Cover image for American liberal disillusionment : in the wake of World War I.
American liberal disillusionment : in the wake of World War I.
Rochester, Stuart I , 1945-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
University Park : The Pennsylvania State Univ.Pr., [c1977].
Physical Description:
172 p.
General Note:
Includes index.


Material Type
Item Barcode
Call Number
Shelf Location
Item Holds
Book BILKUTUP0046456 D619 .R53 1977 Storage Collection

On Order



Tracing American liberal disillusionment from World War I through the Cold War, the author argues that Sarajevo contributed as much to the process as did Stalinism. He thus takes issues with historians who play down the theme of "war as watershed." The 1914-20 years were pivotal, Dr. Rochester asserts, in " a remarkable intellectual metamorphosis which found erstwhile liberals converted to conservatism, pollyannas transformed into despairing cynics, and men of faith and conviction reduced to ideological vagabonds." In the same stroke the First World War seemed to prove the frailty of the human condition and the futility of a liberal philosophy.

Conceding some skepticism and even pessimism toward the end of the Progressive Era, Dr. Rochester holds that William Allen White captured the prevailing mood when he said: "Progress to some upward ideal of living among men is the surest fact of history." Such faith is the theme of the opening chapter. The following five chapters show the impact of wartime hysteria, profiteering, and repression; of the duplicity at Versailles; and of the ensuing descent from the lofty heights of Wilsonian idealism to the "bungalow minds" of normalcy.