The league of nations

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The League of Nations (LoN) was an inter-governmental organization founded as a result of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919–1920. At its greatest extent from 28 September 1934 to 23 February 1935, it had 58 members. The League's goals included upholding the new found Rights of Man such as right of non whites, rights of women, rights of soldiers, disarmament, preventing war through collectivesecurity, settling disputes between countries through negotiation, diplomacy and improving global quality of life. The diplomatic philosophy behind the League represented a fundamental shift in thought from the preceding hundred years. The League lacked its own armed force and so depended on the Great Powers to enforce its resolutions, keep to economic sanctions which the League ordered, or provide anarmy, when needed, for the League to use. However, they were often reluctant to do so. Sanctions could also hurt the League members, so they were reluctant to comply with them. When during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, the League accused Benito Mussolini's soldiers of targeting Red Cross medical tents, Mussolini responded that Ethiopians were not fully human, therefore the human rights laws didnot apply. Benito Mussolini stated that "The League is very well when sparrows shout, but no good at all when eagles fall out." [1]

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.

Origins

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[2] outlined the idea of a league of nations that would control conflict and promote peace between states.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5][6] 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.[7][8] 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...
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