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About Me Essay, Research Paper

The League s membership totaled forty-one in 1919, rising to fifty by 1924 and sixty by 1934.

Three main headings: its achievements, the main reasons for its eventual eclipse, and the foundations which it provided for its successor, the United Nations Organizations.

The League of Nations was not the first attempt to establish institutions for international diplomacy and arbitration; between 1814 and 1914 there had been, under the generic description of concert of Europe , right congresses attended by heads of government.

The League of Nations performed two important functions. It provided a permanent frame work for inter-governmental consultation which was more regular and systematic than the ad hoc conferences of the nineteenth century.

It also extended the range of this framework to incorporate non-political as well as political bodies. The result was greater co-operation, made possible by the unprecedented use of the secretariat, with all its resources for gathering and collating information and statistics.

Despite experiencing severe difficulties and eventual collapse, the League achieved several political success by the mid 1930s.

The Saar for example, was administered until 1935 by a Governing commission, and Danzig by a High commissariat. The League also carried out plebiscites in accordance with the principle of national self-determination embidied in the Treaties of Versailles and St. Germain; three examples were upper silesia, Schleswig and East Prussia.

The most worthwhile and significant of the League s achievements were undoubtedly in the social field. The health organization conducted research into leprosy, gave advice on vaccines and standardized drugs in common used, while the Epidemics commission dealt with the outbreaks of typhus and cholera which resulted from warfare in Eastern Europe.

In retrospect, it is possible to see the enormous, perhaps unparalleled, difficulties of the inter-war period. Four empires had been destroyed, which had resulted in the most extensive territorial changes for centuries.

The French delegates at the session for drafting the covenant saw matters differently they pressed for a more tightly knit body, with stronger coercive powers.

The League covenant illustrates these deficiencies clearly. Article 10 expressed the basic intention: .The members of the League undertake to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all members of the League. x

Two attempts were made, during the 1920s and early 1930s, to make the League more effective as a peacekeeping organizations. The first was to reduce the level of international tension through the process of disarmament provided for in Article 8 of the covenant.

The period 1926-34, however brought total failure. The commission for the Geneva Disarmament conference spent five years producing an outline report which contained no details or statistics, while the conference itself was irreparably damaged by Germany s withdrawal in 1933, and eventually adjourned indefinitely in 1934.

Failure to give the council any corporate peace keeping powers confined the league to a rile of arbitrating between the lesser states.

Acts of aggression by major powers often invoked a diplomatic response from outside the structure of the League. For example, the 1923 corfu crisis, engineered by Mussolini, was eventually resolved by the traditional expedient of a conference of Ambassadors rather than by the League council.

The institutional weaknesses of the League were exacerbated by the policies of the individual powers, to which we now turn. What stands out most clearly is the indecisiveness of the governments who formed and subsequently claimed to uphold the League- the United States, Britain and France- and the mortal wounds inflicted by Japan, Italy and Germany in pursuit of Lebensraum.

Britain and France were the only powers to retain their membership of the League throughout its course and as such came to be regarded as the organization s main pillars. Unfortunately, serious misunderstandings arose between them, undermining their efforts to keep it going.

Italy was another power which had never really been committed to the league. As early as 1923 the British ambassador in Rome had vital necessities of her own future expansion. Mussolini certainly saw in the covenant an obstacle to his plans for revising the parsimonious treatment of Italy bye the Versailles settlement.

By 1945 the world s leaders were questioning the wisdom of tying an international organization to the specific peace settlement of 1919 had tied the covenant to the Treaties of Versailles and ST. Germain.

This can be illustrated by comparing the institutions of the League and the United Nations.

It became customary to choose candidates from the minor states, a contrast to the League s tendency to select British, French or Russian officials. This however can be seen as one of many results of the replacement of a European-based organization by one representing almost every nation on earth.


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