Lesson Plan - Get It!
In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson called for "peace without victory." What does that idea mean to you? Take a minute to discuss this concept with your parent or teacher.
WWI started in Europe in 1914.
For several years, the United States remained neutral. In 1917, the United States entered on the side of the Allies. Two months before Congress declared war, on January 22, 1917, President Wilson addressed Congress; part of his speech said:
"Only a tranquil Europe can be a stable Europe. There must be, not a balance of power, but a community of power; not organized rivalries, but an organized common peace ... Victory would mean peace forced upon the loser, a victor's terms imposed upon the vanquished. It would be accepted in humiliation, under duress, at an intolerable sacrifice, and would leave a sting, a resentment, a bitter memory upon which terms of peace would rest, not permanently, but only as upon quicksand" (firstworldwar.com).
The question now becomes, "Did Congress and the rest of the world follow Wilson's suggestion of 'peace without victory' "?
Wilson's goals were laid out in his plan known as the Fourteen Points. Read the Avalon Project's online copy of President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points (Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman Law Library). Take notes of some of his major ideas.
The leaders of France, Britain, Italy, and the United States met at the Paris Peace Conference. The decisions made there helped create the treaty that officially ended WWI, known as the Treaty of Versailles. As the country that was looked at as the perpetrator of the war, Germany was not invited to attend the conference, nor were any of the other Central Powers.
Watch World War I - Treaty of Versailles (watchmojo.com, below) to learn more about the Treaty of Versailles:
Take some time to read the History Channel's account of the Treaty of Versailles, and watch the video (also below).
Talk with a parent or teacher about the positive and negative implications of both the Fourteen Points and Treaty of Versailles. Do you see any parts that had potential to cause future problems for the nations involved?
This treaty had lasting effects. Many historians contend it set the stage for World War II.