The League of Nations

Aims of the League

The League came from Wilson's 14 points

2 Main Aims:

1. To maintain peace - using 3 different methods:

  • Disarmament involved reducing the number of weapons that each country could have.
  • Arbitration meant helping countries to talk about their disputes rather than fight.
  • Collective security meant that if 1 country attacked another, League members would act together to control the aggressor.

2. To encourage cooperation - and help solve economic and social problems, such as disease, slavery, and poor working and living conditions.

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Various parts of the league

All members of the League followed a Covenant (agreement) of 26 articles (rules). Articles 1 to 7 set up the structure of the League:

The Assembly

  • Met once a year
  • Every country in the League had 1 vote in The Assembly
  • Decisions could only be made if everyone agreed on them

The Council

  • Met at least 4 times a year
  • Had permanent members (Britain, France, Italy, Japan and later Germany) and temporary members
  • All members had a vote, but permanent members could veto (reject) Council decisions.

The Secretariat

  • Carried out the work of the League, like a civil service
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Various parts of the league II

The International Labour Organisation

  • Discussed and made suggestions to improve working conditions
  • Made up of government officials, employers and workers from different countries

The Permanent Court of International Justice

  • Made up of 15 judges from different member countries
  • The judges were asked to settle international disputes
  • Everyone hoped this would avoid another major war

1. 42 countries joined the League at the start. In the 1930s, about 60 countries were members. This made the League seem strong.

2. The League also had a range of agencies and commissions, which worked on specific humanitarian issues. These included a health organisation, a commission for refugees, and a commission for women's rights. They did some valuable work.

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The League was intended to Police The World

1. The Covenant set out the moral guidelines for keeping peace that all members were supposed to follow. If this moral guideline wasn't enough, then the PCIJ could:

  • Decide which country was in the right.
  • Tell a country it was doing wrong.
  • Impose sanctions on an offending country.

2. The PCIJ could apply economic sanctions (penalties designed to damage the economies of misbehaving countries), then if necessary use military sanctions and send troops in.

The League didn't have its own army, but it was hoped that collective security would mean it wouldn't need one. Collective security means that an attack against 1 country is seen as an attack against all - the armies of member nations would be used against aggressors.

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