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Foundation of League of Nations
The League of Nations (LON) was formed to end the World War I and stop any subsequent war from occurring1. The aim of this organization was to unite all the leaders of the great nations in war to stop the war which left thousands of people dead and others displaced.
The League of Nations came into existence in 1918 when the First World War stopped. This was to ensure that war never broke again after WW1. This League of Nations was formed after the Paris Peace Conference held on 1919 accepted the proposal of creation of the League of Nations.
This was after the President of United States of America, Woodrow Wilson in his message on the condition of peace delivered a joint session of two houses of the American congress ,identified the ‘Fourteenth point’ to serve the world peace.
He said, “A general association of nations should be formed on the basis of covenant2 designed to create mutual guarantees of the political independence and territorial integrity of States, large and small equally” (DocShare, 2011, p. 1). After the proposal was accepted, a committee was elected to draft a Covenant under the intimate supervision of President Wilson:
The covenant, consisted of 26 articles which the ‘contracting parties’3 agreed to in order to promote international co-operation and to achieve international peace treaty. Eventually these became the rules of the treaty and the covenant became one of the Treaties of the Versailles. Treaty of the Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War 1 which ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied powers. (Strachan, 2011, p. 1)
It was signed in “28th June 1919 in the Halls of Versailles” (Strachan, 2011, p. 1). For the contrasting parties to implement The Covenant of the League of Nations, they had to come into agreement with the following, that:
In order to promote international co-operation and to achieve international peace and security; by the acceptance of the obligations not to resort to war, by the prescription of open, just and honorable relations between nations, by the firm establishment of the understanding of international law as the actual rule of conduct among Governments and finally, by the maintenance of justice and a scrupulous respect for all treaty obligations in the dealing of organized people with one another. (Project, 2008, p. 1)
Organisation of the League of Nations
The Organization of the League of Nations was headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The league had two essential wings: Permanent Court of International Justice and International Labor Organization:
The league consisted of three bodies. The first one was The Secretariat. This permanent body was to be responsible for the administration of league policies and programs and was to be housed in Geneva, Switzerland. The first secretary was Sir Eric Drummond.
The Secretariat had the responsibility of preparing the agenda and publishing reports of meetings. The second body was the Council. The council was composed of nine member nations as follows: Britain, France, Japan, Italy, and United States.
The others remaining four positions were chosen by the assembly on rotational basis. The third body was The Assembly. In assembly all member nations were to be represented in the assembly and each of them had a single vote.
The members pledged; to protect the territorial integrity of the member state, secondly, to submit to the league disputes that threatened the war, thirdly, they were expected to participate in arms reduction programs, and finally each one of them was expected to assist in the establishment of a permanent international court of justice. (Affairs, n.d., p. 1)
The procedure which was adopted by the League of Nations in solving a crisis had three stages. The first stage involved the acknowledgement of a crisis in between two nations or among nations and thus subsequently creating a platform for negotiation between or among the nations involved in a dispute.
Such a platform would be through the League Parliament. Such negotiations were expected to lead to a solution whereby the nation found on the offensive would be warned and asked to immediately stop any aggressive movements towards the other nation.
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Depending on the case at hand the offensive nation at times would be required to make compensation to the affected nation. If the above first stage failed then the League would resort to the introduction of economic sanctions. The third stage would set in if the second stage failed. The third stage would involve the use of military forces but since the League of Nations did not have a military arm this was not possible (Chris, 2011).
The Successes of the League of Nations
After the success of stopping the First World War, the league experienced some success in Aaland Islands. These islands were equidistant between Sweden and Finland and the dispute between Sweden and Finland over these islands was successfully solved by the League of Nations.
Another dispute that the League solved successfully was that which involved Upper Silesia whereby it was decided that Silesia be divided between Poland and Germany. Thirdly is the Memel, 1923. This was a port in Lithuania where most people who lived in Memel were Lithuanians, they invaded the port (Lithuanians), the League of Nations declared Memel to Lithuanians and this was confirmed (DocShare, 2011)
The Failures of the League of Nations
The League of Nations failed a number of times to intervene in situations which can be considered to have been volatile. There are many such situations where the League failed to stops acts of violence from one nation to another. The League failed a number of times to ensure that it achieved what it formed to carry out, for instance, in 1919 Italy invaded Yugoslavia while the League just watched.
Another example involved the case of Teschen town in 1919 where Poland and Czechoslovakia continually fought over this town without the League intervening. Yet another case involved Vilna in 1920 and yet another time, the League did nothing. In 1923 there was a crisis between Italy and Albania but the League was not in a position to over a solution (Chris, 2011).
The League of Nations had been strong at the early years after its formation. Nations joined hands to ensure that they created a world free of wars. However, after some time the League of Nations was seen to weaken as it was not able to intervene in some situations and offer any solutions.
Affairs, F. (n.d.). Covenant of the League of Nations. Web.
Chris, T. (2011). History learning site. Web.
DocShare. (2011). Account for the successes and failures of the League of Nations. Web.
Project, A. (2008). The Covenant of the League of Nations. Web.
Strachan, H. (2011). The Allied Victories, 1918. In H. Strachan, World War One (p. 293). UK: Oxford University Press, 1998.
1 This is also referred as the WW1 or Great War that begun in summer of 1914, centered in Europe and lasted up to November 1918. It involved great powers with two opposing alliance: The allies (centered on Triple Entente) and the Central powers.
2 Constitution that was agreed upon.
3 These were the countries involved in the covenant or the agreement of the League of Nations.