There is a great principle we can learn from the history of the United States involvement in WWI. As WWI dragged on in carnage of endless death, England, France, and Germany (and their corresponding allies) were about ready to call it a draw, by 1915, and end the horrific kill inflicted on both sides. Even though this would limit any of the participating nations to call for an unconditional surrender and dictate peace terms. However, if either side could convince the United States to join with them then they would most likely win and be in a position to dictate the terms of any peace treaty. Hence, the great pressure put on the United States and President Woodrow Wilson to enter the war. Up to 1917, the U.S. had the good sense to stay out of a war that was primarily over territory to increase the size of nation’s empires.
One event stands out that persuades President Wilson to embrace the ideology of WWI on the side of England. One of the successful weapons of the Germans was the development and use of its U-boats – submarines. By early 1915, Germany had declared the seas around the British Isles a war zone and warned they would sink any allied ships without warning. Germany went as far as to place advertisements in 50 U.S. newspapers, including New York, of the impending danger of sailing on English liners. As the British liner The Lusitania made its return voyage to London with about 128 American passengers aboard, a German U-boat sank it on May 7, 1915 in the declared war zone.
The killing of 128 Americans outraged America and its President – why? Were not Americans warned of the impending dangers and that the waters around Brittan were a war zone declared by the Germans? This event and President Wilson ego that he could be the one to bring peace to the world cause President Woodrow Wilson to begin mobilizing the United States for war on the side of England, eventually leading to the defeat of Germany and her allies. As good as it is to bring any war to a conclusion, the point that often gets missed from this time in history is that because the U.S. enters the war England win, thus enabling it and Franc the ability to dictate the unconditional terms of the treaty of Versailles. The terms of the Versailles treaty – two of which blamed Germany for the war and requiring it to pay all cost to the winning nations – were a direct result causing the conditions for the rise of Hitler and WWII. This unintended consequence of WWI Jim Powel clearly pointes out in his book, Wilson’s War: How Woodrow Wilson’s Great Blunder Led to Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, and World War II.
Every decision has consequences and some unintended. Without giving proper thought to the consequences of our choices, we may regret not only the possible foreseen consequences but the unintended ones that can haunt us for a life time.
Principle: We must take the time to ponder and think through our choices to avoid the negative consequences that cannot only bring us pain and sorrow, but also to others.Application: Sometimes our children make bad choices because they have not thought through the possible consequences of those choices. Research has shown that one of the last parts of the brain to develop is the area that deals with being able to see and connect the consequences to our choices, which development is not complete by the teen years. Hence, children from the very young through the teen years need parental guidance in this area. On a piece of paper, make three columns. Title the first column choices, the second positive consequences, and the third negative consequences. In the choice column, write down different choices your child or teenager could make on a given day. As you go through different scenarios, have your child come up with the possible positive or negative consequences that could come about (realistically). Discuss with them why those consequences would possible happen and the impact they could have up on their lives. This is not just a one shot lesson and then all is well. Use this exercise may times throughout their lives to help them begin to see the connection between choices and consequences, and the effects they will cause. It is important that you take time to do this exercise with hypothetical situations so the child does not feel threatened and feel free to discuss. Then as they make choices that may lead to negative consequences you can discuss with them at that moment about them in a more meaningful way because you have given them a framework to work from.
For more principles and values to live by and how to teach them to your children see www.whowillteachthechildren.com