President Woodrow Wilson - War and Peace
WORLD WAR I
The outbreak of WWI, or the Great War, occurred after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungrian Empire
U.S. AT WAR
President Woodrow Wilson declared war against Germany after numerous aggressions, and the U.S. then joined the Allies in WWI
President Wilson addressed Congress with his plan to end the war for world peace on January 18
PARIS PEACE CONFERENCE
The Paris Peace Conference of the Allies met in Versailles and President Wilson secured adoption of the Convenant of the League of Nations
NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
President Wilson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for promoting the ideas that created the United Nations
President Woodrow Wilson won the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize as the leading designer behind the League of Nations.
Reluctant Entrance into WWI
After the outbreak of WWI in 1914, Wilson’s policy was to keep the U.S. from going to war. However, he took action after Germany’s submarine offensive sunk four American ships. In 1917, with the approval of the U.S. Congress, Wilson declared war. He committed himself 100% to both the war effort and to peaceful resolutions of future conflicts.
A Dedicated Devotion to Peace
He personally rallied the nation––its people, industries, and agriculture––to fight the war. At the same time, Wilson’s address to Congress on January 8, 1918, outlined a plan he called the Fourteen Points program for peace recommending self-government for oppressed peoples, a conciliatory attitude to losers of conflicts, and a league of nations to guarantee post-war peace. People were won over by his vision of a world in which freedom, justice, and peace could flourish.
Britain and France Damage the Peace Process
After WWI, the 1919 Peace Conference assembled in Versailles. Although he was at the height of his fame, the negotiations in Paris didn’t go the way Wilson hoped. Britain and France insisted that Germany pay an enormous indemnity and accept the blame for the war. However, at the Peace Conference, he did secure the adoption of the Covenant of the League of Nations.
Losing the Fight for the League of Nations
Back home, Republicans had gained a majority in the Senate and refused to approve U.S. membership in the new League of Nations. Woodrow Wilson expended all his mental and physical strength to tour the country to obtain the support of the American people for the ratification of the Covenant of the League. Unfortunately, the strain of the tour caused him to suffer a cerebral hemorrhage from which he never fully recovered.
Due to the fact that the League of Nations remained an idea rather than a reality, the Nobel Committee initially disagreed about granting the award to President Wilson. A year later in 1920, the Nobel Committee decided to award Wilson the Nobel Peace Prize, a distinction he deserved for promoting that ideas that would later become our United Nations.
Did You Know?
- Wilson’s first memory is of hearing that Abraham Lincoln had been elected President and that the Civil War was impending.
- Wilson enacted the graduated tax system, still in use today, whereby people who make less, pay less.
- Wilson’s face is on the $100,000 bill, officially discontinued on July 14, 1969.
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