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Current time:0:00Total duration:16:36
KC‑7.3.II.C (KC)
Unit 7: Learning Objective F
WOR (Theme)

Video transcript

as we go into January of 1918 let's remind ourselves of kind of the context the background that's going on especially relative to World War one first of all in April of 1917 so a lot of the context is what happened in 1917 you have the u.s. declares war on declares war on Germany and the the main argument they give is this unrestricted submarine warfare that the Germans are undertaking you also have the fall of the Russian Empire fall of Russian Russian Empire you have the essentially the revolution that overthrows the Czar in February March of 1917 and then in October you have the Bolsheviks take over in a coup now the fault this essentially the Bolsheviks once they take over there and they have no interest in terms of continuing the war with Germany so you have a an armistice declared and the Russians are in the process of negotiating the terms of a treaty with the Central Powers so they're kind of negotiating the brest-litovsk treaty as we speak now on top of that you have because the Central Powers don't have to focus on Russia on the Eastern Front anymore they are trying to bring their there especially Germany is trying to bring its troops back to the Western Front and they want to do it before the u.s. can mobilize in any significant way so race race on Western Front Western Front between essentially can Germany get its troops and do an offensive that can put probably France out of the war before the US has a chance to significantly reinforce the Western Front so this is essentially between German remote redeployed troops from the Eastern Front German troops troops from Eastern from Eastern Front versus new American troops versus new Americans so this is the backdrop no one really knew what exactly was going to happen on the Western Front certain military analyst would say well like Germany was able to prosecute this two-front war against a major empire in Russia now that they're going to able to focus completely on the Western Front Germany might be able to kind of deal the decisive blow others would say well look the US it's this it's this emerging power it's bringing fresh troops in it has a major industrial capacity the US could if especially if the war were to last a good bit the US might make be the decisive the decisive element for the Allies so that's the background in which President Wilson President Woodrow Wilson on January of 1918 January 8th gives a speech to the joint sessions of Congress and this is a part of the text of the speech and I'm just going to read through it I'm not going to read the entire speech he talks about many things essentially why are we in World War one what is the moral causes of World War one and the speech is most famous for his articulation of the fourteen points so let's just read into it because it really informs a lot of what happened in the Treaty of Versailles that which is essentially the peace treaty with Germany which the US ironically did not ratify but it also kind of lays out the the tension in in the Paris peace conferences after World War one between those who are more idealistic like Woodrow Wilson and those who might have been a little bit more vengeful especially against the central powers so here we go this is part of the speech 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 for all against their recurrence what we demand in this war therefore is nothing peculiar to ourselves it is that the world be made fit and safe to live and this is very idealistic remember all these other especially these European powers are all about who gets what land who gets what Empire who gets to kind of take advantage of whatever colony and particularly that it be made safe for every peace-loving nation which like our own wishes to live its own life determine its in its own institutions and be assured of justice and fair dealing by the other peoples of the world as against force and selfish aggression all the peoples of the world are in effect partners in this interest and for our own part we see very clearly that on justice be done to others it will not be done to us the program of the World Peace therefore is our program and that program the only possible program all we see it is this and this is these are his 14 points and I'll try to kind of give some context for each of them so the first is open covenants of peace openly arrived at which after after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view and the context here is actually after the Bolsheviks took over they started releasing all these secret the secret covenants and understandings that the Russian Empire had been getting into and a lot of we've already talked about all the entanglements and the alliances that led to World War one and so this is Wilson's attempt to say hey look let's just do everything out in the open that'll that'll that'll let everyone kind of know get more transparency what may or may not occur based on their actions number two absolute freedom of navigation upon the 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 so no more of these British blockades no more of this unrestricted submarine warfare the only time we could kind of dictate what happens in open waters is if it's the international community trying to decide that it wants to enforce international covenants number three the removal of all economic barriers and the establishment of equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance so essentially free trade free free trade number for adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety so he's trying to undo some of this this militarism this this buildup this of arms that helped start the world the essentially allowed World War one to happen with the ferocity that it did and the quickness with which it did number five a free open-minded an absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims based upon a strict observance 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 so this is a big deal that probably did not make the British or the French happy this is essentially saying look self-determination the people who are in those in those nations in those states they should be able to their interest matter just as much so a free open mind an absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims so this is this is a pretty big deal remember we're kind of exiting this period of empires most of the European powers still think that these international empires are essentially part of their their prestige number six 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 this is still one sentence and then he doesn't even put a period there semicolon and I guess he had to read it himself and more than a welcome assistance also of every kind that she may need and may herself desire the treatment accorded Russia by her sister Nations in the months to come remember they're negotiating with the central powers on brest-litovsk to come will be the acid test of their goodwill of their comprehension of her needs as this twink as distinguished from her own interests and of their intelligent and unselfish sympathy so saying look I mean Wilson doesn't know whether the Allies or the Central Powers are going to win on the Western Front but they know that the the Central Powers are dictating terms to Russia with brest-litovsk it's like look you this is going to be a test of your goodwill of your comprehension of the needs of this kind of newly emerging a state now that the Bolsheviks have taken over obviously at this point you don't have the antique and the antagonism between the US and and the the future Soviet Union that that is going to emerge they're saying look give give Russia a chance to kind of be BB herself number seven Bell the whole world will agree must be evacuated and restored without any attempt to limit the sovereignty which she enjoys in common with all other free nations and so this is kind of obvious Belgium when the Russian when the Germans rolled through Belgium that's how they got to France is the justification that Great Britain used for entering the war so look get out of Belgium number eight all French territories should 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 also Alsace Lorraine we've touched on it several times that's that's this region right over here it was taken by Germany is essentially the unification of Germany during the prank oppression war this was a mineral rich region this was one of the justifications this was what why why France might have gone into a war with Germany and what Germany almost wanted to be pre-emptive against France because they were they said hey France might want to take some of that some of that territory back nine a readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality hey where do people speak Italian number ten the peoples of austria-hungary whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguard and assured should be accorded the freest opportunity to autonomous development so this is another big deal it's another breaking up of an empire it's another self-determination point of the fourteen points austria-hungary we've already said it was an empire it included many many many nationalities you have the Czechs right around there you have the Slovak s'right around there you have the Austrians german-speaking people right right over there you have the Hungarians roughly over there you have the Slovenians roughly over there you have the Croatians roughly over there you have the Bosnians roughly over there and I'm you know and you have many many other nationalities especially as you get close to the border with Romanian the border with the Ukraine and it's like look these people determine let let them determine their own fate to some degree there all these nationalities so that was number ten the freest opportunity to autonomous development and it's not he's not saying that they necessarily need their own states but that they should have the opportunity to kind of self govern in some way number eleven Romania Serbia and Montenegro should be evacuated occupied territories restored Serbia accorded free and secure access to the sea and the relations of the several Balkan states to one another determined by friendly Council along historically established lines of allegiance and nationality and international guarantees of the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the several Balkan states should be entered to and so this is kind of laying the groundwork for the future state of for the future state of Yugoslavia which is going to be which is going to be roughly over there this kind of the state of the southern Slavs which is what the whole motivation by Graviola Princip for kind of assassinating Archduke Archduke Ferdinand which some would argue is kind of the spark that lit World War one the Turkish portion of the president 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 once again self-determination and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees so the Dardanelles we've talked about it before that is that's this right over here so that you have access between the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea and we are almost there so then you have an independent polar state should be erected an independent polar state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by the indisputably polish populations which should be assured of free and secure access to the sea and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant so Poland did not exist as its own state prior to World War one now you have Woodrow Wilson is advocating it and it will be carved out roughly of this area right over there then finally finally Oh point fourteen 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 in small stakes states alike so this is essentially this is the point that leads to the formation of the League of Nations and this is a when we talk about big ideas this is a big idea especially back then you have this Europe that keeps getting into wars with each other hey why don't we all cooperate cooperate at this kind of meta level and and we have this this this this club of all of the nations to kind of resolve disputes and and you know and and and and make sure that we don't have another World War one so very very very big very very big idealistic idea it gets formed during the treaty or as an outcome of the Treaty of Versailles which which is ratify or choose which is drafted during the Paris peace conferences after World War one the unfortunate thing of the League of Nations is that even though this was kind of the idea was coming from Woodrow Wilson the the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations was not ratified by the US so the u.s. never entered the League of Nations which kind of made it a little bit Hollow and the League of Nations did not have the power to stop World War two from happening only only only a few decades only a few decades later and it will later be replaced by the United Nations but this is a really really really really really big idea and because of these big ideas Woodrow Wilson these very idealistic ideas I mean you know everyone in Europe is talking about territory and imperialism and how do they how do they take control of other people taking control of their resources and now you have the American president say look it's all about self-determination it's about making the world safe for democracy fit safe for commerce about open about open agreements so it's a very powerful idea and this would kind of form the basis kind of the more idealistic side of American foreign policy over the 20th century some would say that there's another very cynical side that takes into account self-interest but this is this is the the idealistic side of American foreign policy especially through the 20th century and for this for his work in this in this area Woodrow Wilson wins the Nobel Prize a few years later so this right here is a picture of what the Nobel Prize looks like both sides of it now and just to kind of foreshadow some of the tension as we get into the Paris Peace Conference not everyone was as idealistic you obviously have these European powers who bled much harder than the Americans did although the Americans did have did contribute significant cost or you know troops to the effort and they lost many many many folks but obviously if you're French you had these Germans on your territory you lost a significant fraction of your population a huge fraction of your male population you might be a little bit angrier and so of course you have georges clemenceau who was the Prime Minister of France and and he was a little bit more skeptical of the fourteen points this is a quote from him he has actually has many slightly entertaining quotes mr. Wilson bores me with his fourteen points why God Almighty has only ten and this will kind of this foreshadow some of the tension between Clemens so the and the British and and kind of the the European allies on one side and the Americans as we go into the Paris Peace Conference they were a little bit looking out more for revenge especially against the Germans while the Americans especially Woodrow Wilson was a little was actually a lot more idealistic