The League of Nations
The League of Nations was created on January 10, 1920, following the Great War, as a first international effort towards peacekeeping. Sixty-three nations joined the organization, including all European powers. Despite the role played by US President Woodrow Wilson in its creation, the Senate opposed the United States joining the League. Its headquarters were in Geneva.
The Covenant of the League of Nations offered three approaches to prevent conflicts: dispute settlement through arbitration, disarmament and collective security. The Covenant’s 26 articles were included in the Treaty of Versailles, which established the measures taken against defeated Germany.
During the 1920s, the League enjoyed some influence through its role on issues such as the fight against opium trafficking, humanitarian assistance to children, and international trade. The Great Depression modified the political climate and the ensuing crises proved a formidable challenge for the League. It failed to stop Germany’s re-armament or to impose sanctions on Italy when it invaded Ethiopia. It was completely disregarded during WWII. The League of Nations was officially dissolved on April 18, 1946, to be replaced by the United Nations.
- History of the League of Nations, on the United Nations Office in Geneva web site.