Overall, the 14 points outlines by Wilson were ignored at the Paris Peace Conference as a whole, with only 4 of the suggestions being implemented to some degree in the Treaty of Versailles, to the disappointment of President Woodrow Wilson

 Open Diplomacy

I. “Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.”

  • This point, as stated wished for the non-existence of secret treaties or agreements withheld from the public
  • Was an effort to prevent the formation of the alliance system, which was a factor in the outbreak of the Great War
  • Was never implemented by any nations following the conclusion of the Great War

Freedom of the Seas

II. “Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.”

  • Would result in freedom of the sea to all nations, allowing any ship to travel anywhere without hindrance, also giving the power of naval sanctions to the League of Nations (theoretically)
  • Intended to combat naval arms race in an effort for control of the sea
  • Was rejected because it would mean the forfeit of the British naval power, historically their only means of strength
  • Power was not incorporated into the League of Nations, only theoretical, never really issued

Free Commerce and Trade

III. “The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.”

  • Would establish free trade between all nations by removing all duties and levies on products between any nations in times of peace
  • Meant to promote international trade to the benefit of all nations, increasing their revenue, especially to the U.S
  • Completely ignored as an international effort, with each nation deciding not to give up its ability to govern its trade policy in such a way, instead of leading each to pursue its own policy

Mutual Disarmament

IV. “Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety.”

  • Created to prevent another arms race, which would eventually lead to someone using their assets in the war
  • Was not included in the final treaty, unless counting the huge decrease in Central Power arms

League of Nations

XIV. “A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.”

  • Was Wilsons brainchild, what he eventually decided to focus on creating at the Paris peace conference
  • He believed this was the most important point because, through its function, the other points could be later implemented
  • Was able to convince Clemenceau and Lloyd George to include its creating in the final Treaty of Versailles, formed with acceptance of the treaty
  • Was to act international cooperation meant to prevent another war or to resolve international conflicts that would emerge
  • Was to fail miserably, as the Americans decided to not ratify the treaty of Versailles, one reason being the obligatory nature suggested by the organization if the action were required ( U.S isolationist)
  • Was officially superseded in 1946 by United Nations, enjoying minor successes, but major failures due to the fact that:
  • The U.S, the leading power in the world at the time, did not join
  • Germany was not allowed to join as it was not considered a member of the international community, as per the treaty of Versailles (league had no effect on it, could not aid league)
  • Russia was also banned initially, due to the nature of the government and the murder of the Russian royal family, which angered all of Europe
  • Meant not as much power assigned to the organization as intended, even major members like Britain, France, and Italy were not fully committed to the resolutions of the league
author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0


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