Struggle Over Peace The Political Battles of Woodrow Wilson

Sean Lovellette


Drafted at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, the Treaty of Versailles remains one of the most important documents of the 20th century. US President Woodrow Wilson, a key figure at the Conference, saw his vision for peace rejected and not reflected in the Treaty. Focusing on the Treaty of Versailles and the conclusion of World War I, my research examines the Treaty in the context of Wilson’s political philosophy, while identifying the ways it diverges from his vision for peace. I utilize a number of sources, including newspaper articles, correspondences between the Allied and German leaders, speeches given by prominent political figures, and the Treaty itself. These primary sources reveal a disagreement among the Allied leaders; many, such as George Clemeneceau, fought for a “peace of justice,” intending to punish Germany and gain both justice and peace in Europe. Wilson sought a different solution, called a “peace without victory.” The Treaty of Versailles became a peace of justice, at the detriment of Wilson’s ideals, yet Wilson’s ideas permeated the discussions at the Paris Peace Conference, and many leaders referred to him in their rhetoric, allowing his ideology to form the framework for discussion of peace. This research highlights Wilson’s strong influence on the Treaty of Versailles and the Paris Peace Conference, despite his failure to impose his policies on the Treaty terms.


Woodrow Wilson, World War One, Treaty of Versailles

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