The carnage of World War I exposed the failures of the European system of diplomacy. It was in this context and even before the war ended, that American President, Woodrow Wilson, proposed his Fourteen Points, designed to establish and ensure a lasting peace following an Allied victory. President Wilson was a critic of the European diplomatic system and a proponent of a new type of open diplomacy and collective security which would make the world safe for democracy (Keylor 9/26/06). Thus, Wilson outlined, in his Fourteen Points, delivered to the U.S. Congress on January 8, 1918, the principles he deemed necessary to secure a just and stable [world] peace.
[...] Furthermore, the principle of freedom of the seas directly contradicted British naval hegemony; thus, despite Wilson's efforts, he was unable to secure British compliance at the Paris Peace Conference (Keylor 9/26/06). In addition, the Fourteen Points call for the removal of all existing economic barriers and the establishment of free and equal trade between all “peace-loving nations” (McGuire 81-83). This article is founded on the belief that economic interdependence reduces a state's incentives to make war, and protectionism promotes nationalism, which can give rise to war sentiments. [...]
[...] Going to war with an economic ally damages a country's financial stability and can lead to internal social unrest. Thus, it will be in a state's best interest to practice diplomacy directed at avoiding military conflict. According to Wilson, free trade and open markets between nations were also vital in promoting the economic recovery of Europe. Such financial revival would restore social order and prevent future wars. (Keylor 9/26/06) In the fourth article, Wilson calls for “adequate guarantees” that states will engage in a reduction of armaments to lowest point consistent with domestic safety” (McGuire 81-83). [...]
[...] Peace will be maintained by making national boundaries coincide with ethnic boundaries. The “impartial” readjustment of the Austro-Hungarian and the Ottoman Empire borders based on existing national boundaries and the evacuation of occupied lands is to facilitate the process of allotting this new freedom (McGuire 81-83). Self determination is to justify the division of central Europe and the creation of so called nation-states in the region. Nonetheless, this creation of new states, such as Czechoslovakia, often resulted in a unification of nationalities, already intertwined geographically, into states (Keylor 9/26/06). [...]
[...] All in all, the Fourteen Points President Woodrow Wilson announced to Congress in 1918, called for the abolition of secret diplomacy, a guaranteed freedom of the seas, the removal of international trade barriers, a reduction of arms, changes to boundaries based on the principle of self-determination, and for a League of Nations to arbitrate disputes between nations and usher in a stable peace. Wilson's idealistic goals were directed at restoring social order and world trade in war-torn Europe to ensure a quick revival of the region, partly because he deemed European stability necessary to suppress the threat of Bolshevism. [...]
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