Why Did Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points Fail?

Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points failed as France was seeking harsher punishments for Germany following WWI, the countries of Europe were interested in maintaining their imperial assets and he faced political opposition in the U.S. While not all of Wilson’s points were implemented, they did result in the Treaty of Versailles being less harsh than it would have been without his input.

Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points aimed to restore peace in Europe and prevent further wars by reallocating lands that had been seized, establishing sensible imperialist settlements and forming a league of nations to prevent further wars. However, as the allied forces had suffered greater losses during WWI than the U.S., they were seeking harsher punishments for Germany. They did not want restrictions on their imperialist activities, as they wished to restore their assets following the war. Publicly the allied forces declared support for his points, but many were challenged when it came to the Treaty of Versailles, as France was especially keen to see Germany punished harshly.

In addition to challenges in Europe, Wilson was facing opposition at home. The Republicans believed he was using the 14 points as a partisan Democratic issue, making them angry. This anger was furthered when Wilson failed to take Republican representatives to France with him for the negotiations. When it came to negotiating the Treaty of Versailles, Wilson was forced to abandon many of the points so he could focus on establishing a league of nations instead.