William Orpen - The Signing of Peace in the Hall of Mirrors

US Intervention in World War I and Wilson Principles

In 20th century, the adversity between nations sparked the counties to the great world which was destructive and ruinous. Peace changed places with conflicts of interests for a long time. Preeminent countries of the world battled in the open sea and the ample region which includes Europe, Asia and Middle East. This ravages changed the circumstance of world to the new direction. Now, the adjustment of the powerless countries was begun by New Powers. Successively; Germany, Australia and Ottoman Empire crumbled in terms of economic, politic and social.

After the industrial revaluation, economic competition and imperialism caused the big trouble between all nations. Germany and France fought to acquire Alsace-Lorraine because of the underground wealth. Moreover, Panislavism policy of Russia caused the independence of the Balkans in 1912-1913. These nations were under the control of Ottoman Empire so the aim of the Empire gaining the ascendance again. Following its defeat in the Balkan Wars, the Ottoman Empire not only lost a great portion of its territory in Europe, but caused the belief to be accepted by the Great Power. Videlicet, all counties wanted to expand their sovereignties under the undeveloped nations. This is the main reason of the World War I but other subjects also effected the movement of the war. Arms race, nationalism, the cooperation between some counties against others hastened the way going to war.

England was the leader of the imperial power although other nations France, Holland, Belgium, Russia were in the profit seeking. Actually, this war would distinguish, the most powerful nation, America. During this war, interference of the America entirely changed the consequences. Also, this process exactly hastened with the intervention of US.

In Europe, the spark was expected to transform the tension to war. In 1914, crown prince of Austria-Hungary during the visit to Sarajevo was killed by Serbian. Now, the world was ready to war. Austria, Serbia, and their partner the Allies, the opponents Germany and Ottoman Empire declared the war. By 1917, neither the Central Powers nor the Allies provided definite superiority. People and soldiers started to feel boredom because of the loss in human life and economic struggles. For three years, tens of front lines opened in Europe, Anatolia, Middle East and Caucasian. On the other hand, the area expanded in the length of time. However, the nations also struggled with their interior problem. The economic expenses for wars made people poor and unhealthy. In Russia Bolshevik Revaluation caused exiting the World War I. It is important because it indicates the dimension of threat which affects the all people.

America in World War I

Gentlemen of the Congress:

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 secure 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 in; and particularly that it be made safe for every peace-loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, 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 unless justice be done to others it will not be done to us. The program of the world’s peace, therefore, is our program; and that program, the only possible program…

This speech from, the president of US, Woodrow Wilson’s declaration of World War I and he tried to indicate his right to intervene this war. On other word, the government decided to participate new world system council. America, after three years decided to intervene in the war with the Allies.

In 1914, the war began in the Europe and it was far from Pacific Ocean. US citizens were in security. However, the government always followed this progress and the course of events would shape the US position. Americans didn’t demand this war and tried to build up peace. The President had to behavior according to his citizens. Moreover, the economic situation was in a high level in US. Industries, education, banks, agriculture, scientific progress made welfare in society. This arrangement should have not be corrupted according to people. President Wilson used the slogan in his re-election campaign “He kept us out of war”.

However, the conflict between Germany and Britain affected the US in a harmful way. The attacks in the open sea to US missiles submarines received reaction. Also, Germany, with its unlimited submarine warfare, not only impaired American commercial interests, but also, by sinking the passenger liner Lusitania and causing the death of more than 100 American citizen. The reaction among the citizens began for Germany’s attitudes. Open sea couldn’t be close to American ships by Germany. It damaged US trade with other nations and this is the one way to connect other nations. Germania’s behavior affected American prestige in a bad way. America had a power to prevent this nation expansion and sovereignty above the Europeans. The sea power of America was the essential for this war.

Monroe Doctrine had declared that every nation is independent to govern his countries and others can’t interfere the others interior policy. The war abrogated these principles and Germany Mexico cooperation was declared to the public opinion. This greatest shock was learning the statement made by the German Foreign Minister, Alfred Zimmermann, that in case of the American involvement in the war, they had a project to use Mexico against the USA. As we remember, America government New Mexico, Texas and some other lands took from Mexico by using force or money in 1850s. Germany offered to give these territories to Mexico in return for helping against America. It indicates that Germany before US intervention in the war anticipated the progress.

Wilson soon found that it was little help in the problems he actually faced. For example, Britain had the sense of reform her army in years before 1914, but had given insufficient attention to the means of arming it adequately. She had no chemical industry to speak of (she imported her dyes and drags largely from Germany. Now, they fought in war and the trade was stopped. Britain had to turn to the only other source of supply, the United State. Before war, America exported to Germany some manufactures but it failed off rapidly. The bankers couldn’t borrow money. American economy damaged because of being neutral. In this situation, the idea of bring peace didn’t indicate the aim of USA.

This was, the crucial moment when the truth made itself that real neutrality was impossible for a country as powerful as America had now become; she was bound to take sides, because whatever she did would affect the course of war. To deny Britain and France their loans would be to deny them the means, not just of victory, but of survival. To help them was to injure Germany and Austria-Hungary (empires from which millions of Americans or their families, had emigrated, and with which they preserved close ties.) The United States had to choose but the result was nearly obvious. Fate of Europe would be fate of USA.

In the first place, the public conscience of the American people, as expressed in the press and politicians’ speeches, indicated that the importance of Britain for America was indispensible. America was -two hundred years ago- a colony of Britain. Progression and changing the situation liberated the colony. In 1787, the declaration of independences was the announcement of liberty. However, lots of cultural characters remained to American society. For example, the language, the religion, the politic values, commercial and financial ties were shared for a long time. So, this line closed up America the Allies. However, America was a cosmopolite nation because there were lots of Germans citizens. This war can cause interior problem between the people. In this point, America to prevent this conflict declared that this war was not against Germans it was against the dictator government. This precaution mostly secured the problem.

The battle lines on the Western Front had barely moved from 1914 to 1917, but the entry of the United States into the war was a turning point. Not only was Americas weapons production able to arm its own fighting forces as well as those belonging to France and Great Britain, its entry into battle inspired other Western Hemisphere countries such as Brazil, Costa Rica, and Honduras to declare war on Germany as well. These developments made the defeat of Germany a possibility in the eyes of the Allies, and, most important, they weakened the Central Powers’ resolve. The economic contributions of the Americans also kept the Allies afloat, because by April 1917, the Allies had exhausted their finances. Germany armed forced was up against France and American army collaboration. American soldiers were nearly one million in Europe. It ruined the soldiers in land also in sea power of America helped to Britain against German’s ship. The consequences of World War I shaped after the 6 April 1917.

The threat of Germany was destroyed aspect of Europe and America. These attacks wars were not only helping to Europe but also probation of American Super Power. It showed that without USA, the world could not be shaped by other nations. In this war, we can see the policy of “Pragmatism” obviously.

Wilson Principles Declaration

During the war -January 1918- President Wilson declared his proposal for finding some solution for New World. He thought for reasons of this war and found some ways to end this war. Wilson believed that his proposals were fair for all nations. In terms of commercial, militarism, international relation, independence, open sea, open agreement he prepared this declaration. As a leader of the Allies – America – how Wilson arrange these points fairly? Other nations could not accept these because of supporting benefits of the Allies.

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.

II. Absolute freedom of navigation 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.

III. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.

IV. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety.

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.

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.

In arm rises and adjustment of colonial settled by Wilson to restoration new order for political and economical benefits.

These proposals aimed to secure American power in Atlantic and Pacific also European countries would take advantages against to Germany. France, Britain and Italia would gain territories which became conflict between Germany. It included some points which were important for international relations. He offered that all agreement would be open to others. In commercial relation there would be no border and free trade would be supplied all nations. In 1900s, the most part of the commerce was belonged to USA. Anyhow, the only power was America other national were not developed in industrial area. This proposal indicated that all nations could be market for USA. Moreover, A league of nations would be found to protect “mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small nations alike. Wilson planned to establish this league to control all nations in a legal way.

On the other hand, these points weren’t accepted by other nations. Even American Congress wouldn’t approve The League of Nations.

These fourteen proposals included some arrangements for nearly all nations. Italy, Prussia, Austria-Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Russia… It is impossible to arrange all countries by using one plan. This plan could not be executed and never be used to solve problems.

Ottoman Empire and XII. Principle

Ottoman Empire and Germany made an agreement to fight against other nations. However, Germany had difficulties to defeat Britain in sea. It just -prevent to trade- it run down ships. Some missiles of America were destroyed by Germany after these attacks triggered America against Germany. Ottoman Empire was undeveloped and by collaboration gained some weapons and war equipments. In Iran, Galicia, and Macedonia soldiers of Ottoman helped the ally. In Anatolia, Caucasia, Jerusalem, Çanakkale, Iraq Ottoman armies fought against the Allies. The only victory was in Çanakkale. However, lots of front made Ottoman territories war areas and the defeat was inevitable.

Upon Wilson’s demand, inquiry prepared a report on the points that must not be considered at the only peace negotiation. The President of America Woodrow Wilson, in 1918, in his Fourteen Principles suggested XII. Point for Ottoman Empire. It was well-thought plan to undermine Empire Structure. Wilson’s 12th point:

“The broad goals to be aimed at in order to render Middle Europe safe included, for the Ottoman Empire, the neutralization and internationalization of Constantinople and the Straits, and control of eastern terminals of the Berlin-Baghdad axis by an administration friendly to the Western nations. To accomplish this and as a matter of justice and humanity a guaranteed autonomy for Armenians must be secured.”

This point could not protect the independence of Ottoman Empire. Istanbul and Straits were belonged to the Empire also the control of the Bosporus. To restrict the power of Empire and to have this power America planned to declare this area free for ships. Also, France, Italy and Britain could use these ways to reach Middle East and Far East.

“The Turkish portions of the president Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development; and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees.

The points aim was according to ethnic group separate the structure of Empire. After the French Revaluation the slogan was nationalism and empire included lots of groups together. In Balkan Wars, Bulgaria and Greece reached to independence. In this point, Middle East Arabian groups had a right to govern their nation. Turks just would govern the lands where they were majority. It showed that just Anatolia was belonged to Ottoman. On other words, Syria, Iraq, Middle East, Caucasia were divided from the Empire.

Çanakkale was uttered called again to be free for all nations like Istanbul. Also, in East of Anatolia Armenian stated for a long time under the Ottoman Empire and they had rights in some areas. Now, Armenians’ right would be protected by USA.


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