Assess The Significance Of The League Nations

2139 words - 9 pages

The league of Nations was an entity that had never existed before. It was an intergovernmental organization founded in the fallout of the first World War at the Paris Peace Conference to prevent another war. Northedge states, ‘The formation of an international agency to prevent future wars was enrolled among the war policies of all major states in the conflict.’[ NORTHEDGE, F, S. (1986) The League of Nations its life and times 1920-1946, New York: Holmes and Meier Publishers, Page 2] It was the first global system whose primary goal was to maintain world peace and stems from the ideas of Woodrow Wilson's fourteen points. It relied on a concept coined collective security in which all member states are concerned with the security of the others and the belief of collective universal disarmament. Regarding the creation of the league of nations, Northedge continues, ‘Its purpose was mainly to keep peace, but it was also intended to serve as an umbrella under which a more orderly management of all world affairs, political, economic, financial, cultural and so on, would develop.’[ NORTHEDGE, F, S. (1986) The League of Nations its life and times 1920-1946, New York: Holmes and Meier Publishers, Page 1] The league of nations set the tone for the current United Nations and its successes and failures served as a building block for the future universal intergovernmental organization. Some say the league of nations had no direct significance and deem it an ultimate failure while others claim its indirect significance is the creation of the United Nations.
As the first intergovernmental system, the league of nations tackled the complications derived as a result of the first world war. The aftermath of the first world war had left many territorial disputes. In 1920, the League settled a dispute between Finland and Sweden over the Aaland Islands. An investigation came to a conclusion that the islands belonged to Finland which both countries accepted. This success highlighted the positive effect an organization could have on settling international matters. Another difficult matter the league tended to such as that of Upper Silesia in 1921, were a temporary success until the outbreak of the second world war. An agreement that was reached which gave Germany most of the area while the smaller area Poland obtained contained more mineral resources and industry was approved but Germany expressed bitterness. Like the Aaland Islands dispute the significance of this is that it showed that a international organization could use its strength to sort out global dilemmas. However, the settlement procured peace until the second world war. This suggests that though this seemed to be a success at first it was ultimately a failure. Henig would however argue against this, 'Despite the outbreak of the second world war, the allies in that war were determined to lay the foundations for a successor organization to the League which would help re-establish international harmony...

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