Entering World War One against Germany was America's greatest blunder of the 20th century. America had no reason to join the 3-year-old struggle. By sending two million doughboys to the Western Front, America shattered the battlefield stalemate, allowing Britain and France to impose a devastating peace on Germany, thus igniting toxic German cries for revenge. Absent America's entry into the war, the exhausted combatants would have sought a peace of compromise. There would have been no victor, no vanquished, no Versailles Treaty, no German demands for revenge, no Hitler and surely no World War II and even no Cold War.
The tale of how America stumbled into war is told by America's Greatest Blunder. It chronicles America's journey from sensible neutrality to its war declaration. It then describes how legions of doughboys won the war, giving victory to Britain and France - thus launching the young century on its course of decades of unprecedented violence.
AMERICA'S GREATEST BLUNDER: The Fateful Decision to Enter World War One 4 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
There are many people in this nation who wouldn’t be terribly enthusiastic about reading yet another history lesson regarding the ‘War to End All Wars.’ And I admit, at first I was hesitant too. However, this is the first on the subject I’ve read that is both engaging and educational, while also providing a powerful look at what could have happened if historical decisions had been different.
Author Burton Yale Pines asks the intriguing question: What if the United States had not entered the war in 1917? This was a time when the war had already been going on for three years, why then? This idea is explored and it shows that when the US entered the war it became 'America’s Greatest Blunder,' bringing about negative effects that would change the course of history. The United States originally felt that the country should not get involved, but this eventually evolved into us leaping into the war on the side of the British. To complicate matters, this was a time when many Americans were not terribly fond of the British.
Readers will be glad to know that the author is a fascinating narrator; it feels as if you are sitting in his living room having a conversation. He does not try to belittle or confuse, nor does he fling the idea that America’s entrance into the war was a horrible notion but rather tells, in his own words, why he feels that way. Mr. Pines simply tells of the war; how the war started and why; what happened before the entry of the US and after; and, surprise, surprise, how the wealthy skillfully managed the population into sending American soldiers into a war when most didn’t want that to happen.
Mr. Pines really grabs your attention at this part in his narrative. Anyone, even those who are not history buffs, can understand why the nation was dragged into war. Not a lot of time was spent in the book going over and over the actual strategic fighting; a far more in-depth look is given about the dislike between Commander General Black Jack Pershing of the US and the commanders of British and French forces as well as the fact that the Germans failed in their last attempt to take command. The most important point made is that if the US had not entered the war, the Germans and the Allies (Britain and France) would have probably just stopped fighting as they were dead in the water. The Allies were tired of war and to top it all off the Russians had withdrawn and now had their finger in another pie – helping Germany. If the US had not come into the war, which they didn’t really have to because the interests of the US were not in any jeopardy, peace between Britain, France and Germany would probably have happened and the countries would have put their issues at rest. Instead, the surrender terms on Germany brought the world directly into a legacy of hate that would explode in the future with the German Nazi’s and the Communist Russians.
This book is a wonderful study of World War I and there are not a lot of people, still living, who know very much about it. The author did a great job of research and it would be a fantastic school history book.
Quill says: All readers should pick up this book and read it from cover to cover. The author is an insightful narrator who makes readers truly re-think the decisions made in America’s past.
More than 1 year ago
One of my great-grandfathers served in WWI and because of that ( and because I love history) I've always been intrigued with WWI history. However, I didn't know a lot about it. In America's Greatest Blunder Pines gives a new perspective to the War To End All Wars. I found the material very intriguing. Once I got into it I found it hard to put the book down. The one little problem I had was the author tended to repeat some of the information. However, it wasn't distracting and I immensely enjoyed the book.
* I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
More than 1 year ago
More than 1 year ago
As we move towards a century of time separating us from the events of World War One, it is inevitable that many writers will grace us with their opinions of the meaning of the events and their retelling from new and interesting angles. In this well-written and carefully argued book, author Burton Yale Pines contributes to the re-evaluation by considering the role of America in the final years of the Great War. He has two purposes in this book: the first is to tell the story of how the USA came to enter the war on the side of the Allies (which was far from certain) and, second, to make the case that this was, as the title explains, 'America's greatest blunder.' His principal argument is that without American intervention the principal combatants would have exhausted themselves and been forced to make some kind of compromise peace agreement that would have prevented the rise of Nazi Germany and, hence, the Second World War. There are, without doubt, many Americans who will agree with this analysis and, indeed, the isolationist tendency has a lengthy tradition in the country.
When reading a work of history, one of my first tasks (and one I followed here as I was sent this book for review) is to examine the list of sources employed and the nature of the footnotes. I like footnotes - not everyone does, of course, but their presence signals to me that I am dealing with history and not journalism - according to his bio details, author Pines is a trained historian and a working journalist, so he will be quite aware of the differences between the two forms. In this case, the list of sources is lengthy and includes not just books but some academic journal articles, correspondence and contemporaneous materials. All of the sources appear to be in English but that is not unusual and there are one or two translated pieces. The heavy use of historians such as Niall Ferguson and Liddell Hart will give further evidence of the kind of thinking that infuses the book. The footnotes are contained at the back of the book and do the job they are required to do. All of this is very reassuring.
World War One remains one of the most important events in modern human history and an addition to the literature covering it that is straightforward and readable and with clear aims is always to be welcomed. Burton Yale Pines has certainly succeeded in his attempt to write such a book and he deserves a wide readership for his efforts. There are, of course, different interpretations of the events possible. For example, it would be possible to argue that America entered the war to protect its overseas colonies and commercial interests, to expand its power in Europe and to suppress the growing possibility of popular revolutions at home and abroad. However, it is clear what the author thinks and he makes as much of his case as might reasonably be expected.