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League of Nations

Webster, A.ORCID: 0000-0002-9727-9516 (2011) League of Nations. In: Martel, G., (ed.) The Encyclopedia of War. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, pp. 1-6.

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The League of Nations was an international organization created at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, intended, in the aftermath of World War I, “to promote international cooperation and to achieve international peace and security” (Walters 1952: 43). Its charter, known as the Covenant, was included as the first part of each of the several peace treaties between the victorious Allies and the defeated Central Powers; the League itself formally came into existence on January 10, 1920, with the entry into force of the Treaty of Versailles. The Covenant was surprisingly brief, yet its 26 articles covered a vast range of issues including disarmament, collective security (though the term itself was not used until much later), the resolution of international disputes, social and economic cooperation, the trusteeship of former enemy territories, and the new body's organizational principles. The primary purpose for which the League was created was as an international mechanism of war prevention, and while it experienced some degree of success during the 1920s, when it was essentially left untested, this was violently punctured by its inability to deal with the multiple crises of the early and mid-1930s, most prominently over the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, the collapse of its efforts to achieve international disarmament during 1932–1934, and the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935. The stark nature of its failures left the League to drift into paralysis and impotence during the final years before the outbreak of World War II. Its work having ceased almost completely during the war, the League of Nations formally dissolved itself on April 18, 1946 and transferred its functions, powers, and physical assets to the new United Nations Organization (UN).

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Copyright: © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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