Although the common goal of the leaders involved in the Paris negotiations was apparently to restore peace and stability in Europe, the Conference immediately exposed serious disagreement between the Allies concerning how to treat Germany. The views were highly contradictory with the Big Three leaders balancing between the long-term political benefits for their countries, almost always varying and often conflicting interests of their partners, and the public opinions of their nations (Henig 1995). As a result, majority of the participants failed to full achieve their goals, and the effects of the Treaty on each nation were vastly different.
The seriousness of President Wilson's intentions during the Conference was evident: he became the first American President to ever visit Europe while in office (McMillan 2001: 3) while the US mission in Paris included almost 1300 members at its peak (Gelfand, 1963). Wilson came up with the famous Fourteen Points program that was supposed to become the foundation for a peace program. The Fourteen Points included the following items:
1. Stopping the practice of secret agreements between nations.
2. Free navigation of all seas.
3. Removal of economic barriers between nations.
5. Impartiality of decisions relating to colonial territories
6. Removal of the German Army from Russia Empire to let the Russians build their own political system.
7. Independence of Belgium.
8. Full liberation of France and return of Alsace-Lorraine region
9. Italians must be allowed to live in Italy
10. Self-determination for nations under Austria-Hungarian rule.
11. Self-determination and guarantees of independence for the Balkan states.
12. Turkish government of the Turks and self-government for non-Turk nations living on the territory of the Ottoman Empire.
13. Creation of independent Poland with access to the sea.
14. Creation of a League of Nations, an international entity that must be a guarantee of the political and territorial independence of all states (Wilson 1918, p.680-681).
However, the Fourteen Points of President Wilson reflected his excessively idealistic and pacifist views on the political situation in Europe. Perhaps that is the key reason for largely unsuccessful effort of the American mission during the Conference.
Firstly, Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles held Germany liable for the damages done during the war: "The Allied and Associated Governments