December 4

This Day in History

General Interest

Dec 4, 1918:

President Wilson travels to Europe

President Woodrow Wilson departs Washington, D.C., on the first European trip by a U.S. president. After nine days at sea aboard the S.S. George Washington, Wilson arrived at Brest, France, and traveled by land to Versailles, where he headed the American delegation to the peace conference seeking an official end to World War I.

Although the president's political opponents criticized his European visit as a sign of egotism, Wilson worked tirelessly during the proceedings to orchestrate an agreement that would encourage a lasting peace in Europe. During the stay, Wilson also led the effort for the establishment of the League of Nations, an international organization designed to seek diplomatic solutions to future conflicts.

At Versailles, Wilson's hopes for a "just and stable peace" were opposed by the other victorious Allies, and the final treaty, which called for stiff war reparations from the former Central Powers, was regarded with increasing bitterness in Germany. President Woodrow Wilson was awarded the 1920 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to bring peace to Europe.

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