One hundred years ago U.S. president took lead to end war

| January 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

Courtesy photo

Dennis Drake
U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — A hundred years ago this month, World War I consumed the continent of Europe as Allied forces from Great Britain, France and others were joined by United States Soldiers, eventually numbering 2-million by year’s end.

They were pitted against experienced and fierce armies of Germany, Austria-Hungary and others, who’d been fighting the deadliest war known to man for the past three years.

In January 1918, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson unveiled a proposal to end the war. Known as his “14 Points,” it set conditions for Germany to withdraw its forces from countries they were currently occupying, and it provided a blueprint for world peace following the war.

14 Points
Wilson looked at the issues causing the war – unrestricted submarine warfare on the oceans against innocent ships, secret negotiations between nations, the build-up of arms and large forces, and invasions and occupation of countries, among others. His “14 Points” proposed the following solutions:

1) Diplomacy will always be in the public’s view.
2) The oceans will always be free for navigation.
3) Economic barriers will be removed and trade between nations will be equal.
4) Arms will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with a nation’s safety.
5) Countries colonized by other nations will be afforded the interests of their population concerning sovereignty and given equal weight with the colorizers.
6) Russia must be freed from occupation and should determine its own form of government.
7) Belgium must be freed from occupation.
8) France must be freed from occupation.
9) Italy’s borders should clearly recognize its lines of nationality.
10) Populations of Austria-Hungary should be given freedom to determine their destiny.
11) Romania, Serbia and Montenegro should be freed from occupation. Serbia should be given free and secure access to the sea.
12) Turkey should be assured a secure sovereignty; the Dardanelles sea lanes should be permanently opened as a free passage to ships and commerce of all nations.
13) Poland should be independent.
14) An organization of nations must be formed for the purpose of giving all nations – large or small – guarantees of independence and territorial integrity.
The Allied leaders reacted to Wilson’s 14 Points as being too idealistic, and they were skeptical that they could be completed.
Germany called the proposal “enemy propaganda.”
The war would continue for 11 more months, and Wilson’s “14 Points” would be debated at a peace conference stretching into 1919. But that year, Wilson received a Nobel Prize for his peace-making efforts.

In this photo from the book “Official Pictures of the World War” National Guard Soldiers of Ohio’s 166th Infantry Regiment of the 42nd Division make their way through the snowy French countryside during December 1917 in what became known as the “Valley Forge Hike.” The troops marched 100 kilometers in the snow from the Vaucouleurs to Rolampont, France. (Photo provided by the New York State Military Museum)

American troops undergo grenade gun training in France during World War I. (Photo Credit: Library of Congress)

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