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Treaty of Versailles. Ratification Failure 1919-1920. Wilson & the 14 Points. Idealism in Foreign Policy . Wilson was an idealist who wanted this war to “ end all wars. ” He believed that America’s entrance into WWI would “ make the world safe for democracy .”

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Treaty of Versailles

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treaty of versailles

Treaty of Versailles

Ratification Failure 1919-1920

wilson the 14 points
Wilson & the 14 Points

Idealism in Foreign Policy

  • Wilson was an idealist who wanted this war to “end all wars.”
  • He believed that America’s entrance into WWI would “make the world safe for democracy.”
  • He wanted “peace w/o victory.”
after rumors surface of proposed post war land exchanges
After rumors surface of proposed post-war land exchanges:
  • Wilson tries to refocus the goals of the war on just principles
  • and lay the foundation for peace on 14 Points
points 1 5
Points 1-5
  • General goals to remove the causes of war (none fulfilled):
  • Open covenants of peace openly arrived at
  • Absolute freedom of seas
  • Removal of all trade barriers
  • Reduction of armaments to those needed for domestic safety
  • End colonial claims
points 6 13 dealt with boundary changes self determination independence
Points 6-13 dealt with boundary changes, self-determination, & independence

6. Evacuation of all Russian territory

7. Evacuation and restoration of Belgium

8. Evacuation and restoration of all French lands; (Alsace-Lorraine to be returned to France.

9. Readjustment of Italy’s frontiers

10. Self-determination for former subjects of the Austro-Hungarian Empire

11. Evacuation of Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro, free access to the sea for Serbia

12. Self-determination for the former subjects of the Ottoman Empire; sovereignty for Turkey

13. Establishment of an independent Poland

wilson s mistakes prior to paris

Wilson’s mistakes prior to Paris

Mistake #1 He attempted to get Democrats elected to Congress in the November 1918 mid-term elections, thus abandoning his “politics is adjourned pledge”—it backfires and the Republicans gain a majority in the Senate. Postwar economic issues are largely responsible.

mistake 2 political grandstanding
Mistake #2: “Political Grandstanding”
  • Two weeks after the elections, Wilson announced he would attend the peace conference personally. No president had traveled to Europe during his presidency before.
mistake 3 peace delegation includes no senators or prominent republicans
Mistake #3: Peace delegation includes no senators or prominent Republicans
  • No members of the Senate
  • Only 1 Republican, diplomat Henry White
  • Henry Cabot Lodge, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee not included
Mistake #4: Wilson misinterprets his grand welcome in Europe as proof the world approves his peace plan
  • In Paris, 2 million people came out to see him and hailed Wilson as “Wilson le juste”
the paris peace conference
The Paris Peace Conference
  • Opened in January 1919 and continued until May
  • 27 Nations represented
  • The Big Four dominated the proceedings

France: Georges Clemenceau

Britain: David Lloyd George

Italy: Vittorio Orlando

America: Woodrow Wilson


Treaty’s Contents (Principal German Losses)

Germany was stripped of:

100% of her pre-war colonies

80% of her pre-war fleet

48% of all iron production

16% of all coal production

13% of her 1914 territory

12% of her population

"Squeeze them until the pips squeak."


Further restrictions/consequences:

Germany was forbidden to construct fortifications on the Rhine River

Territories of Alsace-Lorraine are restored to France

Germany will respect the independence of Austria

Germany will respect the independence of a Czecho-Slovak State

Germany will respect the independence of Poland

German army must not exceed 100,000 men

German navy must not exceed 6 battleships, 6 light cruisers, 12 destroyers, 12 torpedo boats…No submarines. Germany had to build ships for the Allies.

No tanks, aircraft or heavy artillery were to be manufactured for the German armed forces


Further punitive consequences:

Article 231, “War Guilt Clause”: Germany accepts the responsibility for causing all the loss and damage to the Allied and Associated Governments

Article 232, Germany will make compensation for all damage done to the civilian populations and their property (The amount was fixed at $33 billion dollars)

Article 428, Germany territory to the west of the Rhine River will be occupied by Allied and Associated troops for 15 years.