Jim Powell

US Entry in WWI Caused WWII


Jim Powell, senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of Wilson’s War: How Woodrow Wilson’s Great Blunder Led to Hitler, Lenin, Stalin and World War II, explains that it was American intervention, not a lack thereof, that created the circumstances which led to the Second World War and the unbroken chain of U.S. intervention overseas from Woodrow Wilson’s breaking of the stalemate of 1917.

MP3 here. (39:20)

Jim Powell, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, is an expert in the history of liberty. He has lectured in England, Germany, Japan, Argentina and Brazil as well as at Harvard, Stanford and other universities across the United States. He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Esquire, Audacity/American Heritage and other publications.

He is the author of several books, including The Triumph of Liberty, A 2,000 Year History Told Through The Lives Of Freedom’s Greatest Champions (Free Press, 2000), FDR’s Folly, How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression (2003), Wilson’s War, How Woodrow Wilson’s Great Blunder Led To Hitler, Lenin, Stalin And World War II (2005) and Bully Boy, The Truth About Theodore Roosevelt’s Legacy (2006).

Author: Scott Horton

Scott Horton is editorial director of Antiwar.com, director of the Libertarian Institute, host of Antiwar Radio on Pacifica, 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles, California and podcasts the Scott Horton Show from ScottHorton.org. He’s the author of the 2017 book, Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan and editor of The Great Ron Paul: The Scott Horton Show Interviews 2004–2019. He’s conducted more than 5,000 interviews since 2003. Scott lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, investigative reporter Larisa Alexandrovna Horton. He is a fan of, but no relation to the lawyer from Harper’s. Scott’s Twitter, YouTube, Patreon.

16 thoughts on “Jim Powell”

  1. In the summer of 1914, the western civilization put a gun to its head and pulled the trigger. But civilizations don’t die as quickly as human beings do, so we find ourselves in the middle of what looks to be about 200 years, from the summer of 1914 onward, of the pathetic twitchings of the expiring corpse.

    Sorry. Wish I had better news for you. At least there’s still whiskey and cigars to console you.

    1. yeah, I’ve always thought it happened with Kennedy – but maybe that was just the body trying to revive itself..

      but we’re definitely on the verge of becoming a zombie bent on eating brains of other countries..

  2. For some reason I’m not able to listen to the Powell interview. It keeps saying “error opening file.” I would like to listen to this, please fix it.



  3. America's intervention in the European fratricide of the 'great' war in 1917 was the greatest mistake the U.S. ever made. America GAINED ABSOLUTELY NOTHING from it and it ended any possibility of a negotiated, rather then dictated peace. But pompous, arrogant, egomaniac Wilson just had to be the "man", strutting his stuff on the international stage. Sometimes a little bit of humility is not a bad thing.

  4. Powell is correct. World War Two was blowback for World War One and the Versailles Treaty. Rather than being a testimonial for US intervention, these two wars are an indictment. In both of these wars the United States emerged less secure.

  5. Vincente Fox knows cocky when he sees it.

    If I hear WW2 called the “good war” or the generation which fought it “the greatest generation” one more time I’ll barf–and I’m a member of that generation and was in the war. It’s only distinction is being an even greater disaster than WW1, not easily done.

    There are no good wars, least of all the most destructive war ever.

  6. Thank you for telling your reaction to Roosevelt’s War, John. Indeed, Eugene Debbs got it right about Wilson’s War, although I am still dismayed about the number of years he was imprisoned becuase of his righteous stand. We remember all three of them well.

  7. Powell doesn’t quite put the nail on the head. Then as now, Presidents are mightily influenced by the powerful elite. Only a few years before, The Fed Reserve (FR) was created by a few powerful men. Also, America went off the gold standard, and demanded upon threat of arrest all the gold held by citizens. This was the biggest theft in world history, and the most maasive consolidation of power in history. Citizens were raped and left with paper only – the purchasing power of which has steadily declined. Anyway….

    The FR is private corporation, yet the the USA government allows it to control the money supply. Wilson jumped into WW1 becasue he was “persuaded” to by the money men. Wall Street funded both sides of the war indirectly by extending credit, and thereby hedging its risk for capital and interest. (the first hedge fund).

    Same occurred in WW2. Wall Street, via Union Bank, funded IG Farben for example, which provided arms and funding to the Nazis. Same for Korea. Same for Vietnam. Same for Israel. Same for Iraq – for which the payback from Iraq exceeds all other conflicts prior. Same for Iran, next. Prescott Bush, grandfather of your pres Bush, was a director of Union Bank and the FR. Also, father Bush is heavily tied to Saudi oil. Bush Jr is simply along for the ride, having accomplished nothing of any import. – and this is where he danger for the rest of us lies, as proven now by Iraq.

    The Bush family is heavily tied to money supply, oil, and defense contracting. Bush family is using America for its personal gains, yet few oppose – because too many power people make money from the conficts and presidential favours.

    So, yes Powell is correct, but he does not analyse WHY the USA went to war. History does repeat whenever the elite stand to gain and the structures exist to permit them to gain. Wars will end either: when the structures change; or the people regain their purchasing power by using anything other than paper money. Neither are likely to occur without armed revolution, and Washington has used its military on its own people – a military no citizen group could stand up to. So Americans and the rest of the world can continue to look forward to war after war after war.

    Antiwar.com and radio are great mediums! But more is needed than a simple antiwar protest.

  8. So glad to learn about this book. It is something I've realized for 10 years (I'm 70) but it took time as our Western Christian ethos is so interventionist. In France in September I dared make this suggestion but they've been trained to think that America saved them.

    in a conversation with a young student from Pakistan I finally realized that had Gandhi not given up on Indian unity things might have been quite different

  9. My thoughts exactly. To paraphrase an old song: “Just wishing and hoping and thinking and praying, planning and dreaming…” ain’t gonna get it done folks.

    I have been saying for years that you can talk & write about Bushco, the Neocons, the government in general and their various crimes and misdeeds until you run out of breath or your fingers fall off. Guess what? They don’t care because they know that although it will bother them, it will not hurt them to any great degree.

    About the only peaceful process left to the American people is the ballot box. Vote all of the usual suspects out of office at every opportunity. Quit getting your news from the corporate rags, radio and television.

    The next step is to take a lesson from Gandhi and proceed with civil disobedience. Sure, it will cost us all something but it will be worth it in order to change the current status quo which if left unchecked, will lead America to eventual disaster.

  10. Wilson was not the Disaster. The Disaster was Abraham Lincoln … who changed a voluntary union into a disiplined Federal Republic, providing the power tools to whacko Wilson. The proof is Switzerland, that practiced yodeling, drinking good German beer, playing with the Swiss ladies, and watching newreels of the Americans on Omaha Beach, while the rest of Europe stacked the best blood of two generations on the wire. Interesting is the WW2 Swiss, with the first (analog) computer controled anti-aircraft guns … a couple dozen 88mm long-barreled guns in each battery. The Swiss techs took their pay in gold, and beat it across the border ahead of Patton … who did not follow them.

  11. No war has a single cause but there are special interests and political agendas lurking beneath the rhetorical surface. Rothbard’s treatment on the influence of Wall Street and the Banks in embroiling the US in the First World War is a must read.

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