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The League of Nations

A History of International Relations Theory

Alice Bak

on 26 April 2013

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Transcript of The League of Nations

Alice Bak, Sophia Guilfoyle, Jack McLaren-Stewart, Laura Barluzzi The League of Nations Presentation Structure Why did the League of Nations fail? Alice - What were the historical circumstances under which the League of Nations emerged?

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
General Assembly

Security Council

International Court of Justice

Secretariat and Secretary General

Assembly of the LN

Council of the LN

Permanent Court of International Justice

Secretariat and Secretary General

ILO Representative



Civil Service

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
Collective Security
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
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