What Are the Fourteen Points?


Quick Answer

The Fourteen Points was President Woodrow Wilson's plan for peace in Europe. Wilson announced the plan in a speech to a joint session of Congress on Jan. 8, 1917. The plan involved the Allied nations setting unselfish peace terms with the Central Powers and forming an association of nations that would eventually be known as the League of Nations with the goal of ensuring a future without world wars.

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Full Answer

Some of the unselfish peace terms involved freedom of the seas, giving back territories conquered during the war and national self-determination rights to the Balkans. Wilson felt that World War I destroyed the past balance of power shared by European countries and wanted to present an alternative method of keeping the peace. He realized the Bolshevik-inspired revolutions happening across the globe threatened the stability of traditional countries. He hoped his points would convince Russia to stay in the war instead of attempting to find peace with the Central Powers.

While the speech did not prevent Russia from withdrawing from the war and making peace with the Central Powers, Wilson's Fourteen Points aided in the armistice between the warring nations the following year in November. However, following the peace, France and England, who were among the victorious nations, disagreed with his plan and put in place harsh peace terms.

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