President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, 8 January, 1918:
will be our wish and purpose that the processes of peace, when they are
begun, shall be absolutely open and that they shall involve and permit
henceforth no secret understandings of any kind. The day of conquest
and aggrandizement is gone by; so is also the day of secret covenants
entered into in the interest of particular governments and likely at
some unlooked-for moment to upset the peace of the world. It is this
happy fact, now clear to the view of every public man whose thoughts do
not still linger in an age that is dead and gone, which makes it
possible for every nation whose purposes are consistent with justice
and the peace of the world to avow nor or at any other time the objects
it has in view.
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 programme of the
world's peace, therefore, is our programme; and that programme, the
only possible programme, as we see it, is this:
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.
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
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.
Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be
reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety.
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.
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; 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
will be the acid test of their good will, of their comprehension of her
needs as distinguished from their own interests, and of their
intelligent and unselfish sympathy.
Belgium, 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. No other single act will serve as this
will serve to restore confidence among the nations in the laws which
they have themselves set and determined for the government of their
relations with one another. Without this healing act the whole
structure and validity of international law is forever impaired.
All French territory 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 all.
IX. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality.
The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish
to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest
opportunity to autonomous development.
Rumania, 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 counsel 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 into.
The turkish portion of the present 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, and the
Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships
and commerce of all nations under international guarantees.
An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the
territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should
be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and
economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by
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.
regard to these essential rectifications of wrong and assertions of
right we feel ourselves to be intimate partners of all the governments
and peoples associated together against the Imperialists. We cannot be
separated in interest or divided in purpose. We stand together until
For such arrangements and covenants we are willing to
fight and to continue to fight until they are achieved; but only
because we wish the right to prevail and desire a just and stable peace
such as can be secured only by removing the chief provocations to war,
which this programme does remove. We have no jealousy of German
greatness, and there is nothing in this programme that impairs it. We
grudge her no achievement or distinction of learning or of pacific
enterprise such as have made her record very bright and very enviable.
We do not wish to injure her or to block in any way her legitimate
influence or power. We do not wish to fight her either with arms or
with hostile arrangements of trade if she is willing to associate
herself with us and the other peace- loving nations of the world in
covenants of justice and law and fair dealing. We wish her only to
accept a place of equality among the peoples of the world, -- the new
world in which we now live, -- instead of a place of mastery.