The Birth of the League
The League of Nations was set up to avoid another World War however different powers had different ideas.
Wilson wanted it to be run like a parlaiment where representatives from each country could decide on matters that affected them all.
Britain thought the best League would be one where the all only met for emergencies.
France proposed a League with its own army.
Wilson had his way. His plan was all major countries would disarm. If there was a dispute they would go to the League and promise to keep to the decision made. If there one country was invaded, all other countries would protect it, stop trading with it, then send men to fight them.
Although unlikely hopes, countries went along with the plan in hope of the larger countries protecting eachother.
Why the USA Left
Before Wilson could join the League he needed the spport of his congress, however, in the USA, people weren't as positive at the prospect of the League. This was for four reasons:
1. One of the League's aims was to enforce the Treaty of Versailles however many Americans hated the treaty, particular as some had German ancestors.
2. Some thought the League meant sending out more soldiers which would mean more deaths and injuries which no one wanted after World War I
3. If sanctions were imposed, this might mean less trade for the USA, meaning the suffering of business.
4. Some thought they would be called to protect Britain and France when most Americans were anit-empires.
Wilson's competitors saw his want for the League as a way to defeat him which came true when in 1919 congress voted and he was defeated.
So when the League started in 1920, the USA were not there.
The League's Aims
1. Discourage agression from any nation.
2. Get all countries to cooperate, especially in business and trade.
3. Encourage disarmament.
4. improve the living and working conditions of people everywhere.
Structure of the League
THE COUNCIL: A small gorup. Met 5x a year. It had permanent members (Britain, France Italy and Japan) and temporary members. Permanent members had a veto meaning if they did veto, the action of what was being discussed would not proceed. They decided who was the agressor in disputes, give sanctions and send in forces.
THE ASSEMBLY: It was the League's parlaiment. Recommended action like admitting new members, the League's budget and ideas put forward by the council.
THE PERMANENT COURT OF INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE: Made up of judges from the member countries. If asked, it would settle border dispute and legal advise to the assembly and council. However, it had no way of making sure its rulings were followed.
THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION: Had employers, governments and workers once a year. It tried to improve working conditions by collecting statistics and data and trying to get countries to follow their suggestions.
THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS COMMISIONS: This side tried to tackle the problem of refugees, slavery and health.
Why the Structure of the League was Rigid
1. The Council's rulings could be overruled by either Britain, France, Italy or Japan's veto even if everyone else agreed leading to slower decisions which have to please all countries.
2. The Permanent Law of Justice had no way of making sure their rulings were stuck to by the countries which would most likely mean that if a country did not like the ruling, they would get away with not sticking to it.
3. The International Law of Justice could only advise countries what to do for the worker's conditions so a coutry leader could go against the suggestions even though it meant lower conditions for the workers.
4. Throughout each part of the League, The Coucil, The Assembly, there is only what their goal was and not how to acheive it, or not in enough detail to make sure all of its goal were acheived.