Ten Years of World Co-Operation

Ten Years of World Co-Operation

Ten Years of World Co-Operation

Ten Years of World Co-Operation

Excerpt

The idea of a League of Nations is very old, but it was first brought into the realm of practical politics by the war of 1914-1918. The way the war broke out and developed, and the consequences of the war, gave convincing proof of the need for an international organisation to preserve peace and to save civilisation from the recurrence of such a catastrophe. Most of the general questions affecting the prosperity and even the existence of States to-day, are international in character and can be settled only through international co-operation.

The League was considered to be a necessity; yet, when it was established in 1919, it commanded very little attention. The world was still shaken by the passions of war, and was to continue so for some years to come; the peace settlement was far from complete, for it left unresolved political, financial and economic problems of such gravity and urgency that they absorbed the energies of statesmen and diplomatists and monopolised the attention of public opinion.

From time to time, especially in the early days, there were insistent demands from various quarters that the League should intervene in the settlement of these questions, and it was reproached for not doing so. On the other hand, it was argued that, by reason of its composition and in the interest of its development, the League should not concern itself with the direct consequences of the war. As a matter of fact, the Governments most closely interested in the settlement of these questions usually preferred to deal with them between themselves.

When the Council of the League met for the first time on January 16th, 1920, the only question on the agenda was the appointment of the members of a frontier delimitation commission. A few weeks later, the United States Government announced that it would not ratify the Treaty of Versailles and consequently would not join the League. The actual effect of this decision has sometimes been exaggerated . . .

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