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Fourteen Points

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U.S. President Woodrow Wilson

The Fourteen Points was a statement of principles for peace that was to be used for peace negotiations in order to end World War I. The principles were outlined in a January 8, 1918 speech on war aims and peace terms to the United States Congress by President Woodrow Wilson. Europeans generally welcomed Wilson's points,[1] but his main Allied colleagues (Georges Clemenceau of France, David Lloyd George of the United Kingdom, and Vittorio Orlando of Italy) were skeptical of the applicability of Wilsonian idealism.[2]

The United States had joined the Allied Powers in fighting the Central Powers on April 6, 1917. Its entry into the war had in part been due to Germany's resumption of submarine warfare against merchant ships trading with France and Britain and also the interception of the Zimmermann Telegram. However, Wilson wanted to avoid the United States' involvement in the long-standing European tensions between the great powers; if America was going to fight, he wanted to try to separate that participation in the war from nationalistic disputes or ambitions. The need for moral aims was made more important, when after the fall of the Russian government, the Bolsheviks disclosed secret treatiesmade between the Allies. Wilson's speech also responded to Vladimir Lenin's Decree on Peace of November 1917, immediately after the October Revolution in 1917.[3]

The speech made by Wilson took many domestic progressive ideas and translated them into foreign policy (free tradeopen agreementsdemocracy and self-determination). Three days earlier United Kingdom Prime Minister Lloyd George had made a speech setting out Britain's war aims which bore some similarity to Wilson's speech but which proposed reparations be paid by the Central Powers and which was more vague in its promises to the non-Turkish subjects of the Ottoman Empire. The Fourteen Points in the speech were based on the research of the Inquiry, a team of about 150 advisers led by foreign-policy adviser Edward M. House, into the topics likely to arise in the anticipated peace conference.

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 W. Wilson 
US president