Wilson's Fourteen Points
In January 1918, US President Woodrow Wilson outlined his Fourteen Points which enacts his visions for world peace.
His Fourteen Points:
No more secret agreements between countries. Diplomacy shall be open to the world.
International seas shall be free to navigate during peace and war.
There shall be free trade between the countries who accept the peace.
There shall be a worldwide reduction in weapons and armies by all countries.
Colonial claims over land and regions will be fair.
Russia will be allowed to determine its own form of government. All German troops will leave Russian soil.
German troops will evacuate Belgium and Belgium will be an independent country.
France will regain all territory including the disputed land of Alsace-Lorraine.
The borders of Italy will be established such that all Italians will be within the country of Italy.
Austria-Hungary will be allowed to continue to be an independent country.
The Central Powers will evacuate Serbia, Montenegro, and Romania leaving them as independent countries.
The Turkish people of the Ottoman Empire will have their own country. Other nationalities under the Ottoman rule will also have security.
Poland shall be an independent country.
A League of Nations will be formed that protects the independence of all countries no matter how big or small.
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
New Russian Leader Lenin was desperately trying to establish the Bolshevik government and believed that Russia should end its involvement in the First World War as the war had a devastating effect on Russia's economy and lower classes.
Wilson hoped that his Fourteen Points speech would encourage Russia to remain in the war and urge Germany to seek a peaceful settlement.
However, in March 1918, this was ignored when Lenin had to sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany
The treaty was extremely harsh and not in line with Wilson’s Fourteen Speech
Russia was to give up Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Georgia and Finland
These areas contained much of Russia’s best farmland, raw materials and heavy industry.
Russia lost 25% of its population, 25% of its industry and 90% of its coal mines.
As Russia is now out of the war, Germany didn’t have to fight on two fronts and Germany gained a vast amount of land and resources as a result of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.
Germany then launched a major attack on it’s Western front, and for a time the Central Powers were very close to victory.
Until the Allies launched a major counter-attack in mid-1918 which eventually pushed Germany back.
The German Revolution
Kaiser Wilhelm II tried to do a last-ditch attempt to defeat the Allies.
When the German sailors convinced it was a suicide mission, they started a rebellion within Germany which led into a bigger revolution
The Kaiser was then forced to go into exile in the Netherlands, in which he was then abdicated on November 9, 1918
Germany then became the Weimar Republic, this new government sought peace terms based on Wilson’s fourteen Points.