The Fourteen Points was a speech delivered by United States President Woodrow Wilson to a joint session of Congress on January 8, 1918. The address was intended to assure thecountry that the Great War was being fought for a moral cause and for postwar peace in Europe. People in Europe generally welcomed Wilson's intervention, but his Allied colleagues (Georges Clemenceau,David Lloyd George and Vittorio Emanuele Orlando) were skeptical of the applicability of Wilsonian idealism.
The speech was delivered 10 months before the Armistice with Germany and became the basisfor the terms of the German surrender, as negotiated at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. The Treaty of Versailles had little to do with the Fourteen Points and so was never ratified by the U.S.Senate.
The U.S. joined the Allies in fighting the Central Powers on April 6, 1917. By early 1918 it was clear that the war was nearing its end. The Fourteen Points in the speech were based on theresearch of the Inquiry, a team of about 150 advisors led by foreign-policy advisor Edward M. House into the topics likely to arise in the anticipated peace conference. Wilson's speech on January 8,1918, took many of the principles of progressivism that had produced domestic reform in the U.S. and translated them into foreign policy (free trade, open agreements, democracy and self-determination).The Fourteen Points speech was the only explicit statement of war aims by any of the nations fighting in World War I, some belligerents gave general indications of their aims, others refused to statetheir aims.
The speech also responded to Vladimir Lenin's Decree on Peace of October 1917, which proposed an immediate withdrawal of Russia from the war, calling for a just and democratic peace thatwas not compromised by territorial annexations, and led to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on March 3, 1918.
Thomas Woodrow Wilson...