Thomas Woodrow Wilson
Father of the League of Nations
President Woodrow Wilson of the United States won the Peace Prize for 1919 as the leading architect behind the League of Nations. It was to ensure world peace after the slaughter of millions of people in the First World War.
After the outbreak of war in 1914, it was Wilson's policy to keep the United States out. But Germany's unrestricted submarine offensive sank American ships, and in 1917 Wilson took the United States into the war. While severely critical of those at home who opposed the war, he presented his Fourteen Points program for peace. Wilson recommended national self-government for oppressed peoples, a conciliatory attitude to losers in the war, and a league of nations to ensure post-war peace.
The peace negotiations in Paris were a disappointment to Wilson. Britain and France insisted that Germany must pay an enormous indemnity and accept the blame for the war. Subsequently the Senate refused to approve US membership of the new League of Nations. For this reason there was disagreement about Wilson in the Nobel Committee, until a majority decided to give him the Prize.