Armistice Veterans

Ninety two years ago today, on a railway track in the forest near Compiegne, the United States and its Allies signed an armistice agreement with Germany that was to take effect “on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” in France and end the First World War.  Preliminary negotiations were requested the prior month by Germany and AustriaHungary, who appealed for an armistice based on the Fourteen Points of President Woodrow Wilson.

“What we demand in this war,” Wilson said, introducing the Fourteen Points to a joint session of Congress the previous January, “is nothing peculiar to ourselves.”  With an explicit statement of his objectives for an outcome to the war in the Fourteen Points, Wilson proposed an idealistic program, intended to secure a lasting peace in what he described as “the final war for human liberty.”

Central to Wilson’s aims was his final point for a League of Nations.

XIV – A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.

But lack of American preparation and strategy for subsequent negotiations led to disagreements that eventually doomed the Fourteen Points, with critics predicting the Second World War’s devastating consequences.

Initially secured by the November 11 armistice now commemorated in the United States as Veterans Day, the peace lost in the early 20th century might have even greater relevance to the course of current events.

In contrast to Wilson’s single-minded idealism, Barack Obama pursues a dualistic course of action in a global currency war, with rhetoric calling for international unity while inciting inflation scare through a debasement of the American dollar.

This is in addition to Obama’s coddling of a terrorist regime in Iran, which is developing a nuclear weapons program at the expense of the Iranian people, of whom Wilson said, “We would not dare compromise upon any matter as the champion of this thing – this peace of the world, this attitude of justice, this principle that we are the masters of no people but are here to see that every people in the world shall choose its own masters and govern its own destinies.”

References

Mario R. DiNunzio, ed., Woodrow Wilson: Essential Writings & Speeches of the Scholar-President (New York: New York University Press, 2006).

Joel S. Poetker, The Fourteen Points (Columbus: Merrill Publishing, 1969).

Fredrik Stanton, Great Negotiations: Agreements that Changed the Modern World (Yardley: Westholme Publishing, 2010).

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