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Woodrow Wilson's 14 Points and the Paris Peace Conference

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Sruthi Venkatachalam

on 23 February 2014

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Transcript of Woodrow Wilson's 14 Points and the Paris Peace Conference

Born into a religious family, his father was a preist
He got a degree at Princeton University and his doctorate at John Hopkins.
First was the president of Princeton and soon the governor of New Jersey,
Was gaining more and more popularity and soon the Democrats wanted him as a Presidential candidate.
Wilson's Political Weaknesses
Prompt #3
Analyze Wilson's attempt to forge peace based on his idealistic Fourteen Points, the political mistakes that weakened his hand, and the compromises he was forced to make by the other Allied statesmen in Versailles.
Woodrow Wilson's 14 Points and the Paris Peace Conference
Wilson's 14 Points
What were the Fourteen Points
The Fourteen Points were explained in a speech given by Wilson on January of 1918 in Congress.
An address that Wilson gave explaining the goals that US would have for the war.
Wilson's 14 Points
1. There should be no secret agreements
2. There should be freedom of the seas during peacetime and wartime, unless directed by an international decree
3. End to trade and economic barriers between countries
4. Arms number is at the lowest point, while still keeping citizens safe
5. Impartial adjustment of colonies and those in colonies will be taken into account
6. Foreign troops should leave Russia, and she should be left alone to create her own government
7. Foreign troops should leave Belgium and Belgium should be independent
8. France should be freed and its captured territory returned
9. Italy’s borders should be on clearly recognizable lines of nationality. All Italians belong in Italy
10. Austria- Hungary should be allowed to develop on its own.
11. Serbia, Romania, and Montenegro should be freed and restored and be given self- determination
12. Turks should be allowed tto rule themselves but non Turks under their rule should be given self rule
13. An independent Nation of Poland should be constructed and given freedom of the seas
14. A council of the World’s nations, known as the League Of Nations should be created to deal with international affairs.

Impact of the Fourteen Points
on Peace
The address represented Wilson's very idealistic policies and ideas
Express Wilson's desire for peace, and his step -by- step process for accomplishing these goals
When Germany, finally agreed on an armistice, they thought that that the Treaty would be based on these points.
However, the other leaders of the Allied Nations wanted revenge.
WWI began after the killing Archuke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austria Hungary throne, by a Serbian nationalist
On July 28, 1914, Austria Hungary declared war on Serbia.
Serbia's ally, Russia, began mobilizing troops and Austria- Hungary's ally, Germany took this as a sign of aggression and declared war on Russia.
Germany also declared war on France as France was bound by treaty to Russia. Germany invaded neutral Belgium.
England, a loose ally of France, declared war on Germany on August 4.
Japan, allied with Britain, declared war on Germany.
The entering of all of the countries into the war, brought their colonies in as well, making it a gloal war.
The US entered the war later in 1917 when Germany announced their policy of unrestricted warfare.
Background: The War
Background: Woodrow Wilson
The Paris Peace Conference
The Allied Nations all met at Paris to discuss the peace agreements.
The conference was mostly influenced by the Big Four of the nations, Woodrow Wilson of US, Georges Clemenceau of France, Vittorio Orlando of Italy, and David Lloyd George of Britain.
Wilson proposed his League of Nations to the diplomats. Short term: it was supposed to decide what to do about the colonies of the vanquished states. Long term was supposed to help prevent future wars.
The Allies agreed on it in February 1919 however, Wilson had to go back to the US because of domestic problems.
Trouble in the Senate: Republican irreconcilables
Who were they? What did they want?
The Republican Irreconcilables were strong isolationists
The Republican party had gained a majority in the Senate during the most recent election and they had the numbers to shoot down the treaty when it came time to vote.
The Republicans wouldn't OK the treaty because they felt their isolationist values, nationalist dignity, and their job in Congress.
William Borah
Hiram Johnson
Sample Speeches
The speculated doubt and the fears of the timid with regard to the treaty and the League of Nations have now all been discussed. The great document which the president brought back from Paris has been analyzed and dissected in the cold atmosphere of higher criticism, but little has been said about the life of the document itself, the necessity for a new order in our diplomatic and international relations.

One might almost suppose from the discussion that the literary merits of the paper were the chief points of interest.

Meantime, it is necessary to remember that the lack of such a league in 1914 threw the world into the chaos of this war. Terrified statesmen endeavoured to sustain the delicately poised balance of power. They ran here and there, uttering their old-time cautions and speaking with pathetic diligence for what they called a formula that would compose the mad impulses which were threatening to engulf the world.

They failed because the means were not adapted to the ends - because in the modern world, things move too fast for the stagecoach diplomacy of the Middle Ages.

Had there been a League of Nations then, could Sir Edward Grey have summoned into conference the authoritative representatives of the great civilized powers, and through them have focused the intelligence and the conscience of mankind on the Austro-Serbian quarrel?

There would have been gained the priceless moment of meditation which would have enabled the heady currents of racial and national passion to be allayed. Today there would be in all in the devastated countries of the world that calm progress which a continuation of peaceful civilization ensures.

Billions of wealth, now utterly lost and destroyed, would still be in existence to comfort and enrich the life of nations, and millions of men, women, and children, gunned to death in battle, or carried away by famine and pestilence, would still be alive to enjoy the normal portion of human happiness and to contribute by their labour and their love to the making of a better world.

The four horsemen of the apocalypse rode abroad in the world, taking their toll among the fairest and best of the children of men, only because their was no bridle, no League of Nations to restrain their wild and destructive force.

The question of this hour therefore is not whether a classically phrased and inerrant document has been drawn, but whether the fairest hope of men shall be realized. If we have but the goodness and the faith necessary to make any league of nations work, we can make this one work.

The people will furnish the faith, if the statesmen will but stand aside. Thus only can we match our works with the devotion of our soldiers, and gather for their children the fruits of their sacrifice and their victories.

Sample Speech: Borah
"We have said, Mr. President, that we would not send our troops abroad without the consent of Congress. Pass by now for a moment the legal proposition. If we create executive functions, the Executive will perform those functions without the authority of Congress.
"What will the Congress of the United States do? What right will it have left, except the bare technical right to refuse, which as a moral proposition it will not dare to exercise? Have we not been told day by day for the last nine months that the Senate of the United States, a coordinate part of the treaty-making power, should accept this league as it was written because the wise men sitting at Versailles had so written it, and has not every possible influence and every source of power in public opinion been organized and directed against the Senate to compel it to do that thing?"
"Can you hope for peace when love of country is disregarded in your scheme, when the spirit of nationality is rejected, even scoffed at? Yet what law of that moving and mysterious force does your treaty not deny? With a ruthlessness unparalleled your treaty in a dozen instances runs counter to the divine law of nationality.
"One of the most striking and commanding figures in this war, soldier and statesmen, turned away from the peace table at Versailles declaring to the world, "The promise of the new life, the victory of the great humane ideals for which the peoples have shed their blood and their treasure without stint, the fulfillment of their aspirations toward a new international order and a fairer and better world, are not written into the treaty." No, your treaty means injustice. It means slavery. It means war. And to all this you ask this Republic to become a party. You ask it to abandon the creed under which it has grown to power and accept the creed of autocracy, the creed of repression and force."
Sir, we are told that this treaty means peace. Even so, I would not pay the price. Would you purchase peace at the cost of any part of our independence? We could have had peace in 1776– the price was high, but we could have had it. James Otis, Sam Adams, Hancock, and Warren were surrounded by those who urged peace and British rule. All through that long and trying struggle, particularly when the clouds of adversity lowered upon the cause, there was a cry of peace—let us have peace. We could have had peace in 1860; Lincoln was counseled by men of great influence and accredited wisdom to let our brothers—and, thank Heaven, they are brothers— depart in peace. But the tender, loving Lincoln, bending under the fearful weight of impending civil war, an apostle of peace, refused to pay the price, and a reunited country will praise his name forevermore—bless it because he refused peace at the price of national honor and national integrity. Peace upon any other basis than national independence, peace purchased at the cost of any part of our national integrity, is fit only for slaves, and even when purchased at such a price it is a delusion, for it can not last.
You have put in here a reservation upon the Monroe doctrine. I think that, in so far as language could protect the Monroe doctrine, it has been protected. But as a practical proposition, as a working proposition, tell me candidly, as men familiar with the history of your country and of other countries, do you think that you can intermeddle in European affairs; and, secondly, never to permit Europe to [interfere in our affairs].
We can not protect the Monroe doctrine unless we protect the basic principle upon which it rests, and that is the Washington policy. I do not care how earnestly you may endeavor to do so, as a practical working proposition your league will come to the United States....
Impact of the
These Republican senators didn't want the treaty to pass and wanted more changes to protect the Monroe Doctrine.
This meant that Wilson didn't have the advantage anymore and would be forced to compromise with the other, more vengeful Allied Nations.
Because of this political dispute, Wilson became weaker at the peace conference
War Guilt Clause: The entire war was blamed on Germany, and Germany was forced to pay the war reparations.
Germany had a standing army of only 100000 men and couldn't own any heavy artillery, planes, submarines, tanks, military airplanes, or poison gases.
The Kaiser and others were to be tried as war criminals by the Allies.
Other Compromises
Security Treaty: Demanded that England and America come to the aid of France if Germany were to attack them again.
Japan was allowed to keep their economic holdings in Shangdong with the promise of returning the area at a later date.
Protectorates of the League
Wilson's original 14 Points were a great step towards a just peace however the other Allied powers gained the political advantage over Wilson and forced him to compromise, changing the peace conference into a more vengeful meeting.
Wilson was a very idealistic person and filled with moral principles. His idea for peace, the 14 Points, were great and they exemplified his desire for peace. However, during the Paris Peace Conference, he lost his advantage when he was forced to compromise to the other Allied Nations and sacrifice some of his moral ideas for their more greedy or vengeful goals. This shift in the tone of the treaty, from Wilson's original 14 Points to a more cruel version, is the significant result of this conference.
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