19 May 2024
The pandemic once caused the US President to behave strangely 1

The pandemic once caused the US President to behave strangely 1

On the evening of April 3, 1919 in Paris, President Woodrow Wilson began to have a cough, fever and could not move, he had Spanish flu.

Wilson’s doctor, Cary T. Grayson, wrote a confidential letter to the White House, informing him that the 28th President of the United States had very severe symptoms.

President Woodrow Wilson at the White House in 1918. Photo: Library of Congress.

At that time, the Spanish flu pandemic had been raging around the world for more than a year, hitting the White House heavily.

Wilson arrived in Paris in April to attend the Paris Peace Conference – the negotiations between the victors after the end of World War I, aimed at shaping the postwar global order and determining the status of defeated Germany.

But France had been occupied by Germany twice in the previous half century and Clemenceau wanted to receive tens of billions of dollars to rebuild France, establish a buffer zone on the country’s eastern border, so that French troops could control Germany’s Rhineland region.

By April 1919, the dispute between Wilson and Clemenceau reached a deadlock.

Wilson recuperated at the Hotel du Prince Murat. He acted strangely as his symptoms became more and more severe.

`We could surmise that there was something strange going on in his mind,` said Irwin Hoover, an aide to Wilson.

Wilson communicated his views through aides before he could meet with leaders in person.

The pandemic once caused the US President to behave strangely

US President Woodrow Wilson (first from right) and leaders of France, Britain, and Italy at the Paris Peace Conference in May 1919, a month after Wilson contracted the Spanish flu.

According to Margaret MacMillan, author of `Paris 1919: 6 months that changed the world`, Clemenceau suddenly had `the best possible deal for France` in his hands.

Wilson eventually recovered from the flu but suffered a stroke six months later, leaving him paralyzed and affecting his vision.

Historian John Barry rejects that argument.

How did Wilson’s Spanish flu affect world civilization?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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