Aims of the participants and peacemakers: Wilson and the fourteen points
1.1.1 Aims of the participants
The United States:
- Woodrow Wilson gave a speech to Congress in January 1918 in which he presented his aims for a peace settlement. These aims became known as Wilson's 14 points.
- The aims were idealistic. Wilson wanted to create world peace by eliminating what he thought had caused the war.
- Freedom of navigation
- Democracy and national self-determination
- Free trade
- Stop treaties that were being made in secrecy
- General disarmament
- Create the League of Nations
- Wilson wanted to make Germany pay to some extent for causing the war and establish a period of probation after which Germany would be able to join the League of Nations.
- Had suffered disastrous losses during the war and feared that Germany would attack again in the future once it had rebuilt a strong economy. Georges Clemenceau was premier of France.
- Wanted to weaken Germany by placing many restrictions on it
- Extensive demilitarisation of Germany
- German territorial reductions
- Reparations to weaken the German economy and also to pay for the damage Germany had caused.
- The Rhineland to be taken from Germany and to be set up as an independent state
- Take the Saar region from Germany as financial compensation
- Controle Luxemburg and Belgium
- Regain Alsace-Lorraine which had been by Germany in 1871
- Make the West area of the Rhine a French puppet state incase of future German attack
- Wanted a guaranteed agreement with the United States and the United Kingdom to form a firm alliance in case of a future German attack.
- Promises were made by politicians in the December 1918 General Elections about making Germany pay for all the loss and damage it had caused.
- Germany to pay extensive reparations
- Stop Germany from tacking control of Europe
- Stop Germany from becoming a potential source of conflict
- Get ride of the German fleet
- Germany to return the territories it had taken during the war
- Self-Government for the nations of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and for the non-Turkish people within the Ottoman Empire
- The creation of an independent Polish state
- However, Britain wanted to rebuild a strong economy by restoring European relations and trade. Unlike France, Britain wanted German economic recovery as Britain would benefit greatly from the trade with Germany who before 1914 was a very important buyer of British goods.
- Wanted to keep the balance of power within Europe stable
- Did not want France to expand beyond Alsace-Lorraine and did not support France in the domination of Europe
- Did not want to form a guaranteed alliance with France. Believed in freedom of action
- Only wanted to intervene if the balance of power was threatened
- Wanted the territories that had been promised to it in the Treaty of London
- These included South Tyrol, Trentino, the Dodecanese Islands and Trieste
- Did not take into account national self-determination
- When Italy was denied these territories it walked out of the Versailles Conference.
- Wanted to be recognised for its dominant position in China
- Wanted possession of the former German territories in China and the Pacific
- Wanted to secure a larger empire for security and economic strength
- Did not support self-determination
- Wanted to be one of the major powers
- Wanted racial equality in the peace settlement