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This Happened

This Happened—December 4: Woodrow Wilson Makes A Historic Trip

Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, serving from 1913 to 1921, during a period when the U.S. came into its role as a global power. His accomplishments would include the first-ever presidential trip to Europe.

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Why did Woodrow Wilson go to Europe?

At the end of World War I, Wilson created the League of Nations, the first international organization whose role was to maintain world peace. To attend the Paris Peace Conference following the War, Wilson became the first U.S. president in office to visit Europe. At the time, it required a nine-day Ocean journey from New Jersey to Brittany.

What was the Paris Peace Conference?

The Paris Peace Conference was called to set the terms of the peace after World War I. About 30 nations participated, but the conference was dominated by the “Big Four”: Italy, France, United Kingdom and the United States. The Conference led to the signature of the Treaty of Versailles, which put an end to World War I.

What was Wilson’s role at the Paris Peace Conference?

At the Paris Peace Conference, Woodrow Wilson was a strong advocate of creating an international structure to preserve a lasting peace. At the conference, he made a speech promoting his Fourteen Points, a statement of principles for peace that was to be used in the peace negotiations. They included trade equality, arms reduction and the right to self-determination but were not included in the Treaty of Versailles.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Western Tanks To Ukraine Trigger Russian Threats — But Also Fears Of Major Counterattack

Germany and the U.S. overcame months of reluctance in the past 24 hours to commit to sending heavy combat tanks to Ukraine. Russia responded with official bluster, but others in Moscow fear that the tanks delivery could be a gamechanger on the battlefield.

Picture of recently mobilized Russian troops

Recently mobilized Russian troops getting ready to depart for service

Cameron Manley

A week of growing expectations of a coming Russian offensive was turned on its head Wednesday as Germany and the U.S. announced their intention to send heavy combat tanks to Ukraine.

The sudden show of resolve on supplying tanks — after months of reluctance, particularly from Germany — has prompted some Russians to fear that Ukraine will now be equipped for a major counterattack. That would be significant reversal after speculation had been growing this month about a Russian spring offensive.

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Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government confirmed Wednesday morning that Berlin plans to send at least 14 German-built Leopard 2 tanks to the frontline. U.S. media also reported that Joe Biden’s administration is expected to officially announce Washington's commitment, with at least 30 M1 Abrams tanks expected to be sent.

The timeline remains unclear as to when the vehicles would make it into combat. Still, both sides on the war acknowledged that it is a significant development with the potential to change the math on the battlefield.

Official Russian response was loaded with typical incendiary rhetoric. Dmitry Peskov, press secretary to Russian president Vladimir Putin, said the new tanks would "burn like all the rest, only these ones are expensive.”

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