In what ways was the League of Nations a predecessor to the UN? Was the League successful in it ‘s end of protecting minorities throughout Europe in the aftermath of WWI?

While the League of Nations was created after the terminal of World War One to forestall war from of all time interrupting out once more, a few old ages subsequently World War Two broke out flooring the universe with its deficiency of response to defuse the state of affairs. Though many people merely discuss the heroic failure of the League of Nations it is of import to recognize that the League of Nations was semi-successful in it ‘s end of protecting minorities throughout Europe after World War One and was a predecessor to the United Nations.

To understand the League of Nations it is of import to travel over the grounds why it was created and it ‘s organisational construction. Based on President Woodrow Wilson ‘s, 1918 reference to the United States Congress, where he spoke of his desire “ to make a universe dedicated to justness and just covering ” ( Wilson 1918 ) which subsequently became the Fourteen Points plan. This plan included expressed mentions to the rights to self-government and statehoods for states seeking freedom ( Wilson 1918 ) . The League of Nations was created after the terminal of World War One to forestall war from of all time interrupting out once more. After the convulsion, the Versailles Treaty in 1919 established the League of Nations to convey stableness to the universe. The universe was horrified by the slaughter that had taken topographic point in what was meant to be in the civilised portion of the universe. The lone manner to avoid holding such atrociousnesss to reiterate, a demand for an international organic structure whose exclusive intent was to keep universe peace and kind out international quandary when and if they of all time occurred once more was needed ( Clapham 2007 ) . Other than the United States, who was excessively busy with the root of isolationism, support for the League of Nations was strong.

The League of Nations was to be based in Geneva, Switzerland as it was a impersonal county and had non been involved in World War One. With it ‘s establishment the League of Nations and it ‘s Covenant, addressed the rights of minorities, workers ‘ rights, right of adult females and kids, refugees and bondage ( Freeman 2005 ) . Besides harmonizing to the League of Nations Covenant there were three things that could be done to decide a difference. One manner it states to decide this difference is to hold the provinces in the difference sit and discourse their jobs in an orderly manner in the League ‘s Assembly, which is similar to a parliament or the current United Nations parliament. If there is an attacker so the League would and can verbally warn the attacker state. If nil came from the Assembly ‘s determination so the League of Nations could suggest to present economic countenances against the attacker state ( Covenant 1919 ) . The logic behind this action was to financially worsen the aggressor state so they would follow and give into the League of Nations and their demands. The League of Nations could order other League Members to non merchandise with an attacker state and if this failed every bit good so militarily force would be used to set the attacker state into topographic point. The lone job with this construct was that the League of Nations did non hold a military force that they could utilize and no member of the new League of Nations was required to supply any military aid under the footings of fall ining which is different from the current United Nations where if joined with the United Nations military aid is a demand. This lead to the League non being able to transport out any of its menaces. Due to the atrociousnesss and terrible depletion of many major ground forcess it was difficult for even first universe states such as Great Britain and France to supply military strength to assist the League of Nations.

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Another failing that the League of Nations had was the deficiency of support from the establishing male parents state ; the United States. Though Woodrow Wilson came up with the the foundation of the League of Nations with his “ Fourteen Points ” address, he refused to fall in the League of Nations as the United States was fulling its desire for isolation. This was a serious blow to the prestigiousness of the League.

A few other jobs with the League of Nations was that Germany was non allowed to fall in because it had started World War One, harmonizing to the Versailles pact. This was a great low point for both the League of Nations and Germany, as they both could non assist each other out once more other attacker states such as Russia and Japan. Russia was non allowed to fall in because in 1917 there was a communist authorities that created fright in western Europe. This besides created a hole in the League of Nations because this depleted them of another possible military power to assist maintain order in the universe.

Though the failings were mentioned earlier in the paper is it of import to retrieve the successes that the League of Nations besides had. The League aimed to advance international cooperation in economic and societal personal businesss. Under the League of Nations the council was active in the protection of workers rights. Their end of “ just and humanist conditions of labour for all work forces, adult females and kids ” ( Covenant 1919 ) became the cardinal focal point of the International Labor Organization ( ILO ) which still continues to be one of the United Nations specialized bureaus ( Clapham 2007 ) . Workers rights were to be recognized and protected even though they were in topographic point by authoritiess for their ain province involvements instead than single involvements. Some authoritiess feared their population would turn communist and therefore recognized workers rights. The League of Nations was besides successful in puting up a committee on bondage and adopted the 1926 Slavery convention, seting an terminal to bondage. They besides developed conventions on the traffic of adult females and kids ( Clapham 2007 )

A few of the League of Nations determinations protected the rights of minorities in Europe while it was in being. In the Aaland Islands, 1921, near Finland and Sweden, most of the island-dwellers wanted to be governed by Sweden even though traditionally it had ever been governed by Finland. Neither Sweden nor Finland could come to a determination as to who owned the islands and in 1921 they asked the League to judge. The League ‘s determination was that they should stay with Finland but that no arms should of all time be kept at that place. Both states accepted the determination and it remains in force to this twenty-four hours. Though the minorities did non acquire as they wanted they were given the chance to talk up to the League and assist do a determination peacefully. The face that the determination is still in force today is a fantastic construct.

Though the League of Nations was a political failure it established a basis for the current United Nations and it ‘s strong committedness to Human Rights.

Turkey ( 1923 )

The League failed to halt a bloody war in Turkey ( see League failures ) but it did react to the human-centered crisis caused by this war.

1,400,000 refugees had been created by this war with 80 % of them being adult females and kids. Typhoid and cholera were rampant. The League sent physicians from the Health Organisation to look into the spread of disease and it spent & A ; lb ; 10 million on edifice farms, places etc for the refugees. Money was besides invested in seeds, Wellss and excavation tools and by 1926, work was found for 600,000 people.

A member of the League called this work “ the greatest work of clemency which world has undertaken. ”

Greece and Bulgaria ( 1925 )

Both these states have a common boundary line. In 1925, sentries policing this boundary line fired on one another and a Grecian soldier was killed. The Grecian ground forces invaded Bulgaria as a consequence. The Bulgarians asked the League for aid and the League ordered both ground forcess to halt combat and that the Greeks should draw out of Bulgaria. The League so sent experts to the country and decided that Greece was to fault and fined her & A ; lb ; 45,000. Both states accepted the determination.

The failures of the League of Nations

Article 11 of the League ‘s Covenant stated:

“ Any war of menace of war is a affair of concern to the whole League and the League shall take action that may safe guard peace. ”

Therefore, any struggle between states which ended in war and the master of one over the other must be considered a League failure. Italy ( 1919 )

In 1919, Italian patriots, angered that the “ Large Three ” had, in their sentiment, broken promises to Italy at the Treaty of Versailles, captured the little port of Fiume. This port had been given to Yugoslavia by the Treaty of Versailles. For 15 months, Fiume was governed by an Italian patriot called d’Annunzio. The freshly created League did nil. The state of affairs was solved by the Italian authorities who could non accept that d’Annunzio was apparently more popular than they were – so they bombarded the port of Fiume and enforced a resignation. In all this the League played no portion despite the fact that it had merely been set up with the specific undertaking of keeping peace.

Teschen ( 1919 )

Teschen was a little town between Poland and Czechoslovakia. Its chief importance was that it had valuable coal mines at that place which both the Poles and the Czechs wanted. As both were freshly created states, both wanted to do their several economic systems every bit strong as possible and the acquisition of rich coal mines would surely assist in this regard.

In January 1919, Polish and Czech military personnels fought in the streets of Teschen. Many died. The League was called on to assist and decided that the majority of the town should travel to Poland while Czechoslovakia should hold one of Teschen ‘s suburbs. This suburb contained the most valuable coal mines and the Poles refused to accept this determination. Though no more sweeping force took topographic point, the two states continued to reason over the issue for the following 20 old ages.

Vilna ( 1920 )

Many old ages before 1920, Vilna had been taken over by Russia. Historically, Vilna had been the capital of Lithuania when the province had existed in the Middle Ages. After World War One, Lithuania had been re-established and Vilna seemed the natural pick for its capital.

However, by 1920, 30 % of the population was from Poland with Lithuanians merely doing up 2 % of the metropolis ‘s population. In 1920, the Poles seized Vilna. Lithuania asked for League aid but the Poles could non be persuaded to go forth the metropolis. Vilna stayed in Polish custodies until the eruption of World War Two. The usage of force by the Poles had won.

War between Russia and Poland ( 1920 to 1921 )

In 1920, Poland invaded land held by the Russians. The Poles rapidly overwhelmed the Russian ground forces and made a fleet progress into Russia. By 1921, the Russians had no pick but to subscribe the Treaty of Riga which handed over to Poland about 80,000 square kilometers of Russian land. This one pact all but doubled the size of Poland.

What did the League do about this misdemeanor of another state by Poland?

The reply is simple – nil. Russia by 1919 was communist and this “ pestilence from the East ” was greatly feared by the West. In fact, Britain, France and America sent military personnels to assail Russia after the League had been set up. Winston Churchill, the British War Minister, stated openly that the program was to strangulate Communist Russia at birth. Once once more, to foreigners, it seemed as if League members were choosing which states were acceptable and 1s which were non. The Allied invasion of Russia was a failure and it merely served to do Communist Russia even more counter to the West.

The invasion of the Ruhr ( 1923 )

The Treaty of Versailles had ordered Weimar Germany to pay reparations for war amendss. These could either be paid in money or in sort ( goods to the value of a set sum ) In 1922, the Germans failed to pay an installment. They claimed that they merely could non instead than did non desire to. The Allies refused to accept this and the anti-German feeling at this clip was still strong. Both the Gallic and the Belgium ‘s believed that some signifier of strong action was needed to ‘teach Germany a lesson ‘ .

In 1923, contrary to League regulations, the Gallic and the Belgium ‘s invaded the Ruhr – Germany ‘s most of import industrial zone. Within Europe, France was seen as a senior League member – like Britain – and the anti-German feeling that was felt throughout Europe allowed both France and Belgium to interrupt their ain regulations as were introduced by the League. Here were two League members clearly interrupting League regulations and nil was done about it.

For the League to implement its will, it needed the support of its major angels in Europe, Britain and France. Yet France was one of the encroachers and Britain was a major protagonist of her. To other states, it seemed that if you wanted to interrupt League regulations, you could. Few states criticised what France and Belgium did. But the illustration they set for others in future old ages was obvious. The League clearly failed on this juncture, chiefly because it was seen to be involved in interrupting its ain regulations.

Italy and Albania ( 1923 )

The boundary line between Italy and Albania was far from clear and the Treaty of Versailles had ne’er truly addressed this issue. It was a changeless beginning of annoyance between both states.

In 1923, a assorted nationality study squad was sent out to settle the issue. Whilst going to the disputed country, the Italian subdivision of the study squad, became separated from the chief party. The five Italians were shot by gunslingers who had been in concealment.

Italy accused Greece of be aftering the whole incident and demanded payment of a big mulct. Greece refused to pay up. In response, the Italians sent its naval forces to the Greek island of Corfu and bombarded the coastline. Greece appealed to the League for aid but Italy, lead by Benito Mussolini, persuaded the League via the Conference of Ambassadors, to ticket Greece 50 million lire.

To follow up this success, Mussolini invited the Yugoslavian authorities to discourse ownership of Fiume. The Treaty of Versailles had given Fiume to Yugoslavia but with the grounds of a bombarded Corfu, the Yugoslavs handed over the port to Italy with small statement

The societal successes of the League of Nations

At a societal degree the League did hold success and most of this is easy forgotten with its failure at a political degree. Many of the groups that work for the United Nations now, grew out of what was established by the League. Teams were sent to the Third World to delve fresh H2O Wellss, the Health Organisation started a run to pass over out leprosy. This thought – of pass overing out from the universe a disease – was taken up by the United Nations with its variola run.

Work was done in the Third World to better the position of adult females there and kid slave labor was besides targeted. Drug dependence and drug smuggling were besides attacked.

These jobs are still with us in the C21st – so it would be incorrect to knock the League for neglecting to eliminate them. If we can non make this now, the League had a far more hard undertaking so with more limited resources.

The greatest success the League had affecting these societal issues, was merely informing the universe at big that these jobs did be and that they should be tackled. No administration had done this before the League. These societal jobs may hold continued but the fact that they were now being actively investigated by the League and were so taken onboard by the United Nations must be viewed as a success.

“ In order to advance international cooperation and to accomplish international peace and security by the credence of duties non to fall back to war, by the prescription of unfastened, merely and honorable dealingss between states, by the steadfast constitution of the apprehensions of international jurisprudence as the existent regulation of behavior among Governments, and by the care of justness and a scrupulous regard for all pact duties in the traffics of organized peoples with one another, Agree to this Covenant of the League of Nations. ”


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