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The Fourteen Points of Woodrow Wilson - Essay Example

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The impending termination of the hostilities caused the U.S. President Woodrow Wilson to ponder the problems of post-War settlement that might arise as the result of the Allied victory in the situation when the Central Powers’ empires were crumbling to dust and the Russian state was in the situation of unprecedented political upheaval. With this in mind, the American government began drafting preliminary conditions for the peace accords with Germany and its to-be-vanquished allies. The results of these ruminations were eventually incarnated in the form of the famed Fourteen Points, presented by Wilson on 8 January 1918, during the session of the U.S. Congress. The speech pronounced by Wilson contained the main outline of the international order that was intended to be enforced by the victorious Allies after November 1918, and which was nevertheless never fully implemented. Therefore it is necessary to examine the basic feature of the supposed Wilsonian world order, with special focus on the European situation, as Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points were clearly aimed at the settlement of European affairs.The first items in Fourteen Points deal first and foremost with the issues of general interest. The principle of open diplomacy, which was frequently denied or breached by the European powers in the past, was solemnly affirmed as the core foundation of the international relations (point 1). ...
as the main principles of international economic relations, were expressed in the respective provisions

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of the 2nd and 3rd provisions of Fourteen Points that dealt with specifically economic issues. The importance of the problems connected with disarmaments and regulation of armaments in general was expressed in the stipulation of the necessity of limitation of armed forces and armaments to the level adequate for maintaining domestic security. However, the ambiguity of this point made it almost inapplicable within the situation that was characteristic of European powers in that period. Therefore it was never really implemented by any state that later subscribed to the Treaty of Versailles. The following point had more far-reaching consequences, as the demand that the colonial issues be settled while taking into account the interests and aspirations of subordinate populations was a revolutionary breakthrough in the direction of the later affirmation of the sovereign right of any people to self-determination. Eventually the codification of this principle gave rise to the anti-colonial movements and decolonization as such. Concerning the Russian question, which was one of the most troubling ones in view of revolutionary developments then taking place under the Bolshevik government, the Fourteen Points proposed a rather vague program, which consisted mainly in demand for evacuation of German troops stationed in the territory of former Russian Empire, the provision for guarantees of the free and independent political development of future Russian political entity, and the implementation of assistance program for the purposes of maintaining physical well-being of the beleaguered Russian people. The Fourteen Points solemnly proclaimed that the treatment of Russia by the

Summary

The final period of WW I brought to understanding of the majority of its participants the simple fact that the War was effectively lost by the Central Powers.Germany and its allies were exhausted and the Central Powers were no more able to turn the balance of forces in their direction. …
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