League of Nations

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Map of the world showing the membership of the League of Nations over its history.
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The program of the world's peace, therefore, is our program; and that program, the only possible program, as we see it, is this:
1. 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.
~Woodrow Wilson

The League of Nations (abbreviated as LN in English, "Société des Nations" abbreviated as SDN in French) was an intergovernmental organisation founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first international organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament, and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration. Other issues in this and related treaties included labour conditions, just treatment of native inhabitants, human and drug trafficking, arms trade, global health, prisoners of war, and protection of minorities in Europe. At its greatest extent from 28 September 1934 to 23 February 1935, it had 58 members.

Quotes[edit]

  • I have loved but one flag and I can not share that devotion and give affection to the mongrel banner invented for a league.
    • Henry Cabot Lodge, remarks in the Senate (August 12, 1919), Congressional Record, vol. 58, p. 3784.
  • The League of Nations is the greatest humbug in history. They cannot even protect a little nation like Armenia. They do nothing but pass useless resolutions.
    • David Lloyd George, Lord Riddell's diary entry (18 December 1920), J. M. McEwen (ed.), The Riddell Diaries 1908-1923 (London: The Athlone Press, 1986), p. 330.
  • No League of Nations, or of individuals, can avail, without a change of heart. Reformers of all classes must recognize that it is useless to preach peace by itself, or socialism by itself, or anti-vivisection by itself, or vegetarianism by itself, or kindness to animals by itself. The cause of each and all of the evils that afflict the world is the same the general lack of humanity, the lack of the knowledge that all sentient life is akin, and that he who injures a fellow-being is in fact doing injury to himself. The prospects of a happier society are wrapped up in this despised and neglected truth, the very statement of which, at the present time, must (I well know) appear ridiculous to the accepted instructors of the people.
  • I assert that the problem submitted to the Assembly today is a much wider one. It is not merely a question of the settlement of Italian aggression.
    It is collective security: it is the very existence of the League of Nations. It is the confidence that each State is to place in international treaties. It is the value of promises made to small States that their integrity and their independence shall be respected and ensured.
  • Apart from the Kingdom of the Lord there is not on this earth any nation that is superior to any other. Should it happen that a strong Government finds it may with impunity destroy a weak people, then the hour strikes for that weak people to appeal to the League of Nations to give its judgment in all freedom. God and history will remember your judgment.
  • The program of the world's peace, therefore, is our program; and that program, the only possible program, as we see it, is this:
    1. 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.
    • President Woodrow Wilson, first of the "Fourteen Points," address to a joint session of Congress (January 8, 1918); in Albert Shaw, ed., The Messages and Papers of Woodrow Wilson (1924), vol. 1, p. 468. This speech on war aims and peace terms laid the groundwork for the proposal of a League of Nations.