On this day, December 13, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson arrived in Paris to participate in the final peace talks that will end the War to End All Wars, or World War I.
Unlike his counterparts in Britain and France–who wanted sweet revenge over 4 years of trench warfare–Wilson wanted to re-organize the international order to develop a new society based on peace, cooperation and democracy. His “Fourteen Points” outlined Wilson’s philosophy of international rights, individual self-determination and a worldwide peacekeeping body that would resolve international conflicts without bloodshed.
The ultimate treaty fell well short of Wilson’s wishes, and would ultimately lead to an even worse conflict two decades later.
Attached is an old documentary about the Paris Peace Conference. It’s pretty straightforward and it gives a good synopsis of the sides, arguments and politics of postwar Europe.