President Woodrow Wilson’s 14-point program for world peace was drawn up in early 1918, and it included recommendations and ideas to resolve territorial issues among combatant nations; it also covered principles to promote peace, such as treaties, world trade, freedom of the seas and reduction of armaments. Another important recommendation that was included in the program concerned the formation of the League of Nations, an organization to help promote collective security and territorial integrity of all states.
President Wilson, a forward-thinking visionary, aimed to not only protect U.S. interests during the First World War, but to also promote the principles of peace and justice around the world. To achieve these aims, he drew up a 14-point program with specific recommendations for achieving peace, collective security and political independence of all nations. The majority of the points addressed specific issues about territorial integrity and causes of the war itself, such as secret treaties and arms races. Other proposals provided a general blueprint for achieving peace in the future, including the principle of self-determination for oppressed colonial minorities. His final recommendation to form the League of Nations was ironically never ratified by the U.S. Senate, and the United States never joined the organization.
The Fourteen Points are often considered a high point in Wilson’s and the United States’ diplomatic efforts to overhaul international relations at the time. Although not all points from the program were accepted, the Fourteen Points formed the basis for the Treaty of Versailles, the agreement that finally ended the First World War.