After a number of notable successes and some early failures in the 1920s, the League ultimately proved incapable of preventing aggression by the Axis powers in the 1930s. In May 1933 the League was powerless to convince Hitler that Franz Bernheim, a Jew, wasprotected under the minority clauses established by the League in 1919 (that all minorities were fully human and held equal rights among all men). Hitler claimed these clauses violated Germany's sovereignty. Germany withdrew from the League soon to be followed by many other totalitarian and militaristic nations. The onset of World War II showed that the League had failed its primary purpose, which wasto avoid any future world war. The United Nations replaced it after the end of the war and inherited a number of agencies and organizations founded by the League.
A commemorative card depicting President of the United States Woodrow Wilson and the "Origin of the League of Nations"
The concept of a peaceful community of nations had been outlined as far back as 1795, when ImmanuelKant’s Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch outlined the idea of a league of nations that would control conflict and promote peace between states. There, Kant argues for establishment of a peaceful world community not in a sense that there be a global government but in the hope that each state would declare itself as a free state that respects its citizens and welcomes foreign visitors asfellow rational beings. It is in this rationalization that a union of free states would promote peaceful society worldwide, therefore there can be a perpetual peace binded by the international community. International co-operation to promote collective security originated in the Concert of Europe that developed after the Napoleonic Wars in the nineteenth century in an attempt to maintain thestatus quo between European states and so avoid war. This period also saw the development of international law with the first Geneva conventions establishing laws about humanitarian relief during war and the international Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 governing rules of war and the peaceful settlement of international disputes. The forerunner of the League of Nations, theInter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), was formed by peace activists William Randal Cremer and Frederic Passy in 1889. The organization was international in scope with a third of the members of parliament, in the 24 countries with parliaments, serving as members of the IPU by 1914. Its aims were to encourage governments to solve international disputes by peaceful means and arbitration and annual conferences were...