It was not the power of the opposition forces, liberal or conservative, of the U.S. that led to the final defeat of the Treaty of Versailles, but rather the political ignorance, inability and inflexibility of the President, Woodrow Wilson. With the surrender of Germany after WW1, it presented many different ways to create peace. Wilson in 1918 offered his plans for peace in the "Fourteen Points", the most important of which he believed was Article X, the League of Nations. One year later, Wilson led the Paris Peace Conference at Versailles to reach an international pact that included the points. However, the U.S. was never to sign the treaty or join the League of Nations Woodrow Wilson's ideas for peace were well rooted in thought, but in politically applying his ideas, he made unchangeable mistakes. In heading up the peace conference, Wilson made a serious mistake by not included
World War One introduced the terrifying new concept of total war to an unsuspecting world. Nationalism and delusions of world conquest turned civilians into soldiers. Before the war, humans were developing technology at the fastest rate in history. After the war ended, President Wilson and the rest of the Allied leaders were responsible for the challenge of putting Europe back together the way one might piece together a jigsaw puzzle. Unfortunately, in a turn of events that would prove disastrous for the future of the world, President Wilson's ineptitude and stubbornness led to the Senate defeat of the Treaty of Versailles.
President Wilson went to Europe as an idealistic progressive. He had grand plans for the future of Europe. However, when he met with the other leaders his ideas were destroyed. Nevertheless, Wilson consented to the terms of the Treaty simply because it contained what he saw as his legacy: the League of Nations. This League of Nations was not embraced by the world as a positive idea. One reason for its unpopularity was that it planned to prevent the things they opposed by using those exact same things as an opposition. For example, it wanted to use force to destroy force, war to prevent war, etc (Document A). Wilson's description of the future under the League of Nations was not a pleasant one. Wilson's description of the League of Nations was an endorsement of the imperialism that would come back to hurt the United States later in the twentieth century. Americans knew that the solutions that Wilson had proposed and endorsed were doomed to failure.
Setting aside the flaws within the proposal for the League of Nations, there was still widespread doubt in the morality behind the rest of the Treaty. Despite the faults of Germany, the victors of the war had no right to punish them. People had no right to degrade the lives of millions and deprive a whole nation of happiness no matter what they did. (Document F) It wasn't just the media that expressed concern over the ethics behind the Treaty of Versailles. Wilson's own administration questioned it....