Prior to the
end of WW1, and his trip to Europe, President Woodrow
Wilson delivered his “Fourteen Points” Speech before Congress on
January 18th, 1918. Among the points, the first five were established to
help prevent another war.
1 No secret treaties among nations were to be made
2 Everyone (all nations) should be entitled to free seas
3 To create free trade, all tariffs and other economic blocks
should be lowered or ended.
4 During diplomatic crises, arms should be brought down “to
the lowest point consistent with domestic safety, thus
lessening the possibility of military responses”
5 Colonial peoples as well as the imperial powers should be
considered when establishing colonial policies
The FOURTEENTH point
THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS
Wilson established this idea of an international
organization used to address diplomatic crises similar to
the ones that had caused World War 1. This point became
Wilson’s main demand at the Paris Peace Conference.
World War One would end the “eleventh day of the
eleventh month at the eleventh hour.” Soon after, a
series of peace talks would begin, starting on
January 18, 1919 and lasting a little over a year.
President Woodrow Wilson revealed his Fourteen
Points to the representatives present.
In all, over thirty nations were present at the Peace
Conference, NOT including Germany ( and the other
The “Big Four” consisted of:
Great Britain (Prime Minister David Lloyd George),
France (Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau),
Italy (Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando), and the
United States (President Woodrow Wilson)
Once at the Conference, Wilson was eager to get
support for his Fourteen Points, specifically the
establishment of the League of Nations. His hopes
were dashed as many nations, such as France and
Great Britain, were more concerned with punishing
Germany. As a result, Wilson became frustrated but
returned to the United States with a Treaty for
Congress to ratify.
The Treaty of Versailles was created at the Peace
Conference. It pitted all the blame for World War 1 on
Germany and they had to accept full responsibility.
Also within the Treaty was the mention of the League
of Nations, which caused the opposition. The
American public was for the Treaty; however,
Congress thought otherwise.
The Congress was split on the decision to ratify the
Treaty. It all came down to the part mentioning the
League of Nations. One side refused to join the
League under any circumstances. The other, led by
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman,
Henry Cabot Lodge, would accept the Treaty if
certain amendments could be added. In the end,
even though fourteen amendments were added, the
ratification would fall short by seven votes.
In the end even though the Congress
failed to ratify the Treaty of Versailles,
they did agree to comply with the terms
of the Treaty of Berlin, which was
between Germany and the United
States. This Treaty had all the
components of the Treaty of Versailles
except the joining of the League of
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