Woodrow Wilson And His Great Idea Of League Of Nations

Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th president of the United States, serving two terms from 1913 to 1921. He is often remembered as one of the nation’s greatest presidents, and a leader of the Progressive Movement. During his leadership, he had to guide the U.S. through critical times and lead America through the most significant world conflict up to that time. Although he agreed to stay neutral at the outbreak of World War I, he eventually decided to enter the war to make the world safe for democracy. Throughout his presidency, Wilson strived to resolve the world conflict and establish peace between the nations.

Woodrow Wilson was born on December 28th, 1856, in the small town of Staunton, Virginia. Born to Presbyterian ministers, his family moved all around the South of the United States. During the Civil War, his parents enlisted to help wounded confederate soldiers, and Wilson witnessed the true destruction of war up-close. Although Wilson likely had dyslexia, he was accepted to study law at Princeton University. He received a Ph.D. in Political Science and was appointed as a professor in Princeton. He began his political career there, running for governor of New Jersey as a Democrat, and winning the position. He was selected as the nominee for the presidency from the Democratic party and won the election against opponent William Howard Taft (“Woodrow”).

Beginning in World War 1, Wilson wished for America to remain isolated, and not get involved in the European war. He saw the role of the United States as a mediator between conflicts and a peace-broker. Although he sent supplies to the allied cause, he hoped not to get involved militarily. This all changed on May 7th, 1915, when a German U-boat sank the ocean liner Lusitania, killing 128 Americans. To add to this, the Germans sent a telegram to Mexico, stating that they would support them if they attacked the U.S. On April 2nd, America finally declared war on Germany and joined WW1. This new declaration of war came at a critical time. In Russia, the Bolsheviks took control of the government, swiftly exiting the war. This freed thousands of Axis troops to move from the Eastern front to the Western front. The French and British, who had been fighting in the trenches of the Western front for years now, were exhausted. Now, with the support of the new American troops, the allies were pushing Germany back (“Wilson”). Famous American offensives include Chateau-Thierry, Belleau Wood, the Second Battle of the Marne, and the most famous, the Meuse Argonne offensive. With the Germans in a desperate situation, Wilson offered a treaty for their surrender.

The Fourteen points were a list of principles issued by Wilson at the end of the war, detailing his plans for the post-war peace settlement. This Treaty presented plans for a “just peace,” one which would leave nations at peace and not thirsting for vengeance. (The Editors) Wilson called for the end of secret diplomacy, reduction of armaments, freedom of the seas, reduction to trade barriers, re-organization of colonial territories, and much more. His most revolutionary idea was the creation of an international body, called the League of Nations, which would regulate international disputes, and enforce the Fourteen points. This Treaty was optimistic for the future and was much more lenient on Germany. This did not sit well with the other allied powers. After years of brutal fighting with Germany, the ally powers were not keen on leaving it unpunished. For their own interests, they wanted to annihilate Germany so it would never pose a threat again. The ally powers met in Paris to discuss peace. Not interested in a just peace, the ally powers ignored point after point of Wilson’s proposal. They imposed harsh reparations on Germany, continued secret diplomacies, and seized German colonies. They did, however, accept Wilson’s idea of the League of Nations. This League was not the powerhouse Wilson hoped for, though (“The Treaty”). For his efforts to bring peace, Wilson won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1920

When Wilson returned from Paris, he found his League of Nations unpopular with the U.S. Senate. Henry Cabot Lodge -a Republican leader of the Senate- believed both the Treaty and the League limited U.S. power and autonomy in international matters. Article X of the League of Nations requested the U.S. to respect the territories of all other member states. It also required its integrants to support another member-state if attacked by an outside force. By joining the League, they might have been forced to impose an economic embargo or break off diplomatic relations. To counteract this, Lodge sabotaged the League covenant by declaring the United States exempt from Article X, attaching amendments to the Treaty. Unfortunately, President Wilson was not willing to welcome any amendments. The Treaty had to be accepted as it was, or otherwise, the U.S. was not going to join the League. The stubbornness of President Wilson, accompanied by weakened health, drove him to ask his party to vote against the Treaty. In the end, the U.S. chose not to join the League of Nations, which ultimately doomed this new institution (“The Treaty''). Woodrow Wilson died in 1924, never seeing his vision completed.

President Woodrow Wilson is regarded as one of the greatest American presidents. He led the U.S. through the biggest world conflict up to that time, and always strived for peace. He envisioned a world without conflict, where disputes would be solved peacefully. Although the Allied Powers ignored his Fourteen Points during his time, his work came to be the foundation for the United Nations. This institution has stood the test of time and has largely followed Wilson’s dream of a united international body. Throughout his life, he was motivated by a sense of mission and an ideal to leave the world a better place.

07 July 2022
Your Email

By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and  Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.

close thanks-icon

Your essay sample has been sent.

Order now
Still can’t find what you need?

Order custom paper and save your time
for priority classes!

Order paper now