Notes Concerning the Author
Alex Matthews Arnett (1888-1945) was born and raised in Georgia. He received his PhD degree in history from Columbia University in 1922 and worked in South Carolina and North Carolina as a college history professor and a writer of histories on different subjects throughout his career. He was particularly influenced with regard to his approach to the study of and the telling of history by the eminent Charles Beard. In addition to Claude Kitchin and the Wilson War Policies, Arnett wrote Populist Movement in Georgia (1922) and The South Looks at its Past (1935).
Claude Kitchin (1869-1923), a child during Political Reconstruction, was a prominent Representative in Congress from North Carolina who lost his leadership position by exposing and opposing President Woodrow Wilson’s maneuvering to bring the United States into the war in Europe which grew into the horrific “The World War,” which we now call “World War I.” In February 1916, Kitchin wrote: “I think the President is anxious for war with Germany . . . I fear the President is going to watch for the first opportunity to strike at Germany and involve this country in a world-wide war . . . It seems a crime against civilization and humanity for this Christian nation to plunge into the war and make a slaughter-house of the whole world.” In Arnett’s account of Kitchin and his opposition to launching war the reader comes to understand the scheming that brought America into its first World War in which nearly 117.000 American military men were killed. Yet, this number of American dead was far smaller than the toll of the War Between the States, where Federals lost 360,000 dead and Confederates lost 260,000 dead.
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