Wilson’s '14 Points for peace'

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Think!

  • Why might the Allies have dropped copies of Wilson’s 14 points behind enemy lines?
  • What effect might this have had on German troops fighting in the trenches?

 

  • Which aspects of Wilson's 14 points might the German leaders have been most supportive of?
  • Explain why the German leaders might have accepted these points?

 

  • Why might the Allies have been concerned about the practicalities of implementing Wilson’s 14 points?
  • Which of Wilson’s points might the Allies have disagreed with?
  • Why might they have disagreed?

Wilson's speech

On 8 January 1918 the President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, gave a speech to the US Congress. Intended as a speech to boost the moral of the nation and pointing the way to post-war peace, Wilson’s speech contained '14 Points for peace'.

Despite the speech being made without consultation with America’s allies, many people across the world welcomed the main points of Wilson’s speech. However, Wilson’s Allies (Georges Clemenceau, David Lloyd George and Vittorrio Emanuele Orlando) were initially concerned about the practicalities of implementing the 14 points.

Wilson’s speech was used as a propaganda tool intended to support the Allies' fight for victory. Many copies were dropped behind enemy lines in order to encourage German troops to surrender.

Armistice

In October 1918 Prince Maxmillian of Baden, the German Chancellor, sent a note to Woodrow Wilson, requesting an immediate armistice and peace negotiations on the basis of the 14 points.

After negotiations the Allied leaders announced, on 1 November 1918, that they agreed in principal to the 14 points. Great Britain requested that an additional clause should be added to ensure that Germany make reparations.

On 11 November 1918 the fighting stopped. The Germans assumed that the 14 points would form the basis of the peace treaty.