Thursday, July 1, 2010

Historical Usage of New World Order

Historical Usage

The phrase “new world order” was first explicitly used in connection with Woodrow Wilson’s designs in the period just after World War I, during the formation of the League of Nations. The “war to end all wars” had been a powerful catalyst in international politics, and many felt the world could simply no longer operate as it once had. The First World War had been justified not only in terms of US national interest but in moral terms—to “make the world safe for democracy.” After the war, Wilson argued for a new world order which transcended traditional great power politics, instead emphasizing collective security, democracy, and self-determination. However, the United States Senate rejected membership of the League of Nations, which Wilson believed to be the key to a new world order. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge argued that American policy should be based on human nature “as it is, not as it ought to be.”

Roosevelt and Churchill during the meeting that would result in the Atlantic Charter, precursor the Bretton Woods system.

The term fell from use when it became clear the League was not living up to the over-optimistic expectation, and as a consequence was used very little during the formation of the United Nations. Former UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim felt that this new world order was a projection of the American dream into Europe, and that, in its naïveté, the idea of a new order had been used to further the parochial interests of Lloyd George and Clemenceau, thus ensuring the League’s eventual failure. Although some have claimed the phrase was not used at all, Virginia Gildersleeve, the sole female delegate to the San Francisco Conference in April 1945.

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