The Fourteen Points laid out by President Woodrow Wilson in 1918 was a suggested plan for peace to end World War I, and a plan that would lead to a more stable international climate considering how many different alliances were forged during World War I and also how many different enemies were created. The plan was somewhat idealistic but it was not simply intended to be used as a plan for peace, it was also meant as propaganda by President Wilson, who intended for the message to reach the leaders of the Central Powers and entice them to work towards this particular peace program.
It was also intended to inspire Americans to become more patriotic and fervent about peace, and to appease those who thought that the United States had entered World War I for selfish reasons. Most importantly, however, the Fourteen Points as laid out by Wilson were intended to be a starting point towards peace negotiations. Of the Fourteen Points, the first five had the most wide-reaching effects, while the rest were more geared towards specific questions that would have to be resolved after the First World War.
The first five are perhaps the most important as they were: open covenants, freedom of the seas in war and during peace times, the removal of economic barriers, the reduction of armaments, and adjusting colonial claims in a way that respected the inhabitants. One of the most important points of this speech and peace program, however, was the fourteenth point which called for a “general association of nations”, out of which grew the creation of the League of Nations.
The general philosophy behind President Wilson’s Fourteen Points was twofold: first, he believed that by appealing to the Central Powers with an enticing offer of peace, he would be able to accomplish peace more easily, and secondly, he felt that by showing a diplomatic solution was America’s idea, he could retain some power in negotiations and hold a sort of leadership over the Allied Powers and, if the war kept on, it gave him a diplomatic weapon to use in negotiations because he had been willing to settle into a peace program that would have satisfied everyone involved in the war.
In general, the Fourteen Points were a remarkable piece of diplomatic relations that was intended to set a precedence for the end of World War I.