President Wilson’s Fourteen Points
On January 8, 1918, President Wilson addressed a speech in front of a Congress meeting; intended to highlight his point of view for a stable, long-lasting peace in Europe, the United States and the rest of the world after the destruction and sadness of World War I. The destruction and damage of World War I presented to President Wilson the unavoidable relationship between international stability (peace with other countries) and most importantly the national security of America. Furthermore, this speech was intended for the Allies to settle any conflict, drama and restoration of territories, between themselves and the Central Powers. At first, the Europeans were interested but eventually did not want anything to do with it. Wilson listed 14 different policies to preserve the security of the United States and eventually come to world peace. Most of President Wilson’s points targeted major territorial problems or issues in the country of Europe, but the most important sections aimed towards Wilson’s most prized presidential goal- postwar American diplomacy. He recommended equal trade conditions, arms reduction and national sovereignty for former colonies of Europe’s weakening empires. One of Wilson’s many purposes in delivering the Fourteen Points speech was to present a practical alternative to the traditional notion of an international balance of power preserved by alliances among nations. However, his efforts were met with failure, as the Bolsheviks sought peace with the Central Powers at the end of 1917. When the Allies met in Versailles to sign the treaty to end World War I with Germany and Austria-Hungary, most of Wilson’s 14 Points were questioned by leaders of England and France. However, Wilson’s capstone point calling for a world organization that would provide some system of collective security was incorporated into the Treaty of Versailles. This organization would later be known as the League of Nations. The League of Nation would become the only point passed by Congress.
Furthermore, Wilson’s Fourteen Points were intended to provide a path for peace. When President Wilson announced the Fourteen Points many foreign leaders doubted that these would be applied to the actuality. Furthermore, Wilson’s fourteen points are as followed: His first point was for the public to have the knowledge of the agreements or international understandings between each country, known as Open Diplomacy. There shall be no more classified agreements or treaties between countries; everything shall be open Diplomacy. This point also gives the strength to abolish secret treaties. The second point is basically no limitations to the seas. Each sea should not be territorial, and they could be used for war in general or for peace. Thus, the seas do not belong to any country, so there is no real owner or proprietary of them. Oceans and seas shall be open for any country’s use during war or at peace- no one should really own. This could be interpreted as “freedom of the seas”. The third point is the most effective in the nations which is free trade. Trade between countries who have accepted peace shall be free. This point basically means free trade between countries. The fourth point is meant, designed and created for the safety of the people. This limits armaments, military weapons, that should be allowed. The production, import/export of weapons must be limited. This just means national armament will be reduced to the lowest point to satisfy and meet the requirements to ensure domestic safety. The fifth point depicts the equality of being a part of a colony. A person should have the same admiration and fair decision for the majority. The sixth point is toward the territories in Russia. People decide whether to proceed and or evacuate from Russia’s political system or to establish their own. Russia has its choice to determine its choice of government, and how it should be dictated. Also, every established army from Germany shall leave Russia immediately. The seventh point leans towards Belgium’s sovereignty, authority, to be preserved. Belgium shall be evacuated and restored. Anyone who was a part of the military, but not a part of Belgium’s was to leave, so that Belgium would become united with its own. German troops shall leave Belgium soil and Belgium would eventually become their own country. The eighth point was to assist France regain their land Alsace-Lorraine from German Empire. France was finally able to regain their lost land after Germany was defeated in World War 1. France will get back their lost land Alsace-Lorraine immediately. The ninth point is to simply give Italy its own borders and be defined of their own nationality. This point claims the borders of Italy would be created; therefore, Italy would be a recognized separate country with its own frontiers. The tenth point gives the country of Austria- Hungary the open choice of becoming their own independent country and the people from Austria- Hungary will be safeguarded and assured. The eleventh point demands that the Central Powers shall leave or in other words “evacuate” Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro. Thus, making them their own free established countries. The twelfth point con Wilson’s speech claims that the Ottoman Empire will have their country back, and everybody under their ruling shall be secured with undoubted security of life. They should also be assured a secure sovereignty. In addition, the Dardanelles shall be permanently open to any commercial and passenger ships. The thirteenth point makes the country of Poland their own independent country including territories occupied by any Polish populations. This comes with guaranteed access to the seas. The fourteenth point claims the League of Nations shall be created and ensured protecting and security or other countries regardless of size or power. This point is an international association formed under specific rules with its purpose of making mutual decisions to secure and ensure con
President Wilson’s Fourteen Points