Wilson announces his 14 Points
In an address before a joint meeting of Congress, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson discusses the aims of the United States in World War I and outlines his “14 Points” for achieving a lasting peace in Europe. The peace proposal called for unselfish peace terms from the victorious Allies, the restoration of territories conquered during the war, the right to national self-determination, and the establishment of a postwar world body to resolve future conflict. The speech was translated and distributed to the soldiers and citizens of Germany and Austria-Hungary and contributed significantly to their agreeing to an armistice in November 1918.
After the war ended, Wilson traveled to France, where he headed the American delegation to the conference at Versailles. Functioning as the moral leader of the Allies, Wilson struggled to orchestrate a just peace, though the other victorious Allies opposed most of his 14 Points. The final treaty called for stiff reparations payments from the former Central Powers and other demanding peace terms that would contribute to the outbreak of World War II two decades later. However, Wilson’s ideas on national self-determination and a postwar world body were embodied in the treaty. In 1920, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Price for his efforts.