League of Nations LEAGUE OF NATIONS,

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1 League of Nations LEAGUE OF NATIONS, international alliance for the preservation of peace, with headquarters at Geneva. The league existed from 1920 to The first meeting was held in Geneva, on Nov. 15, 1920, with 42 nations represented. The last meeting was held on April 8, 1946; at that time the league was superseded by the UN. During the league's 26 years, a total of 63 nations belonged at one time or another; 31 were members for the entire period. Afghanistan (1934) Albania (1920; annexed by Italy, 1939) Argentina Australia Austria (1920; annexed by Germany, 1938) Belgium Bolivia Brazil (withdrew, 1926) Bulgaria (1920) Canada Chile (withdrew, 1938) China Colombia Costa Rica (1920; withdrew, 1925) Cuba Czechoslovakia 1 of 5 8/17/11 1:02 PM

2 Denmark Dominican Republic (1924) Ecuador (1934) Egypt (1937) El Salvador (withdrew, 1937) Estonia (1921) Ethiopia (1923) Finland (1920) France Germany (1926; withdrew, 1933) Greece Guatemala (withdrew, 1936) Haiti (withdrew, 1942) Honduras (withdrew, 1936) Hungary (1922; withdrew, 1939) India Iraq (1932) Ireland (1923) Italy (1937) Japan (withdrew, 1933) Latvia (1921) Liberia Lithuania (1921) Luxembourg (1920) 2 of 5 8/17/11 1:02 PM

3 Mexico (1931) Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua (withdrew, 1936) Norway Panama Paraguay (withdrew, 1935) Persia Peru (withdrew, 1939) Poland Portugal Romania (withdrew, 1940) Siam Spain (withdrew, 1939) Sweden Switzerland Turkey (1932) Union of South Africa USSR (1934; expelled, 1939) United Kingdom Uruguay Venezuela (withdrew, 1938) Yugoslavia The Covenant and the U.S. 3 of 5 8/17/11 1:02 PM

4 In 1918, as one of his 14 points summarizing Allied aims in World War I, President Woodrow Wilson of the U.S. presented a plan for a general association of nations. The plan formed the basis of the Covenant of the League of Nations, the 26 articles that served as operating rules for the league. The covenant was formulated as part of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I in Although President Wilson was a member of the committee that drafted the covenant, it was never ratified by the U.S. Senate because of Article X, which contained the requirement that all members preserve the territorial independence of all other members, even to joint action against aggression. During the next two decades, American diplomats encouraged the league's activities and attended its meetings unofficially, but the U.S. never became a member. The efficacy of the league was, therefore, considerably lessened. League Structure. The machinery of the league consisted of an assembly, a council, and a secretariat. Before World War II, the assembly convened regularly at Geneva in September; it was composed of three representatives for every member state, each state having one vote. The council met at least three times each year to consider political disputes and reduction of armaments; it was composed of several permanent members (France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, and later Germany and the Soviet Union) and several nonpermanent members elected by the assembly. The decisions of the council had to be unanimous. The secretariat was the administrative branch of the league and consisted of a secretary-general and a staff of 500 people. Several other bodies were allied with the league, such as the Permanent Court of International Justice, called the World Court, and the International Labor Organization. World Involvement. One important activity of the league was the disposition of certain territories that had been colonies of Germany and Turkey before World War I. Supervision of these territories was awarded to league members in the form of mandates. Mandated territories were given different degrees of independence, in accordance with their stage of development, their geographic situation, and their economic status. A new world concept had prompted the league's inception, that of collective security against the "criminal" threat of war. Unfortunately for the fate of the world, the league rarely implemented its available resources, limited though they were, to achieve this goal. The league may be credited with certain social achievements. These include curbing international traffic in narcotics and prostitution, aiding refugees of World War I, and surveying and improving world health and labor conditions. In the area of preserving peace, the league had some minor successes, including settlement of disputes between Finland and Sweden over the Åland Islands in 1921 and between Greece and Bulgaria over their mutual border in The Great Powers, however, preferred to handle their own affairs; French occupation of the Ruhr and Italian occupation of Corfu, both in 1923, went on in spite of the league. Although Germany joined the league in 1926, the National Socialist government withdrew in Japan also withdrew in 1933, after Japanese attacks on China were condemned by the league. The league failed to end the war between Bolivia and Paraguay over the Gran Chaco between 1932 and 1935 and to stop the Italian conquest of Ethiopia begun in Finally, the league was powerless to prevent the events in Europe that led to World War II. The USSR, a member since 1934, was expelled following the Soviet attack on Finland in In 1940 the secretariat in Geneva was reduced to a skeleton staff, and several small service units were moved to Canada and the U.S. In 1946 the league voted to effect its own dissolution, whereupon much of its property and organization were transferred to the UN. 4 of 5 8/17/11 1:02 PM

5 Legacy. Never truly effective as a peacekeeping organization, the lasting importance of the League of Nations lies in the fact that it provided the groundwork for the UN. This international alliance, formed after World War II, not only profited by the mistakes of the League of Nations but borrowed much of the organizational machinery of the league. See UNITED NATIONS. L.Co., LEE CONGDON, M.A., Ph.D. For further information on this topic, see the Bibliography, section 189. League of Nations. Citations Citation (MLA) League of Nations. Prod. Funk & Wagnalls. Funk & Wagnalls, Discovery Education. Web. 17 August < Citation (APA) Funk & Wagnalls (Producer). (2005). League of Nations. [Encyclopedia Article]. Available from Citation (Chicago Manual of Style) Funk & Wagnalls. "League of Nations." Discovery Education: Rated: 0 Ratings 5 of 5 8/17/11 1:02 PM

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