Yohane Mbeeya Moono
An Alumni of the Zambia Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies
Reuters Trained Journalist
World politics in the late 19th Century and the early 20th century was dominated by the Alliance System which until this day is attributed to Otto Von Bismarck as the man to have coined the Alliance System.
The World Political status quo would remain the same until the First World War broke out on 28th July, 1914 after Austria declared war on Serbia. When Serbia appealed to Russia for help, this set in motion a series of events which culminated in what became the First World War.
Immediately after the First World War, a group of World leaders convened in France to discuss how to end the war and the Big Four to attend the meeting was Woodrow Wilson. The meeting was held in France in 1919.
Who was Woodrow Wilson?
Woodrow Wilson was born on 28th December, 1856 and he trained as a lawyer and historian. Before becoming a politician, Woodrow Wilson spent most of his time in the Universities . He was an idealist democrat. He went on to become the President of the United States of America.
Woodrow Wilson attended the meeting of the Big Four who discussed modalities to end the war. Among the attendees was David Lloyd George of Britain, Vittorio Orlando of Italy, Georges Clemenceau of France. At this particular meeting, Woodrow Wilson presented the 14 points plan which would forever Chang the political landscape of the International Community.
How did the 14 Points Plan Change the International Community?
Woodrow Wilson proposed that All negotiations between States were to be done in open. This is Change from the secrecy that was there during the period of Alliances among countries. He further proposed that there should be freedom in the usage of seas both in peace and war times except in territorial waters. He also proposed that there should be International Free by way of no tariff barriers between countries.
Furthermore, Woodrow Wilson proposed that there should be general disarmament by all nations to the lowest possible point that was consistent with national security. The wishes of people in colonies were to be taken into account when settling colonial boundaries.
Finally among other proposals, Woodrow Wilson suggested that there should be the Creation of an International Organization to ensure World peace and security and prevent an outbreak of another war.
The ideas of Woodrow Wilson changed the way countries how countries have to formulate the foreign policies. The emphasis on international free trade, resulted in countries choosing allies who shared the same economic vision as them. The ideas also resulted in countries begin to realise how foreign relations contributed to the improvement of the economic welfare of their countries.
What happened after this Proposal from Woodrow Wilson?
After the proposal from Woodrow Wilson was looked at. The Allied powers came up with the initiative to form an International organization. On 10th January, 1920 the initiative of the Allied Powers resulted in the formation of the League of Nations. This was a brainchild of Woodrow Wilson. The League of Nations was formed to prevent a repetition of the First World War, but within two decades this effort failed. Economic depression, renewed nationalism, weakened successor states, and feelings of humiliation (particularly in Germany) eventually contributed to the Second World War. Another reason that contributed to the failure of the League of Nations was the Allied Power members were not official members of the League of Nations.
However, it is very clearly that the ideas of Woodrow Wilson permeated the whole world and have continued to permeate the world because it gave rise to International politics through the formation of international organization. After this failure, the League of Nations was eventually replaced by the United Nations. Basically the United Nations has the same mandate as the League of Nations but the United Nations has managed to contain the further outbreak of another war through is unanimous decision format when undertaking a project.
The ideas of Woodrow Wilson have shaped the International Political landscape through the formation of International Organizations which have played a key role in improving trade and international cooperation. The brainchild of Woodrow Wilson the League of Nations might have failed but the ideas he had on International Organizations still permeate through the United Nations which replaced the League of Nations.