ceThrough my studies and research I have come to thefollowing conclusion about the League of Nations: despiteall of President Woodrow Wilson’s efforts, the League wasdoomed to fail. I feel this was so for many reasons, someof which I hope to convey in the following report.
From theday when Congress voted on the Fourteen Points, it wasobvious that the League had a very slim chance of beingpassed in Congress, and without all of the World powers, theLeague had little chance of surviving. On November 11, 1918 an armistice was declared inEurope. Wilson saw the opportunity to form an internationalorganization of peace to be formed. He acted quickly. OnJanuary 18, 1919 he released his fourteen points.
TheFourteen Points consisted of many things, but the mostimportant was the fourteenth-the establishment of a leagueof nations to settle international disputes and to keep thepeace. After congress had voted, only three of Wilson’sfourteen points were accepted without compromise. Six ofthe others were rejected all together. Fortunately theLeague was compromised. Wilson then went to Europe to discuss the Treaty ofVersailles.Order now
Representatives from Italy, France, and Britaindidn’t want to work with the nations they had defeated. They wanted to hurt them. After much fighting andnegotiating, Wilson managed to convince them that a leagueof nations was not only feasible, it was necessary. The Senate supported most of the Treaty of Versaillesbut not the League.
They thought it would make the U. S. A. too involved in foreign affairs. Wilson saw that the Leaguemay not make it through Congress, so he went on the road andgave speeches to sway the public opinion. Unfortunately,Wilson’s health, which was already depleted from thenegotiations in France, continued to recede.
Wilson’s battlewith his health reached its climax when Wilson had a strokeon his train between speeches. After Wison’s stroke, support of the League weakened,both in Congress and in the public’s opinion. In 1920 G. Harding, who opposed the League, was elected as president. The League formed but the U. S.
never joined. The first meeting of the League was held in Geneva,Switzerland on November 15, 1920 with fourty two nationsrepresented. During twenty-six years the League lived, atotal of sixty-three nations were represented at one time oranother. Thirty-one nations were represented all twenty-sixyears. The League had an assembly, a council, and asecretariat.
Before World War II, the assembly convenedregularly at Geneva in September. There were threerepresentatives for every member state each state having onevote. The council met at least three times a year toconsider political disputes and reduction of armaments. The council had several permanent members, France,Great Britan, Italy, Japan, and later Germany and the SovietUnion. It also had several nonpermanent members which wereelected by the assembly. The council’s decisions had to beunanimous.
The secretariat was the administrative branch of theLeague and consisted of a secretary, general, and a staff offive hundred people. Several other organizations wereassociated with the League- the Permanent Court ofInternational Justice, also called the World Court, and theInternational Labor Organization. One important activity of the League was thedisposition of certain territories that had been colonies ofGermany and Turkey before World War I. Territories wereawarded to the League members in the form of mandates. Themandated territories were given different degrees ofindependence in accordance with their geographic situation,their stage of development, and their economic status. The League, unfortunately, rarely implemented itsavailable resources, limited through the were, to achievetheir goal, to end war.
The League can be credited withcertain social achievements. these achievements includesettlement of disputes between Finland and Sweden over theAland Islands in 1921 and between Greece and Bulgaria overtheir mutual border in 1925. Great powers preferred to handle their affairs on theirown; French occupation of the Ruhr and Italian occupation ofCorfu, both in 1923, went on in spite of the League. TheLeague failed to end the war between Bolivia and Paraguaryover the Gand Chaco between 1932 and 1935. The League alsofailed to stop Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia, which began in1935. Although Germany joined in 1926, the National Socialistgovernment withdrew in 1933 as did Japan, after theirattacks on China were condemned by the League.
The Leaguewas now powerless to prevent the events in Europe that leadto World War 2. In 1940 the secretariat in Geneva wasreduced to a skeleton staff and moved to the U. S. andCanada. In 1946 the League voted to effect its own dissolution,whereupon much of its property and organization weretransferred to the United Nations which had resently beenfounded.
Never truly effective as a peace keepingorganization, the lasting importance of the League ofNations lies in the fact that it provided the groundwork forthe United Nations. This international alliance, formedafter World War 2, not only profited by the mistakes of theLeague but borrowed much of the organizational machinics ofthe League of Nations. The League of Nations and its impact on world peaceJohn JamesMrs. HippeHistoryMarch 7, 1996Bibliography: Mothner, Ira. Woodrow Wilson, Champion of Peace.
New YorkWatts Inc. , 1969Mason, Lorna; Garcia, Jesus; Powell, Frances; Risinger,Fredrick. America’s Past and Promise. BostonMcDougal Littell, 1995Albright, Madeleine.
“America and the League of Nations,Lessons for Today” SpeechUnited States Department of State 1994McNally, Rand. Atlas of World History. New YorkReed International Books Limited, 1992Microsoft. “The League of Nations. “Excarta 95. 1995Words/ Pages : 1,045 / 24