The League of Nations
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The League of Nations

The history of the League of Nations is interesting. This international organization was the fore runner to today's United Nation. You will find the basic premise of the League was to prevent wars. The U N, however, has expanded it's role way beyond that premise and has become a major political entity in today's world.

The League of Nations was an organization that was an outcome of the Paris Peace Conference that brought about an end to the First World War. This international organization was to become the fore runner of the united nations.

The United States President Woodrow Wilson aggressively proposed the League of nations as a solution to prevent another world war. The world was weary and stunned by the magnitude of world war I. On January 8, 1918 President Wilson presented the prospect of becoming a member of the League of Nations to Congress. The opposition was strong because there were many in Congress that did not want outside interference in the affairs of the nation The president found his chief opposition in becoming a part of the coalition that he was so instrumental in founding was lead by Henry Cabot Lodge who believed in strict sovereignty and was leaning towards an Isolationist ideology for the nation. President Wilson's idea of a collective of community power that would over see the issues that came up between nations was alarming to members of Congress and the covenant that was agreed to at the Paris Peace conference was not ratified by the U.S, Senate. The United States, Much to the dismay of its president, was not to become a part of the Global entity that its own president had been so instrumental in setting the foundation of.

The League of Nations was head quartered in Geneva Switzerland and the direction of this new collective system was primarily left in the hands of Britain and France. There were not many outstanding achievements by the collective of nations and it just seemed to fade away over time.

With the outbreak of World War two it became obvious that the League of Nations was not accomplishing what it was set up to do. It’s purpose was to resolve conflicts and prevent world war. The international organization would eventually be dissolved in 1946.

The covenant:

The actual covenant consisted of 26 articles that were aimed towards a collective effort to settle nation state disputes and to establish international law as the rule of conduct for the nations various governments to adhere to.

Original Members:

The original members of the League of nations listed in alphabetical order were; Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia , Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, El Salvador, France, Greece Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Persia, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Rumania, Siam, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela and Yugoslavia.

There were a total of 63 countries that became members of the organization between the time of it's inception in 1920 until it dissolved in 1946. There were 42 founding members that started the organization. 20 more countries joined the league between 1920 and 1932. Only 24 of the original founding members remained until the league was dissolved. The USSR was the only nation to ever be expelled from the organization. The other nations that left did so of their own initiative. The original members were the victorious allies of world war one. The United States was the exception. The U.S.Congress did not ratify the Treaty even though President Wilson urged them to do so.

Notable successes:

In 1925 preventing war from breaking out between Greece and Bulgaria was a major accomplishment. The League also was instrumental in suppressing white slavery and opium traffic. Financial aid to economically struggling countries was another positive outcome of the organization. The international Health surveys were also heralded as a positive endeavor that was taken on by the collective membership of the League of nations.


In spite of the lofty goals of the League, was unable to wield enough political influence to become effective in gaining cooperation of the more powerful nations. Japan Occupied Manchuria against the dictates of the league and withdrew its membership in 1933. The Spanish Civil war was another conflict that the League was unable to prevent. Then when the leadership chose to appease Hitler the league was rendered ineffective and began to quickly collapse. The last important act of the League came in 1939 when the USSR was expelled for attacking Finland.

The demise of the League:

After the outbreak of World War II, The influence of the League of Nations was of no acceptable measure. It had become impotent. International peace was primary goal and it was not achieved. The globe was, once again, In the midst of a world war. The outcome of this event was the birth of the United Nations. As the assets and duties of the League were transferred to the UN, It became clear that the lofty ideas' of president Wilson Would not be all together abandoned. The United Nations was birthed out of the ideals of the League of Nations. This time the United States was to be a leading member of the collective of countries that became official on June 26 of 1945.

All though the League of Nations was not as successful as those who conceived it had hoped it would be. It was the fore runner of the most powerful international governing body in the world. The United Nations is the off spring of the league and has been able to reach some of the original aspirations of its fore runner. However, World conflicts still are prevalent and seem to be unavoidable even though the UN, Like the League of Nations, was set up to prevent the constant war like state of the world.

President Wilson is to be admired for taking a step towards what he believed would prevent the advent of World War II. Although his idea did not accomplish its goal, none the less, it was a bold move in the direction of a very worthy goal. If the League of Nations had been successful, we would be living in a much different world today. The idea that birthed the organization was an idea that was noble and maybe one day because of the idea's of those that love peace we will live in a better world.

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