Fourteen Points, The, a set of 14 principles proposed by President Woodrow Wilson as a basis for ending World War I and for keeping the peace thereafter. These principles were set forth by Wilson in an address to the United States Congress on January 8, 1918. Germany welcomed this basis for peace when on the verge of defeat by the Allies some months later. However, only six points were put into effect as Wilson had intended. These were 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, and 14. The 14th point led to establishment of the League of Nations.

In summary form, the Fourteen Points were:

  • Abolition of secret diplomacy by adoption of open covenants (agreements), openly arrived at.
  • Freedom of the seas in peace and war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action to enforce international covenants.
  • Removal of international trade barriers where-ever possible and establishment of equal trading conditions among the nations accepting the peace.
  • Reduction of armaments to the lowest point consistent with public safety.
  • Adjustment of colonial claims, taking into account the interests of the colonial population as well as those of the rival colonial powers.
  • Evacuation of German troops from Russian territory, and an opportunity for Russia, then engaged in the Communist revolution, to determine its form of government without outside interference.
  • Evacuation of German troops from Belgium.
  • Evacuation and restoration by Germany of French territory, with restoration to France of Alsace-Lorraine.
  • Readjustment of the frontiers of Italy along clearly recognizable lines of nationality.
  • Opportunity of autonomous development for the peoples of Austria-Hungary.
  • Evacuation by the Central Powers of Serbia, Montenegro, and Romania; granting of seaports to Serbia; and international guarantees of the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the Balkan states.
  • Internationalization of the Dardanelles and self-determination for non-Turkish peoples under Turkish control.
  • An independent Poland with access to the sea.
  • Establishment of a general association of nations to afford mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to large and small nations alike.

In a speech on July 4, 1918, Wilson described the spirit of the Fourteen Points: “What we seek is the reign of law, based upon the consent of the governed and sustained by the organized opinion of mankind.”