The "Fourteen Points" was a statement by United States President Woodrow Wilson that the Great War was being fought for a moral cause and for postwar peace in Europe. People in Europe generally welcomed Wilson's intervention, but his main Allied colleagues (Georges Clemenceau of France, David Lloyd George of the Great Britain, and Vittorio Emanuele Orlando of Italy) were skeptical of the applicability of Wilsonian idealism. The U.S. had joined the Allies in fighting the Central Powers on April 6, 1917. Its entry into the war had in part been due to Germany's resumption of submarine warfare against merchant ships trading with France and Britain. However, Wilson had not entered into the war with any affinity with the long-festering almost tribal disputes between the Allies and Germany; if America was going to fight, he would try to unlink the war to nationalistic disputes or ambitions. The need for high aims was made more important, when after the fall of the Russian Regime, the Bolsheviks disclosed secret treaties made between the allies. The speech by Wilson, also responded to Vladimir Lenin's Decree on Peace of November 1917, immediately after the October Revolution, which proposed an immediate withdrawal ofRussia from the war, calling for a just and democratic peace that was not compromised by territorial annexations, and led to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on March 3, 1918. Wilson's speech on January 8, 1918 laid out a policy (free trade, open agreements, democracy and self-determination). The Fourteen Points speech was the only explicit statement of war aims by any of the nations fighting in World War I. Some belligerents gave general indications of their aims, but most kept their post-war goals private. The Fourteen Points in the speech were based on the research of the Inquiry, a team of about 150 advisors led by foreign-policy advisorEdward M. House, into the topics likely to arise in the anticipated peace conference.
The plan helped to contribute to the Treaty of Versailles because 4 of the original points were later recognized in the plan itself. However it was generally speaking -- a failure in that the treaty was rejected by the US Senate. Specifically, Wilson had 14 points he publicly announced.
1) Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.
This didn't happen. It went against about 10,000 year of diplomatic history. The British and French went right along making private understandings even as the conference was going on.
2) Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.
This didn't go over big either. Naval power was the Britain's thing. Their ability to cut an enemy off from the sea was key to their military strategy.
3) The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.
Basically free trade. America was the most biggest and most powerful export economy in the world. In any free trade situation of the time, specially after the hit European economies took during the war, America would dominate Britain, France, and others saw this as a plot to turn them into economic dependencies of the US.
4) Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety.
Basically, nations would reduce their armies to bare minimum. Again, this went against British and French interests. They empires to maintain. It was all well and good for America. We have two giant oceans on...
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