Wednesday, July 28, 2010
League of Nations
The League of Nations was created as an international association of countries designed to maintain peace among the nations of the world. Following the armistice of World War I (1914-1918) the victorious nations of the war - including Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and the United States - composed a constitution or covenant for the League in 1919. The League was established in January 1920 with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The organization stopped functioning in 1939 after World War II started. It was dissolved formally in April 1945 when the United Nations replaced it. President Woodrow Wilson was the chief planner of the League of Nations. He "believed that world wars would continue to occur as long as each nation was responsible its own defense" and that "even a powerful nation, knowing it would face the united opposition of all other powerful nations, would not go to war." He wanted nations to form competing groups, each arming against the other. He also wanted the nations of the world to join together and pledge to defend the territory and independence of any member attacked by another nation. Wilson was successful in convincing other countries to agree to his plans for the League, but he had a difficult time convincing the U.S. Senate to ratify the plan. The U.S. Senate rejected the Treaty of Versailles in March 1920; the treaty would have made the United States a member of the League. Most Americans decided within a few years that they had no need to concern themselves with conflicts overseas. The United States never did join the League of Nations. Facts and quotes for this post came from an article by Gary B. Ostrower in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 12, pp 159-161.