A Final Roar: In One of His Last Letters, Theodore Roosevelt Blasts Woodrow Wilson

January 3, 1919

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A Final Roar: In One of His Last Letters, Theodore Roosevelt Blasts Woodrow Wilson
Typed Letter Signed
1 page | SMC 1256

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      Background

      Even dying, the old lion could roar – and here he does, shaking the branches with his contempt for Woodrow Wilson:
       
      I have frequently erred in judgment and have said so; that unlike Mr. Wilson, I have never erred in intellectual honesty and moral straight-forwardness… as regards Mr. Wilson I never erred but once and that was on the occasion in question, when for the first sixty days after the outbreak of the World War I heartily supported him.  This was a mistake, but it was a generous mistake from proper motives. I have never erred when I opposed him
       
      From Wilson to the Kaiser is just a skip and a jump for Roosevelt, as he answers how he could praise the German military machine in the face of the horrors it inflicted:
       
      Now, as to your own question, when you say you can’t understand my admiring the military efficiency of the German nation. Personally, I cannot understand any human being failing both to admire the military efficiency and to view with horror and indignation the use to which that efficiency was put. Efficiency in any line from war to business, is a curse if it is not guided by moral sense.
       
      Roosevelt dictated this blast from a sofa, which he could not even rise from to take his meals at the table. Still, he was working, contending, busy beating back death – which managed to take him asleep, in the early morning hours of the 6th.

      Death had to take him sleeping, Vice President Marshall remarked, for if he had been awake, TR might have won the fight.


      Typed Letter Signed (“T. Roosevelt”), 1 page, quarto, on the letterhead of The Kansas City Star, New York Office, but written from Sagamore Hill, Oyster Bay, New York, January 3, 1919.  With typed transmittal envelope To Mr. Carroll E. Armstrong in Clinton, Iowa.
       
      Also present is Armstrong’s 2 page TLS to Roosevelt, dated December 28, 1918, which elicited the response cited above.
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