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The League of Nations
Transcript of The League of Nations
Sophia - What were its main foundational ideas and purposes?
Jack - Why did the League of Nations fail?
Laura - What was its legacy to International Relations? End of 19th Century - rise of ideas of nationalism and self-determination
States aim to exercise power in European state system
Rise of nationalism + hatred of war = collective power through creation of League of Nations Nationalism and Self-determination US isolationism following the Treaty of Versailles h The Concert of Europe 1815-1914 Balance of power from end of Napoleonic wars to beginning of WW1
Common values among Great Powers
Aim: contain violence and prevent hegemonic threats
Breakdown of Concert at beginning of 20th Century
Stability compromised and alliances established - outbreak of WW1 Foundational ideas and purposes Historical circumstances International ideas of peace Great war = 'the war to end all wars'
USA - a 'general association of nations'
Britain - 'Conference of Allied States'
France - international tribunal for dispute settlement
South Africa - Council of League members Paris Peace Conference 1919 Emphasis on consensus building and international security
Replace secret diplomacy with open discussion
International collective security arrangements Global Representation Absence of USA
President Woodrow Wilson driving force behind League’s formation
19th November 1919: US Senate voted against joining
Henig, R (1973): US membership would have supported France & Britain, making them feel more secure and, by consequence, more cooperative regarding Germany, thus making the rise of the Nazi party less likely Wilson's Fourteen Points The League's Purposes Legacy to International Relations Wilsonian Idealism → UN Charter: Main Purposes International security and peace
Develop friendly relations
Solve international economic, social, cultural or humanitarian problems through cooperation
Respect for human rights
...beyond the UN? Any Questions? Conceptual Legacy (1) Self-determination of minorities
'Minorities Report of the League of Nations' 1929
Minorities identity today
'Clash of Civilizations' - Huntington 1996
An outdated purpose?
UN Charter and Human Rights Concluding Points Although the League has ultimately been deemed as a failure, its ideas and purposes continue to be dominant in the creation of contemporary international organisations The 'Big Four' in Versailles:
Lloyd George, Orlando, Clemenceau and Wilson Institutionalisation of IR Institutionalisation of relations among states
Institutionalisation of the discipline of IR
1919 first “chair” of IR at Aberystwyth, University of Wales
E. H. Carr “The Twenty Years’ Crisis” and Utopianism
Idealism vs. Realism
International Court of Justice
Secretariat and Secretary General
ILO, agencies, NGOs UNITED NATIONS
Assembly of the LN
Council of the LN
Permanent Court of International Justice
Secretariat and Secretary General
Others BODIES AND STRUCTURE LEAGUE OF NATIONS Successor; The United Nations Conceptual Legacy (2) Terrorism, Drug Trafficking and Disarmament
- “Terrorism Report of the LN”, 1938
- World Disarmament Conference
Health, Refugees and Labour conditions
- Health Committee = WHO
Liberal promotion of Free Trade
- World Trade Organization and Washington Consensus Open diplomacy
Arbitration of international disputes
Promotion of peace
Prevention of war
International Economic and Social Cooperation
Freedom of travel and trade
Abolition of secret treaties
Self-determination A system for maintaing peace'... ‘the most elaborate attempt yet made at a rational reordering of international relations' -Martin Wight Collective Security Questions for Discussion... 1. What do you think is the most significant reason as to why the League failed?
2. Was the failure of the League inevitable, or was it the fault of the members themselves?
3. Why has the UN been successful, whilst the League of Nations failed? Lockean arguments of natural law influential in Wilson’s decision to enter World War I
America fought for “the ultimate peace of the world and for the liberation of its peoples.” – Knutsen
Wilson’s Fourteen points justified entering WWI:
14th point: “A general association of nations is to be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.”
Liberal social-contract tradition influenced declaration of war and peace proposals “The belief that the system of international relations that had given rise to the First World War was capable of being transformed into a fundamentally more peaceful and just world order; that under the impact of the awakening of democracy, the growth of 'the international mind', the development of the League of Nations.” – Bull
Utopianism and Enlightenment
Smith and Bentham; faith in human reason, individual liberty, public opinion and social openness.
Human reason and rationality can lead to a just world order Community of power; organised peace
Article 10 – Members respect and preserve against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League
Article 11 – Any war or threat of war is declared a matter of concern to the whole League
Article 12 and 15 – States agreed to submit their disputes to arbitration and not to go to war until 3 months after arbitration failed
Article 16 – any war disregarding the League of Nations procedures would be regarded as a war against all members of the League. Subject to immediate severance of all trade or financial relations General Weaknesses Created by Allied Powers following end of WW1 - Seen as a ‘League of Victors’?
Required unanimous vote to enact resolutions. This often manifested itself as indecision
Onset of WW2. League had failed in it’s primary purpose Realist Perspective (1) International system is anarchic
States are the most important actors
All states within the system are unitary, rational actors
The primary concern of states is survival Realist Perspective (2) International institutions, non-governmental organisations, multinational corporations, individuals and other actors are viewed as having little independent influence Japanese Invasion of Manchuria 18th September 1931: Mukden Incident
Pretext for Japanese invasion of Manchuria
Japanese established puppet state of Manchukuo.
Lytton Commission dispatched to determine account of situation.
Concluded that Japan’s actions were illegal and ordered them to withdraw from China.
24th Feb 1933: Japan withdraws from League of Nations Rationalist Perspective Believe that multinational and multilateral organisations play a role in world order but that a world government would not be feasible
Point out that International Organisations often do more harm than good
Believe that international law and order are of the utmost importance as they help reduce conflict, thus making states more willing to negotiate treaties and agreements
Abhor the promotion of national self interest but acknowledge that there is already a high level of order in the international system without world government