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He had visited Europe only twice before, as a tourist, and now delayed the peace conference in order to make a triumphant tour of European capitals.
Moreover, the Democrats lost their Senate majority in the elections of November 1918, yet Wilson refused to include prominent Republicans in his delegation.
Such governments still practiced an old diplomacy of secret alliances, militarism, and balance of power politics that bred distrust, suspicion, and conflict.
France alone in 1914 had not chosen war, but had been summarily attacked.
France had provided the major battleground, suffered the most physical damage, and sacrificed a generation of manhood.
Ethnic hatreds and rivalries could not be expunged at a stroke, and their persistence hindered the effort to draw or redraw dozens of boundaries, including those of the successor states emerging from the Habsburg empire.
In the colonial world the war among the imperial powers gave a strong impetus to nationalist movements.
European statesmen learned quickly to couch their own demands in Wilsonian rhetoric and to argue their cases on grounds of “justice” rather than power politics.