.. the United States. If war was required to topple Huerta, Wilson was willing to declare war in order to do bring down Huerta. Up to the spring of 1914, American lives and American commercial interests did not seem to be threatened by any of the Factions fighting in Mexico. All of the revolutionaries, even Villa, had been careful to protect the citizens and property of their neighbor, south of the border.
The situation came to a halt at Tampico, a Mexican Gulf port in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas. Tampico was the scenario where the interests of the Huertistas, the revolutionaries, and the Americans clashed for the first time. As general Pablo Gonzalez moved his Constitutionalist forces toward Tampico, the commander of the Federal garrison, General Zaragoza realized that the town of Tampico was indefensible, any fighting in or around Tampico would place foreign lives and property at great risk. On the 9th of April, a paymaster of the U.S.S. Dolphin landed at the Iturbide Bridge, landing at Tampico with a whaleboat and boat’s crew.
To take off certain supplies needed by his ship, and while engaged in loading, an officer and squad of men of the army of General Huerta arrested the boat. Neither the paymaster nor anyone of the boat’s crew was armed. Two of the men were in the boat when the arrest took place and were obliged to leave it and submit to be taken into custody, not withstanding the fact that the boat carried the flag of the United States. The officer who made the arrest was proceeding up one of the streets of the town with his prisoners when met by an Officer of higher authority, who ordered him to return to the landing and await orders; and within an hour and a half from the time of the Arrest, orders were received from the commander of the Huertista forces at Tampico for the release of the paymaster and his men. The release was followed by apologies from the commander and later by an expression of regret by General Huerta himself. General Huerta told the U.S that he had given orders and had issued that no one should be allowed to land at the Iturbide Bridge; and that U.S sailors had no right to land there.
U.S naval commanders at the port had not been notified of any such prohibition; and. even if they had been, the only justifiable course open to the local authorities would have been to request the paymaster and his crew to withdraw and to lodge a protest with the commanding officer of the flee. Admiral Mayo regarded the arrest as so serious an affront that he was not satisfied with the apologies offered, but demanded that the flag of the United States be saluted with special ceremony by the military commander of the port. A salute that was never given. Wilson was so angry that he used the incident to try to overthrow Huerta.
A few days after the incident at Tampico, Wilson sent a naval force to occupy the city of Veracruz. Wilson did not intend to start a war. He expected his show of force to cause the downfall of Huerta. But 19 United States soldiers and 126 Mexicans were killed before Veracruz was captured. Again, Carranza joined with his enemy in speaking out against the interference of the United States in Mexican affairs. Fortunately the U.S and Mexican diplomats meet at Niagra Falls, Canada. Where ambassadors of the ABC Powers: Argentina, Brazil, and Chile offered to meditate the dispute, and to find a peace settlement.
Wilson eagerly accepted the offer, and the crisis ended. By summer Carranza had forced Huerta from power, and the United States had withdrawn their naval forces from Veracruz. Yet Wilsons troubles in Mexico were far from over. No sooner had Carranza defeated Huerta than one of his own generals, Francisco Villa, rebelled against him. Wilson supported Villa; he had resented Carranzas independence and refusal to follow United States advice.
Supporting Villa was probably the presidents worst mistake. At last, in October 1915, Wilson realized that the best policy for the United States was to keep hands off Mexico and let the people of the nation decide for themselves how they were to be governed. He then officially recognized the Carranza government. Wilsons acceptance of Carranzas government angered Pancho Villa so much, that Villa raided a train on January 11,of 1916. He stopped a train in Santa Isabel, Chihuahua, that was running from Chihuahua City to the Cusi mines. Villas men executed sixteen of the seventeen Americans aboard; in cold blood. Villas firm belief that President Wilson had concluded an agreement with Carranza, that would virtually convert Mexico into a U.S.
protectorate, led Villa to commit another raid. On March 9, 1916, a Mexican raiding force of 485 men attacked the town of Columbus, in New Mexico. The leader of the attack was Mexican revolutionary general Francisco Pancho Villa. The assault on the small town of close to 400 was a complete surprise. The 13th U.S.
Cavalry, headquartered at Columbus, provided a false sense of security for the citizens of the straggling U.S. town. Americans were never more vulnerable than at Columbus, the raiders encountered resistance almost immediately from American military personnel who retaliated as promptly as possible. Following the bloodshed, the casualties were counted. The raid had cost Americans eighteen lives.
Ninety Villistas were killed. Within one week of the Columbus attack, a punitive expedition of 4800, quickly increased to 10,000 men, commanded by General John Pershing, invaded the Mexican state of Chihuahua. They were orders from President Wilson, to capture Pancho Villa. The expedition failed in its attempt to subdue Villa, and on February 5, 1917, the punitive expedition withdrew into the U.S. The failure of the Pershing expedition did much to repair the damage.
Ultimately, it convinced the American public and the U.S. military that future intervention in Mexico would be more costly and more difficult than had been previously assumed. Villa became a symbol of national resistance in Chihuahua and enhanced his standing among his own countrymen. After expedition, Wilson establishes full diplomatic relations with Carranza and his government, due to U.S involvement in World War one. It is apparent that Wilson lacked experience, and knowledge, when it came to foreign affairs. The United States should not have intervened, The U.S was not aware of the consequences that could be brought to the American nation. The U.S should have kept hands off; the occurrence of events in Mexico did not pertain to the United States. Wilsons fundamental principle was not to initiate a war, and intervention was war.