Will the United Nations Share the Same Fate as its Predecessor League of Nations?

Considering that the above question cannot be answered at this stage, a look back at history of the founding of the League of Nations and the origin of the United Nations would be useful. Following are excerpts from the UN Website https://www.un.org/en/about-us/history-of-the-un/predecessor

From UN in Geneva

GENEVA (IDN) — The predecessor of the United Nations was the League of Nations, established in 1919, after World War I, under the Treaty of Versailles “to promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security.”

Despite some early successes, the League of Nations was not able to prevent World War II.

As of April 20, 1946, the League of Nations ceased to exist, having handed over all of its assets to the United Nations, and having granted the new UN Secretariat full control of its Library and archives.


Born with the will of the victors of the First World War to avoid a repeat of a devastating war, the League of Nations objective was to maintain universal peace within the framework of the fundamental principles of the Pact accepted by its Members: “to develop cooperation among nations and to guarantee them peace and security”.

The first years of existence of the League of Nations were marked by great successes. In accordance with the provisions of the covenant, several international disagreements—between Sweden and Finland, and between Greece and Bulgaria—were resolved peacefully. A direct consequence of the Locarno Agreements signed in 1925, Germany, beaten and excluded from the League by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, became a Member in 1926. In 1929, the delegate from France, Aristide Briand, already presented to the Assembly the political project of a “European Union”.

In spite of these early successes, the League of Nations did not manage to prevent neither the occupation of Manchuria by Japan, nor the annexation of Ethiopia by Italy in 1936, nor that of Austria by Hitler in 1938. The powerlessness of the League of Nations to prevent further world conflict, the alienation of part of its Member States and the state of war, added to its demise from 1940.

The failure, politically, of the concept of collective security of the League of Nations must nevertheless not make one overlook its success in what was from the beginning to be a secondary aspect of its objectives: international technical cooperation.

Under its auspices, in fact, a considerable number of conferences, intergovernmental committees and meetings of experts were held in Geneva, in areas as diverse as health and social affairs, transport and communications, economic and financial affairs and intellectual cooperation. This fruitful work was validated by the ratification of more than one hundred conventions by the Member States. The unprecedented work on behalf of refugees carried out by the Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen from 1921 should also be stressed.

The founding of the League of Nations

In 1918, a little more than a hundred years after the foundation of the first peace societies in the United States and England (and with the support of both countries’ peace movements, the “Leagues to Enforce Peace”), the idea of a “League of Nations” took form with the pledge to prevent future wars. President Woodrow Wilson of the United States of America was one of its most powerful advocates, and in December of 1918, he chaired the Peace Conference in Paris.

President Wilson was made Chairman of the “Committee of the League of Nations” established to formulate a list of “rules and regulations” for an international organization whose purpose was to preserve world peace through open diplomacy and global consensus. The resulting document was the draft of an agreement or “covenant” between nations. Less than four months later, on April 29, 1919, the final version of the Covenant of the League of Nations was adopted by the participants of the Peace Conference, and it became Part I of the Treaty of Versailles.

However, the League of Nations could only begin to function, formally and officially, when the Peace Treaty came into effect after its ratification by the Allied Forces on one side and Germany on the other. Thus, the League of Nations was officially inaugurated on January 10, 1920.

The 32 original members of the League of Nations were also signatories of the Versailles Treaty. Soon after, 13 additional States were invited to accede to the Covenant. The League of Nations was open to all other States, providing they fulfilled certain requirements and obtained a 2/3 majority of votes in the Assembly in favor of their admission. [IDN-InDepthNews — 24 February 2022]

Read more > https://www.un.org/en/about-us/history-of-the-un/predecessor

Photo: The Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, home of the UN Office at Geneva. The Palais was built in the 1930s to be the home of the League of Nations. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

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