Friday, November 22, 2019

By 1918 there was general agreement that a League Essays - Structure

By 1918 there was general agreement that a League of Nations should be established. The key articles of the actual covenant (constitution) spelled out the role of the league in identifying and addressing threats to peace, the settlement of disputes, and the imposition of sanctions against states violating international agreements. These articles occasioned limited disagreement. Participating nations also generally agreed that the league should be made up of an executive council, a deliberative assembly, and an administrative secretariat, but they disagreed over the exact function and makeup of these bodies. In an early draft of the covenant, membership of the council was restricted to the Great Powers and any smaller nation-states that the Great Powers chose to invite. However, the formulation that eventually prevailed designated the Great Powers as permanent members of the council while small powers had nonpermanent membership. The operation and membership of the assembly, which was the model for the General Assembly of the United Nations after 1945, was also a subject of some debate. In fact, its overall operation and significance was really only worked out in subsequent years. The administrative secretariat, set up as a coordinating and administrative body, was a less divisive issue. Its power was grounded entirely in the council and the assembly. The headquarters of the league were in Geneva, Switzerland, where the secretariat prepared reports and agendas. The assembly, which was made up of representatives of all the member governments, set policy and met on an annual basis. Britain, France, Italy, and Japan held permanent membership in the council, which met more regularly than the assembly. All decisions taken by the council and the assembly had to be unanimous if they were to be binding. The league also included a number of subsidiary organizations. One of these, the International Labor Organization (ILO) was a specific response to the Russian Revolution . It was hoped that the ILO would appease some of the more radical tendencies within the trade union movement in various parts of the world and curtail the attractions of international communism. A Permanent Court of International Justice was also set up, as well as a range of commissions that dealt with issues such as refugees, health, drugs, and child welfare. At the time of its foundation in 1919 the league had forty-two member governments. This increased to fifty-five by 1926; however, the failure of the United States to become a member contributed significantly to the decline of the organization by the 1930s. Meanwhile, Germany only became a member in 1926 and withdrew in 1933, while the Soviet Union was only a member from 1934 to 1939. The Japanese government departed in 1933, and the Italian government ended its association with the league in 1937.

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