The League of Nations and the Rule of Law, 1918-1935


The best way of approaching the study of the League of Nations at its present stage is to think of it as a particular method for carrying on relations between states. This method was devised at the close of the World War in the hope that it would conduce to a better understanding, particularly between the Great Powers, than had existed in the years before 1914.

Whatever else may be thought about the war, it cannot be denied that it involved a failure of the older methods, of what is often comprehensively called 'the old diplomacy'. The men who, in 1919, brought the League of Nations into existence aimed at providing machinery which would, so far as is humanly possible, prevent the recurrence of such a catastrophe. They did not indeed imagine that machinery would ever count for more than human motive or that the procedure enshrined in the Covenant would prove either fool-proof or knave-proof. But they were resolved to ensure that statesmanship in the post-war world should be provided with the best safeguards that could be devised to restrain reckless or criminal policies in international affairs and that, should a breakdown nevertheless occur, it should be in no way attributable to the lack of adequate machinery or to technical defects in its working.

The states which have adopted this new method of intercourse are 'members of the League of Nations'. They include the overwhelming majority of the sixtyodd states which are eligible for membership. The few . . .

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • London
Publication year:
  • 1936


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