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League of Nations

Essay by   •  April 4, 2012  •  Essay  •  2,913 Words (12 Pages)  •  1,370 Views

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In life, one must look upon their past mistakes in order to learn from them. In a larger context, history serves as a tool to learn, gather and expand ideas, as well as change a nation's actions based on the failures or success of their or other's past experiences. This holds true to both the development and the implementation of the United Nations. The UN organization attempts to support and preserve peace through diplomacy instead of aggressive means. The United Nations has developed its application of peace through the mistakes of past support systems. These systems include several alliances present at the beginning of the First World War and the League of Nations which was developed after. Although the problems with alliances directly influenced the need for a peacekeeping system, the United Nations techniques and successes directly extend from the breakdown and failures of the League. This is not to say that the UN has not had its own share of mistakes, but that they have learned from their own faults in addition to the errors of past organizations. The United Nations identified the issues surrounding the League and built their corporation while scrutinizing and correcting the many obvious problems. They are now a thriving, successful and growing multinational conglomerate resolving several international aggressions that threaten peace. The success of the United Nations is a direct result of the failures and adversities that plagued the League of nations during the interwar period.

Prior to an organized collective security system, international support was found in the form of alliances and treaties. The First World War was a direct result of the growing fear or insecurity each nation remedied by several agreements between nations. These treaties included: the Treaty of London , Dual Alliance , Franco-Russia Alliance , and the Entente Cordiale, later forming the Triple Entente . The complicated networks were not regarded as problematic until the knowledge of them came forth after the war. It was acknowledged that the selfish aggression that posed a threat pre-WWI would need to be put to an end by Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference when he stated "It is that the world be made fit and safe to live in; and particularly that it be made safe for every peace-loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealing by the other peoples of the world as against force and selfish aggression." This knowledge contributed greatly to the belief that there was a need for a collective security system free of secrecy. Security pre-League was unorganized and uncoordinated. Each alliance was weak in nature ad resulted in the breakdown of agreements and the inconsistency of alliances. These alliances were not only a direct cause of WWI but a reason for numerous hostilities and vengeful attitudes post-WWI. The maze of alliances, pre-1919, contributed to the view that an international security system was necessary in the progressing and aggressive world of the 20th century.

The concept of an international support system originated with Woodrow Wilson and was put into effect at the Paris Peace Conference. In 1918, Wilson stated "All the peoples of the world are in effect partners in this interest, and for our own part we see very clearly that unless justice be done to others it will not be done to us. The programme of the world's peace, therefore, is our programme; and that programme, the only possible programme, as we see it, is this: I. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view." This proposal grew into the first international system devoted to the continuation and preservation of peace: the League of Nations. The fifty-seven large international system was hoped to be a preventative action against a repetition of World War One. Disputes between feuding nations would be referred to the Leagues Council for arbitration and conciliation, and then if necessary, economic and military sanctions could be used . Not only was the League intended to preserve peace but also serve as a more orderly management of world affairs including political, economical, financial and cultural. This was acknowledged early on and demonstrated in the first agreement of the League "In order to promote international co-operation and to achieve international peace and security by the acceptance of obligations not to resort to war, by the prescription of open, just and honorable relations between nations, by the firm establishment of the understandings of international law as the actual rule of conduct among Governments, and by the maintenance of justice and a scrupulous respect for all treaty obligations in the dealings of organized peoples with one another, agree to this Covenant to the League of Nations" . The United Nations, like the League of Nations, acted to preserve peace through arbitration and military and economic sanctions. It's goals and capabilities were a direct result of the ideas, goals and abilities the League attempted to uphold, but did so with more success. Although the hopes of the League were honorable, the execution was not as promising. The failures of the League of Nations soon became apparent and aggressions soon arose, even more so, between nations.

Aggression arose fairly soon after the Great Depression expanded across the globe. This caused many nations to attempt to extend their empire and increase their wealth and stability. This was apparent in not only European and North American nations, but also prevalent in a number of Asian countries. In the 1930's, Japan was determined to extend their empire into China. With the excuse of a railway mishap, Japan invaded Manchuria and by 1932, they were in control of the whole of Manchuria and renamed it Manchukuo. After an appeal by the Chinese government to the League and a realization that the Japanese were in the wrong, it was recommended by the League that the Japanese withdraw from Manchuria. As a formal reaction to this recommendation, Japan withdrew from the League itself and continued to advance into the Chinese province of Jehol. As a punishment, the League suggested its member nations impose economic sanctions against Japan, however because of the Great Depression, nothing was done. An arms ban was also not put into place in fear of another war. The Manchurian Incident has since been looked upon as one of the greatest of the League's failures. The most evident mistake by the League is the inability to act upon the disruptive nature of Japan. It allowed for Japan to demonstrate to the other nations how little power the League held in international security and opened the door for many other nations to rebel in a

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