When One of the Richest Men in the World Tried to Stop a War

How much money do you think it takes to stop a war?

» Top New Products

Psychic desire
cs_image_0

Discover  the  treasured  ability  to  watch  future  events  unfold  within  the  mind.                                             

$27.97
Get Pregnant Naturally
cs_image_1

Weird  Trick  to  Get  Pregnant  Naturally  In  60  Days  -  Guaranteed                                                                             

$47.00
Juicing For Your Manhood: Cure Ed
cs_image_2

17  delicious  juicing  recipes  to  increase  your  testosterone                                                                                   

$39.95
Instant Backlink Magic
cs_image_3

Do  you  spend  countless  hours  writing  and  submitting  articles,  setting  up  profiles                                     

$47.00
Produce Management Accounts
cs_image_4

Increase  Your  Understanding  Of  The  Practical  World  And  Boost  Your  Confidence.                                             

$20.23
Amazing Cover Letters for You
cs_image_5

You  can  create  Instant  covering  letters    and    job  application  letters  for  your  job  search  and  resume

$39.95
Roofing Business Blueprint
cs_image_6

Home  Study  Course  and  Roofing  Business  Blueprint  Video  Training  Series.                                                         

$97.00
Wholesale designer handbags
cs_image_7

Learn  How  to  Purchase  Authentic  Designer  Handbags  at  Wholesale                                                                           

$39.95
Build A Lean Athletic Body
cs_image_8

Build  Dominating  Muscular  Size    and    Strength  While  Sculpting  The  Athletic  Physique.                               

$27.00
Heal Type 2 Diabetes
cs_image_9

Simple  3  step  approach  heals  type  2  diabetes  within  30  days.  Guaranteed                                                         

$39.95
High Blood Pressure?
cs_image_10

3  easy  exercises  drop  blood  pressure  below  120/80  in  as  little  as  a  week                                                       

$49.00
End Binge Eating Now: I Did
cs_image_11

Overcome  Binge  Eating  Disorder    and    Emotional  Eating:  Read  My  Success  Story                                               

$29.97

One of the richest men in the world, U.S. automaker Henry Ford, set out a century ago to answer that question and to test the boundaries of privately funded diplomacy. Frustrated with America’s strict isolationist stance under President Woodrow Wilson, the pacifist tycoon took matters into his own hands, organizing an independent delegation of “the biggest and most influential peace advocates in the country” and chartering a “Peace Ship” to take them across the Atlantic in the winter of 1915. Their mission was no less than to end World War I and restore peace in Europe.

The origins of Ford’s pacifism, as Steven Watts explores in The People’s Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century, are somewhat unclear. He prided himself on being a man of the people and believed that many of his fellow business leaders were commercial “parasites” eager to profit from the conflict in Europe. Perhaps the enormous human and material waste associated with war also offended his sense of economic efficiency.

The ship’s “peace pilgrims” quickly devolved into warring factions.

Whatever the reason, as World War I raged on, Ford became an increasingly outspoken opponent. “To my mind, the word ‘murderer’ should be embroidered in red letters across the breast of every soldier,” he told one reporter. He soon launched a national campaign of newspaper articles and advertising, vowing that he would “do everything in [his] power to prevent murderous, wasteful war.”

But by late 1915, Ford, a man of action more than words, had decided that it was time “to put a stop to the silly killings going on abroad.” “Well meaning but naive,” according to Watts, “he embraced an initiative that would eventually absorb huge amounts of time and money before degenerating into an international fiasco.”

In November, Ford traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with President Wilson and convince him that delegates from neutral nations should help mediate a peaceful end to the war. When Wilson demurred, the automaker decided to win the peace himself and held a press conference. “We’re going to try to get the boys out of the trenches before Christmas,” the straight-talking businessman told those assembled.

“Great War Ends Christmas Day; Ford to Stop it,” the next day’s headlines cynically proclaimed. Ford was stung by the ridicule but pressed on, leasing a ship and sending out invitations to well-known progressives and pacifists like William Jennings Bryan and Thomas Edison, as well as to the governor of each state. Most recipients declined the invitation, the initiative flailed and countless political cartoons lampooned the misguided diplomat (one depicted Ford as a clown dragging a deflated balloon labeled “Peace”). A circus atmosphere and a crowd of 15,000 greeted the Peace Ship as it departed from Hoboken, New Jersey, on December 5.

Ford peace ship 1915

Ford’s fellow passengers included a Denver judge and the governor of North Dakota — neither of whom were pacifists — 54 reporters, 18 college students and, as Watts puts it, “a motley collection of reformers advocating everything from temperance to sexual freedom, pacifism to vegetarianism.”

The plan was for the delegates to land at Oslo, Norway, and proceed with meetings in other neutral states like Denmark and Holland to mobilize opposition to the war and bring the belligerents to the bargaining table. But Ford’s earnest plan for world peace would soon turn into an epic farce on international waters.

The 13-day ocean journey was plagued by difficulties. Rampant seasickness gave way to a flu outbreak. The ship’s “peace pilgrims” quickly devolved into warring factions, feuding over tactics and strategy. Bored, drunken reporters looked to stoke and embellish the proceedings at every turn. Yet throughout, Ford persevered, giving reporters twice-daily briefings, broadcasting updates back to shore and cordially mingling with the ship’s passengers. Among the legions of activists and eccentrics aboard, reporters came to respect Ford for his honest and straightforward approach. “I came to make fun of the whole thing,” one reporter later confided, but “I believe in Henry Ford and I’m going to say so even if I lose my job for it.”

Ford himself took ill (some say rather conveniently), and when the ship finally sailed into Oslo’s harbor on a frigid December 18, the ailing industrialist was rushed to the city’s Grand Hotel. He emerged a few days later to meet with the press before quietly booking passage back to New York and washing his hands of the whole affair — though he continued to fund its operations for another year. Without the auto tycoon at the helm, the expedition rapidly lost momentum on European soil, degenerating, says historian John H. McCool, “into little more than an adolescent romp in fancy hotels and opulent ballrooms — all on Henry Ford’s tab.”

It is not known how much Ford’s dalliance in diplomacy cost him, but he maintained it was money well spent. “We got a million dollars worth of advertising out of it,” he would later explain, “and a hell of a lot of experience.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Post Author: martin

Avatar
Martin is an enthusiastic programmer, a webdeveloper and a young entrepreneur. He is intereted into computers for a long time. In the age of 10 he has programmed his first website and since then he has been working on web technologies until now. He is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of BriefNews.eu and PCHealthBoost.info Online Magazines. His colleagues appreciate him as a passionate workhorse, a fan of new technologies, an eternal optimist and a dreamer, but especially the soul of the team for whom he can do anything in the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.