Aims of the participants and peacemakers: Wilson and the 14 points


Background information

The German agreement to armistice was based on a proposal drafted by Wilson known as the 14 points.

Political changes caused by WW1: Russian revolution, Germany no longer ruled by a kaiser and now a republic, Austria and Hungary are separated and also republics, Turkey had lost its sultanate.

There was a fear of revolution spreading and of demands for self determination. High hopes for ethnic groups (Serbs, Croatioans and Slovenians had created South Slav state)

High expectations of victorious nations caused by nationalist propaganda for the war effort. They demanded security, stability and compensation.

For this reason 32 nations met in Paris in 1919 for the Paris Peace conference.

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Wilson and the fourteen points

The big three: Woodrow Wilson, Georges Clemenceau and David Lloyd George.

Woodrow Wilson's 14 points aimed to eliminate the causes of WW1.

He wanted:

  • Open diplomacy
  • World disarmament
  • Economic integration
  • A league of nations

They were based on territorial adjustments to solve problems caused by the collapse of empires and to recognize the desire for self determination.

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French aims

Protection from German aggression by preventing German recovery: redrawing frontiers, limiting the size of German armed forces, excluding Germany from the league of nations.

Return of Alsace Lorraine and annexation of the Saar and left bank of the Rhine.

Annexing the Rhineland was against Wilsonian principles because it was thouroughly German, the solution was to keep it German but make it a demilitarized zone.

The restoration of an independent Belgium.

Support for the creation of strong nations to the East of Germany as protection because Russia could no longer be relied on.

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British aims

Desire for peace and a return to a balance of power where neither Germany nor France dominated Europe.

Rapid recovery of Germany because they were a market for British goods to help reactivate their own economy.

Lloyd George's coming to power aided by anti-German propaganda so the country expected hard punishment of Germany.

He however wanted to avoid German feelings of revenge.

He also wanted to avoid Bolshevism from Russia taking advantage of a weak Germany.

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Italian aims

They had been promised territory during the Treaty of London which it was now impossible for them to give.

These territories were: the Northern Dalmation Coast, Trieste and South Tyroll, a protectorate over Albania. They also began to demand other territory not promised by the treaty: the port of Fiume.

Self-determination opposed that in Albania.

They were under pressure to produce a good treaty because of political and social unrest.

They had little sympathy due to their origianl association with Germany and little contribution to the War.

Italy was dissatisfied with the broken promises and their treatment as a lesser power in the conference.

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