Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 45

League of Nations - Symbols, Languages, Structure, Members, Mandates, Successes, General weaknesses, Specific failures, Demise and legacy, Bibliography

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An international organization whose constitution was drafted at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, and incorporated into the peace treaties. The main aims were to preserve international peace and security by the prevention or speedy settlement of disputes and the promotion of disarmament through open diplomacy. It operated through a Council, which met several times a year, and an annual Assembly, which met at its Geneva headquarters. The USA refused to join, but there were 53 members by 1923, including the UK, France, Italy, and Japan. Germany joined in 1926, and Russia in 1934, but Germany and Japan withdrew in 1933, and Italy in 1936. It became increasingly ineffective in the later 1930s through the refusal of member nations to put international interests before national ones. The League was powerless in the face of Italian, German, and Japanese expansionism. After World War 2 it was replaced by the United Nations which, unlike the League of Nations, has a peace-keeping force and military observer groups built into its charter.

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