Support our Work

Global Link needs your help to continue working on community history projects.

Foundation of the League of Nations 1920

A new means of conducting international affairs
League of Nations flag

League of Nations flag

The League of Nations came into existence on 10 January 1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. The headquarters of this new body would be Geneva. World War 1 had highlighted the need for a new means of resolving disputes between nations without recourse to war. The original idea for a League of Nations came from Woodrow Wilson, the US President. He, together with Lord Robert Cecil and Jan Smuts, the future Prime Minister of South Africa, and in consultation with other countries, drafted the Covenant of the League of Nations. The aim of the League was to provide a forum for settling future disputes through arbitration and moral suasion. If this failed the use of sanctions would be advocated to bring belligerent nations to submission. By providing a means of ensuring a measure of collective security it was hoped that nations could be encouraged to disarm, thus making warfare a thing of the past. 42 countries joined the League upon its foundation and between 1920 and 1939 there were 33 member states. The League was the forerunner of the United Nations.

References/Further Reading:

R. Henig, 1984. Versailles and After, 1919-1933. London: Methuen.

A. Lentin, 1985. Guilt At Versailles: Lloyd George and the Pre-History of Appeasement. London: Routledge.