Picture of the Day: January 7

6/12/2006 • Picture of the Day, Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points
On January 8, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson addressed a hastily convened joint session of Congress, publicly stating the Fourteen Points–his idealistic plan for a world forever free from conflict. Most of Wilson’s Fourteen Points addressed specific European territorial concerns, but he also called for fair and generous treatment of Germany, absolute freedom of the seas, national boundaries determined on the basis of language, and the establishment of a general assembly of nations. When World War I ended in November 1918, Wilson personally attended the peace negotiations, believing that with his guidance, ‘peace without victory’ was possible and a new world order was at hand. What he had not counted on was the bitterness and cynicism of his allies, who had lost much. As the negotiations progressed, more and more of the Fourteen Points were sacrificed to vengeance and a grab for land. The German magazine Simplicissimus remarked on Wilson’s betrayal of his principles in June 1919 with God asking, ‘Woodrow Wilson, where are your 14 Points?’ Wilson responds, ‘Don’t get excited, Lord, we didn’t keep your Ten Commandments either!’