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League of Nations Union

Promoting the ideals of the League of Nations in Britain
League of Nations flag

League of Nations flag

The League of Nations Union (LNU) was founded in Britain in October 1918, formed by a merger of the League of Nations Society and the League of Free Nations Association. Members wanted a new world order based on the ideals of the League of Nations. The headquarters of the British League of Nations Union was in London and it was governed by a General Council and Executive Committee. These co-ordinated LNU campaigns and educational programmes and liaised with the local branches, which flourished in the 1920s and ensured that campaigns spread nationwide.

The LNU became the largest and most influential organisation in the British peace movement with a million members paying subscriptions and over 3000 branches in the 1920s. (1) It declined only in the late 1930s when the international situation worsened. There were also corporate members, which included churches, trade unions and co-operatives. Communication was via the official LNU newspaper, ‘Headway,’ which had a circulation of 100,000 in 1930, and the ‘League News’ which was aimed at schoolteachers and older primary schoolchildren and brought the League of Nations into the classroom. The LNU enjoyed cross-party support throughout the 1920s and 1930s. It was involved in all the local activities for peace and was at the forefront of the No More War demonstrations, the Peacemakers’ Pilgrimage in 1926 and, most successfully of all, the Peace Ballot of 1934-5.

References/Further Reading:

(1) H. McCarthy, 2012. The British People and the League of Nations: Democracy, Citizenship and Internationalism, c.1918-1945. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

D. S. Birn, 1981. The League of Nations Union 1918-45. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
C. Morrison, 1991. Popular Pressures and British Foreign Policy 1931-1935. MA dissertation. Lancaster: Lancaster University.