Nearly 30 countries supported a proposal to organise a commission to establish the League of Nations a century ago on Friday, Jan. 25, 1919. The League, which was championed by US President Woodrow Wilson and was meant to preserve the peace in the aftermath of World War I, was adopted at the Paris Peace Conference and entered into force a year later. It is regarded as a precursor of the United Nations, and its effect may still be felt today, despite the fact that it only existed until April 1946.Since the days of Immanuel Kant, there have been several attempts to build a permanent institution to assist achieve eternal peace or minimise the likelihood of conflict. Even though it failed, the League of Nations was significant because it was the first time a group of sovereign nations came together and said, “We’re independent nations, but we’re going to attempt to combine our strength to preserve the peace.” It also had some minor achievements, especially when it came to resolving territorial issues. If you consider the lessons acquired from the League’s failures, it was not in vain.
REASONS FOR THE FAILURE OF LEAGUE OF NATIONS
- For decisions to be made, there had to be unanimous agreement. The League’s ability to act was severely limited due to the League’s unanimity. The League suffered greatly as a result of the absence of key nations — Germany, Japan, and Italy eventually withdrew — as well as the absence of the United States.
- The chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Henry Cabot Lodge, was concerned that joining the League would limit the United States’ ability to determine its own fate, therefore he required all of these conditions for membership.
- The most contentious issue was Article X, which stated that League members are committed to protecting the independence and territorial integrity of other countries around the world, which Lodge interpreted as an automatic decision that if a country was invaded or attacked, the United States would have to intervene. In actuality, it was a moral commitment rather than a legally binding agreement. As a result, the Senate voted against the United States joining the League of Nations.
ROLE OF LEAGUE OF NATIONS IN WORLD WAR II
- If the United States hadn’t, in a way, abdicated its position in the world, it might have been able to assist avert World War II. During and soon after WWII, there was an understanding that they had blown it and that they needed to join the United Nations. The United Nations Security Council had greater clout; its judgments were legally binding and did not require majority approval.
- The League demonstrated the fundamental limits of collective security, which is essentially an “all for one, one for all” attitude; countries must consider every outbreak of conflict as concerning and a threat, and we must respond. In fact, the theory does not consider other nations’ interests or the circumstances. For example, when Italy invaded Ethiopia in the mid-1930s, Britain and France decided to acquiesce because they needed Italy since it was cozying up to Nazi Germany. The same thing happened when Hitler began devouring little swaths of neighbouring countries.