Posts etiquetados ‘Woodrow Wilson’

Leaders of the Big Four nations meet for the first time in Paris

The day after British Prime Minister David Lloyd George’s arrival in Paris, he meets with representatives from the other Big Four nations—Prime Ministers Georges Clemenceau of France and Vittorio Orlando of Italy and President Woodrow Wilson of the United States—at the French Foreign Ministry on the Quai d’Orsay, for the first of what will be more than 100 meetings.

Victors of the Great War, the leaders of these four nations were determined to control the agenda of the conference that would decide its peace terms. There was no precedent for such a momentous peace conference; even the Congress of Vienna of 1815, which had preserved order in Europe for almost a century before collapsing in 1914, had been far smaller and less complicated than the gathering at Versailles.

As soon as Wilson arrived in Europe in mid-December (in the first-ever official visit to the continent by a U.S. president), Clemenceau and Lloyd George convinced him of the need for the Allies to establish their own position on the peace terms before beginning the general conference and sitting down with the enemy. In a break with traditional diplomacy, Germany was not invited to this preliminary round of talks. This made Wilson nervous, as he feared—understandably, as it turned out—that the Allies would end up setting the majority of the terms of the peace before the general conference even began, an eventuality that would surely frustrate and anger the Germans and would damage the ideal of a peace without victory that Wilson considered vital to a secure future.

The meetings that began January 12 also failed to include representatives from the smaller allies or any neutral countries, though at the wishes of Britain, Japan later joined the group, which became known as the Supreme Council. The Council met daily, sometimes two or three times a day, knowing that the eyes of the world were on them. Even after the general conference began on January 18—a day chosen to rankle the Germans, as it was the anniversary of the coronation of Kaiser Wilhelm I as ruler of a new, united Germany in 1871—the smaller group continued to meet separately to hash out the crucial questions of the peace settlement.

From: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/leaders-of-the-big-four-nations-meet-for-the-first-time-in-paris

Anuncios

President Woodrow WiIson put forth his Fourteen Points proposal for ending the war in a speech on January 8, 1918. In it he established the basis of a peace treaty and the foundation of a League of Nations.  Fourteen Points Wilson

We entered this war because violations of right had occurred which touched us to the quick and made the life of our own people impossible unless they were corrected and the world secured once for all against their recurrence What we demand in this war, therefore, is nothing peculiar to ourselves. It is that the world be made fit and safe to live in; and particularly that it be made safe for every peace­loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealing by the other peoples of the world as against force and selfish aggression. All the peoples of the world are in effect partners in this interest, and for our own part we see very clearly that unless justice be done to others it will not be done to us. The programme of the world’s peace, therefore, is our programme; and that programme, the only possible programme, as we see it, is this:

I. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understanding of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.

II. 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.

III. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.

IV. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety.

V. A free, open­minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined.

VI. The evacuation of all Russian territory and such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia as will secure the best and freest cooperation of the other nations of the world in obtaining for her an unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for the independent determination of` her own political development and national policy and assure her a sincere welcome into the society of free nations under institutions of her own choosing; and, more than a welcome, assistance also of every kind that she may need and may herself desire. The treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations in the months to come will be the acid test of their good will, of their comprehension of her needs as distinguished from their own interests, and of their intelligent and unselfish sympathy.

VII. Belgium, the whole world will agree, must be evacuated and restored, without any attempt to limit the sovereignty which she enjoys in common with all other free nations. No other single act will serve as this will serve to restore confidence among the nations in the laws which they have themselves set and determined for the government of their relations with one another. Without this healing act the whole structure and validity of international law is forever impaired.

VIII. All French territory should be freed and the invaded portions restored, and the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace­Lorraine, which has unsettled the peace of the world for nearly fifty years, should be righted, in order that peace may once more be made secure in the interest of all.

IX. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality.

X. The peoples of Austria­Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity of autonomous development.

XI. Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be evacuated; occupied territories restored; Serbia accorded free and secure access to the sea; and the relations of the several Balkan states to one another determined by friendly counsel along historically established lines of allegiance and nationality; and international guarantees of the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the several Balkan states should be entered into.

XII. The Turkish portions of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development, and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees.

XIII. An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant.

XIV. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike….

From Woodrow Wilson, “Speech on the Fourteen Points,” Congressional Record, 65th Congress 2nd Session, 1918, pp. 680­681.

This text is part of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts for introductory level classes in modern European and World history.

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.

From: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/wilson-announces-his-14-p

Woodrow Wilson is born

Thomas Woodrow Wilson, who will become the 28th president of the United States, is born on this day in Staunton, Virginia.

A former president of Princeton University and governor of New Jersey, Wilson won election to his first term in the White House as a Democrat in 1912 on a campaign program called The New Freedom, which stressed individualism and states’ rights. From the day he took office in March 1913—when a parade organized by the Congressional Union, later to become known as the National Organization for Women, drew crowds away from the inauguration ceremonies—Wilson had to contend with the growing controversy over women’s suffrage on the home front. His administration saw the passage of several major acts of legislation, including the Federal Reserve Act and the creation of the Federal Trade Commission, designed to regulate business practices.

As war broke out in Europe in the summer of 1914, Wilson lost his wife of thirty years, Ellen, to liver cancer. Unable to abandon himself to his grief, he instead dedicated himself to his work, winning re-election in 1916 on a strict neutrality platform and the slogan He kept us out of the war. But Wilson soon decided that the U.S. could not remain neutral in the face of German aggression on the high seas and in April 1917 he asked Congress for a Declaration of War.

American participation in World War Ihelped turn the tide towards the Allies, and Wilson played a crucial role in determining the terms of the resulting peace. His famous Fourteen Points, presented to Congress in January 1918, introduced the idea of an international covenant aimed at resolving conflict, an idea that would come to fruition with the formation of the League of Nations. At Versailles in the month’s following Germany’s surrender, Wilson struggled to convince his counterparts in Britain and France, David Lloyd George and Georges Clemenceau, that in order for peace to endure, Germany must not be punished too harshly.

Wilson faced even tougher resistance at home. In late 1919, the Versailles Treaty was defeated in Congress by steadfast opposition from Henry Cabot Lodge and other Republican legislators. (Because it was not ratified, the U.S. negotiated a separate Treaty of Berlin with Germany that was signed on August 25, 1921.) Despite this failure, Wilson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. His idea of his country as the world’s leader in shaping international relations is a vision that, to a certain extent, has continued to inspire U.S. foreign policy to the present day.

Wilson left the White House in 1921 after suffering a physical breakdown and a stroke that left him paralyzed. Nursed by his second wife, Edith, he died on February 3, 1924.

From: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/woodrow-wilson-is-born

League of Nations instituted

On January 10, 1920, the League of Nations formally comes into being when the Covenant of the League of Nations, ratified by 42 nations in 1919, takes effect.

In 1914, a political assassination in Sarajevo set off a chain of events that led to the outbreak of the most costly war ever fought to that date. As more and more young men were sent down into the trenches, influential voices in the United Statesand Britain began calling for the establishment of a permanent international body to maintain peace in the postwar world. President Woodrow Wilson became a vocal advocate of this concept, and in 1918 he included a sketch of the international body in his 14-point proposal to end the war.

In November 1918, the Central Powers agreed to an armistice to halt the killing in World War I. Two months later, the Allies met with conquered Germany and Austria-Hungary at Versailles to hammer out formal peace terms. President Wilson urged a just and lasting peace, but England and France disagreed, forcing harsh war reparations on their former enemies. The League of Nations was approved, however, and in the summer of 1919 Wilson presented the Treaty of Versailles and the Covenant of the League of Nations to the U.S. Senate for ratification.

Wilson suffered a severe stroke in the fall of that year, which prevented him from reaching a compromise with those in Congress who thought the treaties reduced U.S. authority. In November, the Senate declined to ratify both. The League of Nations proceeded without the United States, holding its first meeting in Geneva on November 15, 1920.

During the 1920s the League, with its headquarters in Geneva, incorporated new members and successfully mediated minor international disputes but was often disregarded by the major powers. The League’s authority, however, was not seriously challenged until the early 1930s, when a series of events exposed it as ineffectual. Japansimply quit the organization after its invasion of China was condemned, and the League was likewise powerless to prevent the rearmament of Germany and the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. The declaration of World War IIwas not even referred to by the then-virtually defunct League.

In 1946, the League of Nations was officially dissolved with the establishment of the United Nations. The United Nations was modeled after the former but with increased international support and extensive machinery to help the new body avoid repeating the League’s failures.

From: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/league-of-nations-instituted