World War I (L120)

1.)  Based on Lesson 117 and the reading, how has it been argued that Woodrow Wilson followed a double standard in his treatment of the British hunger blockade and the German submarine warfare? What policy did he take regarding Americans sailing on ships flying belligerent flags?

Ultimately, Woodrow Wilson exercised a double standard in his dealings with the British hunger blockade and German submarine warfare by punishing the Germans, for reacting to having not only their military, but their men, women, and children starved out by the British. Wilson seemed simply to forget the fact that submarine warfare was an act of self defense and preservation among the Germans. And so, in the name of “influencing the peace”, the United States sent out a ship armed with weapons and civilians, into a war-zone to be demolished (as an excuse to enter the war). All the while, Wilson was claiming he wanted “peace without victory”, but when all was said and done, Germany was broken up and handed out like a winners’ prize; punishing the Germans for defending themselves.
Woodrow Wilson believed that every American had the right to travel (carrying weapons of war) on an armed belligerent ship, during wartime through a declared submarine zone; and that should they be harmed, the United States would step in to deal with the problem.

2.)  Explain five of the major ideas outlined in Wilson’s Fourteen Points.

I. “Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.”
This was to mean that there should be no closed-door negotiations; everybody’s business was out in the open for all to know. This however, was not the path followed, and there were many secret negotiations held between Britain, France, Italy, and the United States.

V. “A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of 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.”
This meant that there was to be an impartial reviewing and deciding of colonial claims. However, in reality what happened was, Germany lost all of it’s colonies.

XIV. “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 and small states alike.”
This meant that there was to be the formation of a “league of nations” of sorts. This was crucial to Wilson, and ultimately his dependence on it’s success lead to his manipulation within the higher powers.

Aside from actual points in the speech, Wilson makes large of both the fact that he has no grudges against the Germans, and no ill will, and also the fact that he wants world peace and justice. Both of these statements being inherent lies.

“Avalon Project – President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points.” Avalon Project – President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points. 2008 Lillian Goldman Law Library, n.d. Web. 14 May 2015. <;.

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