The Great War, the Global War that we now call World War I, had reached a ceasefire. In the months and years that followed, the victorious allies would rearrange the boundaries of much of the globe, uprooting peoples and nations in a fragile peace that set the stage for World War II.
This year marks the centenary of the Armistice and a reminder that the old is ever new. In 1821, John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State and future president said our young republic would be the friend of liberty and independence everywhere, but the vindicator and champion only of our own. America, said Adams, "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy." Otherwise, she might gain an empire and, in the process, lose her soul.
America in the 20th century forgot the warning of Adams, and those of his father, the first President Adams, along with the wise counsel of George Washington, who urged his countrymen to stay out of Europe's many and endless wars. And it was Thomas Jefferson who, in his first Inaugural Address, called for "peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none."