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Searching For Peace
Transcript of Searching For Peace
Wilson's Fourteen Points
Woodrow Wilson, American president, dreamed of a new, better world after the war. He wanted to propose a number of new ideas.
He had a peace plan called the Fourteen Points. These policies were all about giving people "self-determination" (their own democracies) and freeing up trade between countries. He also wanted limits on arms production and a ban on secret treaties.
League of Nations
The most daring of Wilson's points was the creation of a new governing body called the League of Nations.
The idea was to create a government that represented all nations that could resolve differences through discussion rather than war (does this remind you of anything today?)
The Allies Disagree
There were four countries represented at the peace talks in France- America, Great Britain, France, and Italy (Germany and Russia were not invited).
The Europeans were not big fans of the Fourteen Points. They didn't want reconciliation with Germany- they wanted revenge. France in particular wanted Germany to pay massive reparations (payments).
As an aside, they also decided to send troops to Russia to fight against the communists.
Treaty of Versailles
Signed in the old palace of Versailles outside Paris in 1919, the Treaty of Versailles dealt harshly with the Germans.
Germany had to pay billions in reparations and completely disband their army. They also had to give up all their colonies.
The Austro-Hungarian Empire and the old Russian territories (lost to Germany when they signed a peace deal) were also divided into new countries.
Finally, the League of Nations was approved, to Wilson's delight.
Back in America
For a treaty to be accepted, it has to be ratified by a country. Wilson, the mastermind behind the League of Nations, had to get America to ratify the Treaty of Versailles for America to join it.
Wilson had a stroke a few months before the vote on the treaty. It was then rejected. Ironically, the nation of the man most responsible for the League of Nations was the only major power not to join.
"This (treaty) is not peace. It is an Armistice for twenty years.
-French Field Marshall Ferdinand Foch