Also known as LN according to ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG, the League of Nations was an international body created by the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919 after the end of the First World War. The Society was founded in 1920 and dissolved in 1946. Its first meeting took place in Geneva on November 15, 1920 and was attended by representatives of 42 states. The last meeting was held on April 8 1946, the year in which it was replaced by the United Nations (UN). A total of 63 states belonged to this organization during its twenty-six years of existence and 31 countries were permanent members during this period.
At the end of the First World War (1914 – 1918) the great powers were aware that it was impossible to return to the world before 1914. Exhausted by the effort that the conflict had involved, they set out on a new course in order to establish a different international order. The creation of the League of Nations (SDN) was one of the main agreements that emerged from the Treaty of Versailles. It was conceived as an instrument by which to peacefully resolve conflicts between states. Like the rest of President Woodrow Wilson’s projects, raised great hopes among the former combatants. However, the North American refusal to be part of it, greatly weakened it.
Once peace was consolidated in Europe, the SDN was in charge of controlling certain enclaves considered by the peace treaties as points of international jurisdiction. Two of them stand out: the free city of Danzig and the Saar. The newly created interstate body was also entrusted with the administration of the German colonies and the countries separated from the Ottoman Empire. In addition, within it, a broad program of international humanitarian cooperation was developed, and parallel entities were created in order to address specific aspects in a cooperative manner. Among these, the Economic and Financial Organization, the International Labor Organization and the World Health Organization.
From 1924 to 1929
Two stages can be indicated in the operation of the SDN. Between 1924 and 1929 it lived its period of splendor. They were promising years; a time when the various nations strove for the construction of a more just international order. Germany was incorporated in 1926 as a result of the good development of this body, whose indications were respected and supported by all its members.
From 1929 to 1946
The year 1929 marked the beginning of the discrediting of the SDN. The economic crisis put an end to the international solidarity that had characterized the previous stage. The path had been opened which, in just ten years, was to lead these nations into a conflict of unknown proportions. Throughout this period of crisis, the first major frictions emerged between the members of this body. Finally, both Germany and Italy left that context of peace to immerse themselves in their expansionist plans; the SDN was no longer an effective instrument for arbitration in international disputes. Six Years of War (1939 – 1945) were needed to end the Nazi-fascist danger in the Old Continent. Peace did not revive this body, but a similar one was created: the United Nations (UN). However, at the time of constituting this new entity, the nations knew how to learn from the mistakes made in the construction of the League of Nations.
In order to carry out the purposes of maintaining peace, collective security, international cooperation and arbitration of conflicts, according to the Treaty of Versailles, the League of Nations was organized into three bodies:
- Formed by the member states of the League of Nations.
- It met in September in Geneva, Switzerland.
- Each state had the right to one vote.
- It was in charge of proposing and voting on resolutions and recommendations unanimously.
- Election of non-permanent members of the Council
- It had to approve the budget of the Society, the work of the Council, the Secretariat, technical organizations and advisory commissions.
- He participated in the election of the judges of the Permanent Court of International Justice.
- Originally made up of 5 permanent members: France, United Kingdom, Italy, Japan and the United States (vacancy in case it will be incorporated later); and 4 non-permanent members elected by the Assembly, renewed by thirds every three years.
- In 1926 with the entry of Germany, the position was assigned to the United States.
- The statutes are reformed in 1934 providing a Council of 6 permanent members (one whose seats is assigned to the USSR, which had just entered) and 11 non-permanent members elected by the Assembly.
- He met regularly three times a year and in special sessions if the occasion warranted it.
- Its resolutions were taken by unanimous vote, except in procedural matters.
- It acted as a commission of inquiry and conciliation in any dispute that was presented to it.
- Countries that are not members of the company could present any matter that affected their interests directly to the Council.
- Permanent body that was in charge of organizing and preparing the sessions of the Assembly and the Council, it had an International Court of Justice, based in The Hague
- He was in charge of the preparation of reports and documents, these in relation to the corresponding agreements of the sessions of the Assembly and the Council.
- He was in charge of the advisory commissions and the High Commissioner of the Free City of Danzig.
Covenant of the League of Nations
The Covenant of the League of Nations was annexed to each signed Treaty, in it the following articles are postulated:
Article 1. The original members of the League of Nations shall be those of the signatories whose names appear in the annex to this Covenant, as well as the States, likewise named in the annex, that have adhered to this.
Article 2. The functions of the Society, as defined in this Agreement, will be exercised by an Assembly and a Council, assisted by a permanent Secretariat.
Article 3. The Assembly will be composed of Representatives of the members of the Society.
The Assembly will meet at specified times, and at any other time if circumstances require it, at the headquarters of the Society or at any other place designated.
The Assembly will understand all matters that come within the sphere of activities of the Society or that affect world peace.
Each member of the Society may not have more than three representatives in the Assembly, and shall not have more than one vote.
Article 4. The Council shall be composed of representatives of the United States of America, the British Empire, France, Italy and Japan, as well as representatives of four other members of the Society. These four members will be freely designated by the Assembly and at the times it deems appropriate. Until the first appointment of the Assembly, the representatives of Belgium, Spain and Greece will be members of the Council.
The Council will understand all matters that fall within the sphere of activity of the Society or that affect world peace.
Article 5. Unless expressly provided otherwise in this Pact, the decisions of the Assembly or the Council will be taken unanimously by the members represented at the meeting.
Article 6. The permanent Secretariat will be established in the place of residence of the Company. It will be made up of a Secretary General and the secretaries and personnel that are necessary.
Article 7. The headquarters of the Society shall be established in Geneva.
Article 8. The members of the Society recognize that the maintenance of peace requires the reduction of national armaments to the minimum compatible with national security and with the execution of international obligations imposed by common action.
Article 10. The members of the Society undertake to respect and maintain the territorial integrity and present political independence of all members of the Society against any external aggression. In the event of aggression, threat or danger, the Council will determine the means to ensure compliance with this obligation.
Article 11. It is expressly declared that any war or threat of war, whether or not it directly affects any of the members of the Society, is in the interest of the entire Society, which shall take the necessary measures to effectively guarantee the peace of the nations.
Article 16. Should a member of the Society resort to war, despite the commitments contracted, he will be considered ipso facto as if he had committed an act of war against all the other members of the Society.
During the negotiations at the Paris Conference, the creation of the League of Nations is included in Part I of the Treaty of Versailles, where the member countries are also made known.
- Argentina (1920)
- Australia (1920)
- Belgium (1920)
- Bolivia (1920)
- Brazil (1920
- Canada (1920)
- Chile (1920
- China (1920)
- Colombia (1920)
- Cuba (1920)
- Czechoslovakia (1920)
- Denmark (1920)
- El Salvador (1920) 
- France (1920)
- Greece (1920)
- Guatemala (1920) 
- Haiti (1920) 
- Honduras (1920) 
- India (1920)
- Iran (1920)
- Italy (1920) 
- Japan (1920) 
- Liberia (1920)
- Holland (1920)
- New Zealand (1920)
- Nicaragua (1920) 
- Norway (1920)
- Panama (1920)
- Paraguay (1920) 
- Peru (1920) 
- Poland (1920)
- Portugal (1920)
- Romania 
- Thailand (1920)
- South Africa (1920)
- Spain (1920) 
- Sweden (1920)
- Switzerland (1920)
- United Kingdom (1920)
- Uruguay (1920)
- Venezuela (1920) 
- Yugoslavia (1920)
- Austria (1920) 
- Bulgaria (1920)
- Costa Rica (1920) 
- Finland (1920)
- Luxembourg (1920)
- Albania (1920) 
- Estonia (1921)
- Latvia (1921)
- Lithuania (1921)
- Hungary (1922) 
- Ireland (1923)
- Ethiopia (1923)
- Dominican Republic (1924)
- Germany (1926) 
- Mexico (1931)
- Turkey (1932)
- Iraq (1932)
- Soviet Union (1934) 
- Afghanistan (1934)
- Ecuador (1934)
- Egypt (1937)
The table above shows the list of countries that were members of the League of Nations on their date of entry. The original member countries were the 32 members of the annex to the Covenant and the 113 of the States invited to participate. The exceptions were Germany, Turkey and the USSR (which later joined for a short period). It was also allowed in the case of the United Kingdom the entry of its domains and colonies, as was the case of: British Dominions (India, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand).