In 1918, Wilson drew up his Fourteen Points; he believed Article X, the League of Nations, was the most important. These points were incorporated in an international accord made at the Paris Peace Conference at Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles offered numerous ways to create harmony. Nevertheless, the U. S. neither joined the League of Nations nor signed the treaty. It was not the influence of the opponent forces of the U. S. , conservative or liberal, that led to the absolute defeat of the Treaty of Versailles, but rather the political unawareness, incapability, and stubbornness of President Woodrow Wilson.
After the war ended, Allied leaders and President Wilson were faced with putting Europe back together the way it was before the war. Certain events led to the Senate’s defeat of the treaty. Wilson was an optimistic progressive, with striking policies for the outlook of Europe. Many of these plans were shut down by other leaders; Wilson still approved the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles because his prime issue, the League of Nations, was still included. Many people of the world did not see the League as a good idea.
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They wanted and were promised the war to end in a peace and “moralize nationalism”, but the treaty did not reach their expectations (Document B). It planned to prevent effects that were conflicting by using the same things for opposition. It wanted to use force to destroy force, militarism to prevent militarism, et cetera (Document A). Americans recognized that the resolutions projected and allowed by Wilson were condemned to fail. Wilson’s administration questioned the morals included in the treaty.
His Food Administrator, Hoover, wrote Wilson a letter expressing his concerns. Hoover believed the public would not stand for the wrongs in the treaty (Document D). Wilson did not agree with Hoover in that of which if the treaty was ratified, then it could be amended to please both sides. The public realized the consequences of Germany’s punishments. John Keynes thought the victors had no right to penalize Germany’s citizens and deprive them of happiness (Document F).
Americans were divided in the ways of which things should have been carried out. Addams agreed that an international organization was needed; and W. E. B. DU Bois supported the League of Nations calling it “the most forward-looking event of the century”. He also stated that if Wilson was not bullheaded, the treaty would have been approved by the Senate (Document H). The Treaty of Versailles was intended to keep peace, and if fact, did the opposite. It reated chaos in Eastern Europe and Germany, even without Congress’s approval. Wilson’s inability to see this caused him to give into the other leaders. They were trying to do nothing more than punish their enemies with ruthless compensations and land acquirements. A political cartoonist showed the idea that the U. S. should have stayed out of foreign problems (Document E). If the U. S. had ratified the treaty, they would have been joining the League of Nations. Two majors groups were in opposition of the treaty.
Irreconcilables were completely against the joining, while Reservationists wanted a few amendments, especially against Article X. Lodge and the Reservationists delayed the voting for the treaty, because if was presented right after the war, a general feeling of pity would overcome Congress and it would be ratified immediately. Lodge’s changes made Wilson ordered the Democrats to vote completely against the treaty with added reservations. His stubbornness and personal feelings against Lodge, would not allow him to accept changes made to his treaty.
Also, Wilson only took one Republican with him to France from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the committee would have first say over any ratification of the treaty. As a result of his stroke from traveling around the country presenting his idea to the public, he was paralyzed and placed in isolation for the remainder of his presidency. The treaty was not approved and Congress passed joint resolutions with the Central powers, ending the war. The U. S. by no means joined the League of Nations, for which President Wilson gave his life for.