognition in September, 1915, his policy toward Wilson continued to be blended of insult and obstruction. Henry Prather Fletcher, the ablest of the diplomats accredited to Latin-American capitals, had been called back from Santiago de Chile to represent the United States in Mexico; but despite his skill, despite the infinite forbearance of the Administration, Mexico sank deeper and deeper into misery, foreign lives and property were unsafe throughout most of the country, and there was a continuing succession of incidents on the border.
These were the fault of bandits, chiefly of Villa, whose repeated murders of American citizens led to futile attempts to get satisfaction out of Carranza. The culmination of these outrages came on March 9, 1916, when Villa raided across the border, surprised the garrison of Columbus, N. M., and killed some twenty Americans. A punitive expedition of regulars under General Pershing was promptly organized. It pushed about 200 miles into Mexico, destroyed several small parties of Villistas, and wounded Villa himself. But it did not catch him nor any of his principal leaders, and in April outlying parties of Americans came into skirmishing with Carranza forces at Parral and Carrizal. It was evident that further advance meant war with Carranza; and indeed much American sentiment aroused by the capture of American soldiers by Carranzistas, demanded war already. But relations with Germany were very acute at the moment, so Pershing dug in and held his position throughout the Summer and Fall. In May the National Guard was ordered out to protect the border, and remained in position for months without taking active steps.
President Wilson's Appeals for Mediation Formal offer of mediation to all belligerents August 5, 1914. German proposal of peace conference, December 12, 1916. President's appeal to the belligerents to state their terms, Decem
ber 18, 1916. German refusal to state terms, December 26, 1916. Allied statement of war aims, January 11, 1917. . President's "peace without victory” speech, January 22, 1917. Notification of unrestricted submarine war, January 31, 1917. Diplomatic relations with Germany broken, February 3, 1917. Declaration of war, April 6, 1917.
The Mexican policy of the Administration was one of the chief points of attack during the campaign of 1916, but the re-election of President Wilson and the progress of events in Europe presently threw the issue into the background. In February and March, 1917, when war with Germany seemed inevitable, the expeditionary force under Pershing was recalled.
Carranza's pro-Germanism, or rather anti-Americanism, was hardly disguised during the war, and the confiscatory policy of his Administration in dealing with foreign oil and mineral properties threatened to do much damage to American interests. When the war in Europe had ended, the question of Mexico once more came back to the foreground of attention. Carranza's Administration had not been stained by so much guilt as Huerta's, and the opposition to it was on the scale of banditry rather than revolution; but Mexico was far worse off after years of the war than it had been in 1913, and disregard of American rights was still the cardinal policy of the Government. Carranza's security, however, was illusory. In the Spring of 1920 Presidential elections were announced at last, and Carranza’a attempt to force Ygnacio Bonillas, his Ambassador in Washington, into the Presidential chair led to a revolt which eventually attracted the leadership of Obregon. Carranza fled from Mexico City and was murdered on May 22, 1920, and, after the interim Presidency of Adolfo de la Huerta, Obregon came into office in the Fall.
The European War, 1914-1910
W H EN in the last week of July, 1914, a war of unparalleled
intensity and magnitude suddenly fell upon a world which
for forty years had been enjoying unprecedented well-being and security, the practically unanimous sentiment of Americans was gratitude that we were not involved. The President's first
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questions, people, or of' sas in name.set that the co
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steps, a formal proclamation of neutrality and equally formal tender of mediation to the belligerents, “either now or at any other time that might be thought more suitable,” had general approval.
But a sharp division of sentiment showed itself when, on August -18, he issued an address to the American people warning against partisan sympathies and asking that Americans be "impartial in thought as well as in action,” in order that the country might be “neutral in fact as well as in name.” The great majority of the American people, or of such part of it as held opinions on public questions, had already made up their minds about the war, and most of the others were in process of being convinced. Some of them had made up their minds from racial sympathies, but others had thought things out. And among these last, particularly, there was a revolt against the assumption that in the presence of such issues any impartiality of thought was possible.
Moreover, the world-wide extent of the war, and the closer inter-relations of nations which had grown up in recent years, made almost from the first a series of conflicts between the interests of the United States and those of one or the other set of belligerents. Preservation of neutrality against continual petty infractions was hard, and was rendered harder by the active sympathy felt for the different belligerents by many Americans. A further complication came from the growing feeling that America's military and naval forces were far from adequate for protection in a world where war was after all possible. The Autumn of 1914 saw the beginningfor better national preparedness, and counter to that the rise of organized peace-at-any-price sentiment which from the first drew much support from pro-German circles.
The President appeared to incline toward the pacifists. He called the discussion of preparedness “good mental exercise,” and referred to some of its advocates as “nervous and excitable,” and in the message to Congress in December, 1914, he took the position that American armaments were quite sufficient for American needs. In this it was apparent that he was opposed by a large part of the American people; how large no one could yet say. But the Congressional elections of 1914 had conveyed a warning to the Democrats. They were left with a majority in both houses, but the huge preponderance obtained in 1912 had disappeared. And the reason was even more alarming than the fact; the Progressive Party almost faded off the map in the election of 1914. Most of the voters who had been Republicans before the Chicago Convention of 1912 were Republicans once again. Of the Progressive Party, there was nothing much left but the leaders, and many of these were obviously thinking of going back to the old home.
The Government had already had occasion to protest against British interference with allied commerce when, on February 4, 1915, the Germans proclaimed the waters about the British Isles