Wilson’s goals during the Paris Peace Conference were to make the world safe for democracy and also prevent war in the future. As a result he presented fourteen goals in the Paris Peace conference out of which two were incorporated in the peace treaty. The goals called for the adjustment of Europe’s borders to give self government to minority groups- self determination. The second goal called for an association of nations that would solve disputes peacefully -League of Nations (Cavendish, 2010). Armstrong & McBride (2003) says that Wilson’s fourteen points were largely opposed by the other members of the Big Four that is France, England, and Germany.
Wilson wanted to transform European politics without getting too involved in actually working with or protecting Europe. Ikenberry (2008) indicated that “the League of Nations in Wilson’s view was a vehicle to lock European states into a new type of order” (p. 138). He wanted to form an institution that would ensure peaceful settlement of disputes and reinforce democratic governance. In this context Wilson sought to ensure that fate of these territories be determined with impartiality and some measure of self determination, eventually involving the creation of a mandate system administered by the new League of Nations (Ikenberry, 2008).
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In addition, Wilson’s goals were incorporated into the peace treaty through the rearrangement of European borders according to self determination of national groups and the establishment of an international dispute resolution body (McCannon, 2010). As a result of the principle of self determination incorporated in the peace treaty, new countries were created which included Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Wilson’s insistence that the treaty agreement come at the beginning of the peace conference was to put the League of Nations at the centre of the peace treaty and weave it into the entire settlement (Ikenberry, 2008).
In each of the instances involved in signing the treaty, Wilson resisted where he could and conceded where he had to in order to achieve agreement on his prize element of the treaty, the league of nations and self-determination. When the treaty was finally signed, Wilson got a fraction of what he initially wanted (Cavendish, 2010). Also, Germany was held responsible for the war and was made to pay reparations. Also Germany lost twelve percent of its land hence the harshness of the treaty angered the German people.
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