Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Woodrow Wilson, Speech on the Fourteen Points, 1918

Woodrow Wilson’s speech to congress during WWI made him the moral leader of the Western world. Wilson and his intimate adviser, Colonel Edward M .House prepare the Fourteen Points after the House was convinced that something had to be gone to encourage and boast the morals of allies and remind them of the reason for the war. The two men created the program carefully making the phrases flexible enough to be able to with stand whatever the out come of the war would have been.

The purpose of this program was to stop the use of secret covenants entered into by governments for their own interest, help establish peaceful relationship among nations after the war and most important, help avoid another world war from happening again in the future.

“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 peace-loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live it’s own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealings by other peoples of the world ,as against force and selfish aggression”.

I found four of the fourteen points very important especially from the stand point of the Western world. The first one was the elimination of secret convents and a greater emphasis on diplomacy. The second was the absolute freedom to navigate in the ocean outside territorial waters in both war and peace times. The third was the removal of economic barriers as much as possible and the creation of equality of trade among peace loving nations. The fourteenth point was the creation of a general association of nations which would help guarantee political independence and territorial integrity among great and small states alike.

Wilson said that they (US and Allies) will continue to fight until these arrangements were achieved. He further said that they had nothing against Germany and her greatness, there was nothing in the program to impair it and they wish her no harm. But in order for Germany to associate with peaceful loving nations, she has to accept her place of equality in the new world and not that of mastery of the past.

One of the benefits of this program was that it leads to the creation of International institutions that would help foster peace in the world. The League of nations and the international courts of justice are good examples of institutions created from this program.

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