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11-08-2015, 16:50


In contrast to its military role in 1917 and 1918, the United States stood at the pivot of the Allies' diplomatic effort. Wilson's slogan of a war that would "make the world safe for democracy" set a goal and a tone for American diplomacy. The United States, more than any other participant, committed itself openly to fundamental changes, not only in the interna tional order, but in the way in which international relations were to be conducted. Thus, in January 1918, President Wilson set down the framework for negotiations leading to both the Armistice and subsequent peace treaties in his Fourteen Points. He pressured Britain and France to accept, at least nominally, ideas like public diplomacy and a reordering of the map of Europe on the principles of nationality. A striking idea the American president presented in his Fourteen Points was a League of Nations that would help regulate international affairs after the war had been concluded. Wilson argued that World War I thus would be the "war to end all wars." Wilson's ideas resonated in the enemy camp. When Germany began to negotiate for an end to the fighting, it addressed its requests to the United States and called for a peace settlement along the lines of the Fourteen Points. Thus, with defeat imminent, Germany's new prime minister. Prince Max of Baden, cited the Fourteen Points as he proposed an immediate armistice to the German Reichstag on October 5. For the remainder of the negotiations leading to a cessation of hostilities, the lines of communication ran from Berlin to Washington—and then to London and Paris.