The United States is an established 'superpower' nation of the world in the turn of 20th century. In the 20th century American society, numerous events had led to the creation of the American image, where the country played a significant role in influencing and affecting decisions in domestic and international politics. In America, the President plays the essential role of analyzing and deciding on solutions that will involve the country and society in participating on crucial events and situations, domestically or internationally.
The United States shows in its history the vital role of the President as the decision-maker and leader of a society stricken with socio-political conflict and civil strife domestically and internationally. In 1914, Woodrow Wilson, as America's 28th president faced the crucial decision in involving the U.S. In the First World War, and breaking the country's strict Neutrality Program. Similarly, the onslaught of World War II and development and production of the atomic bomb led to millions of death in Japan when Harry Truman decided to drop the atomic bomb in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Lastly, John F. Kennedy, in the Cuba missile crisis, managed to avoid an impending nuclear war with Russia (then the Soviet Union) when it started constructing missile deployments in Cuba.
The three U.S. presidents had all taken part in crucial events and moments in American history; their political leadership determined the positive and negative images that the U.S. had been portrayed for many years. This paper discusses how the political leadership of Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, and John F. Kennedy were influenced by two important elements that dictate the essence of societal development: the society and development of technology. Thus, this paper posits that increased public opinion for or against a socio-political issue and advancements in technology and communications greatly influenced the decisions of these three U.S. presidents, leading to either a negative or a positive feedback on the image of America as a nation and political power.
In the first case, that of Woodrow Wilson's decision to join the Allied forces in fighting Germany in the First World War marks how American public opinion influences political decisions made during times of conflict. Initially, when the war broke out among European nations, and eventually pitting Germany against Britain, the U.S. maintained a neutral stance. Although an ally of the Britain, Wilson saw no reason to join the war, since no offensive attack had been done against the U.S. However, U.S. neutrality meant the maintenance of sea trade between the two warring countries: Britain and Germany. Seeking to destroy Britain's source of goods necessary for the country, Germany attacked the Lusitania through its U-boats in 1915. Although most of the dead were British, almost a hundred of the victims of the said attack were of American nationality.
The attack on Lusitania enraged the Americans, and strong public opinion urged Wilson to join the Allied forces in fighting Germany in the world war. Indeed, Wilson adopted an anti-Germany stance, although did not participate directly in the war. As election loomed, however, Wilson, as a re-electionist, opted to use his role as the 'peacekeeper,' or the anti-war president. Although he was not a popular candidate during the 1916 elections, Wilson won by gaining solid votes from the Southern and Western regions of the country. Using his campaign slogan and program in the election, Wilson became bolder in his decision to propagate peace in a period of strife and conflict, although he had not resolved yet to join the war in full-scale. However, news of a possible Germany-Mexico offensive attack against…
Sources Used in Document:
Baloyra, E. (1993). Conflict and Change in Cuba. NM:University of New Mexico.
Kennedy, R. (1999). Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis. NY:W.W. Norton.