Woodrow Wilson: The Fourteen Points (1918)

Delivered by Woodrow Wilson to Congress, January 8, 1918

            We entered this war because violations of right had occurred which touched us to the quick and made the life of our own people impossible unless they were corrected and the world secured once and for all against their recurrence.  What we demand in this war, therefore, is nothing peculiar to ourselves. . . .  All the peoples of the world are in effect partners in this interest, and for our own part we see very clearly, that unless justice be done to others, it will not be done to us.  The program of the world's peace, therefore, is our program; and that program, the only possible program, as we see it is this:

            1.  Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be not be private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in public view.

            2.   Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.

            3.  The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.

            4.  Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety.

            5.  A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined.

            6.  The evacuation of all Russian territory and such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia as will secure the best and freest cooperation of the other nations of the world in obtaining for her an unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for the independent determination of her own political development and national policy and assure her of a sincere welcome into the society of free nations under institutions of her own choosing. . . .

            7.  Belgium . . . must be evacuated and restored, without any attempt to limit the sovereignty which she enjoys in common with other free nations.

            8.  All French territory shall be freed and the invaded portions restored, and the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine, which has unsettled the peace of the world for nearly fifty years, should be righted, in order that peace may once more be made secure in the interest of all.

            9.  A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality.

            10.  The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity of autonomous development.

            11.  Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be evacuated; occupied territories restored; Serbia accorded free and secure access to the sea . . . and international guarantees of the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the several Balkan states should be entered into.

            12.  The Turkish portions of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development, and the Dardenelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees.

            13.  An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity would be guaranteed by international covenant.

            14.  A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.

Question: Which basic ideas dominate Wilson's viewpoint?