What were President Wilson's Fourteen Points?
The first five of Wilson's Fourteen Points were quite
I. The Abolition of Secret Treaties Secret treaties were common
before the First World War, and many blamed them for helping spark
II. The Freedom of the Seas The freedom of the seas allowed for
freedom of navigation outside territorial waters at times of war
and peace, but also allowed for total and partial blockades "for
the enforcement of international covenants." This proposal was
opposed in particular by the United Kingdom.
III. Free Trade Free trade provided for the removal of economic
barriers between peaceful nations, also called for the introduction
of equality in trading conditions.
IV. Disarmament Disarmament "to the lowest point consistent with
V. Adjustment of Colonial Claims. Wilson called for
decolonization and national self-determination for formerly
colonized countries, and for the people of the world to give equal
weight to the opinions of the colonized peoples as to those of the
Points six through thirteen were more specific, dealing
with the situation of specific countries:
VI. Russia In the aftermath of the October Revolution and the
context of the ongoing Civil War, Russia was to be assured its
independent development. This also called for a withdrawal from
occupied Russian territory.
VII. The restoration of Belgium Belgium to be evacuated and
restored to the status quo ante bellum.
VIII. Alsace-Lorraine France had lost Alsace-Lorraine to Germany
following the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War; it was to be
IX. Italy The borders of Italy were to be redrawn on lines of
nationality. Ignoring the territorial promises made under the
secret 1915 London Pact, whereby Italy was persuaded to enter the
war on the Allies' side, this became a source of resentment in that
X. Austria-Hungary Autonomous development of the peoples of
XI. Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, and other Balkan states The
integrity of Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, and other Balkan states
was to be respected, their territories deoccupied, and Serbia was
to be given access to the Adriatic Sea.
XII. Ottoman Empire Sovereignty for the Turkish portion of the
Ottoman Empire, autonomous development for other nationalities, and
free navigation of the Dardanelles.
XIII. The Polish question The establishment of an independent
Poland with access to the sea.
Wilson's final point was perhaps the most visionary:
XIV. A general association of nations Point 14 called for a
multilateral international association of nations to enforce the
peace, foreshadowing the League of Nations (and, after the Second
World War, the United Nations).