Great Britain and the Creation of the League of Nations: Strategy, Politics, and International Organization, 1914-1919

By George W. Egerton | Go to book overview

4

Cecil's War:
Searching for a Policy, 1918

Through 1918 the ideological alliance of Wilson and the Allied Left continued as the president's speeches elaborated the principles of the New Diplomacy. At the same time, activities of the League of Nations Society contributed to the growing numbers and influence of the league of nations movement. 1 Branch organizations of the society spread from London to other British cities, and the league idea was kept before the public in numerous meetings and several larger conferences, while books and pamphlets continued to pour off the presses. 2 In June Grey contributed greatly to the prestige and power of the league movement with the publication of a widely circulated pamphlet. 3 Grey argued at length that the survival of civilization depended on the substitution of international law for militarism and advocated the creation of a league of nations along the lines suggested by the League of Nations Society.

Later in 1918 the society published a detailed outline of the machinery and institutions that would be necessary if the principle of a league were to be translated into reality. 4 While the society knew that this task would be the responsibility of governments, it, nevertheless, was concerned that the proper detailed preparations be undertaken.

Cecil fully shared this concern, and through 1918 he conducted an unremitting campaign to persuade the government to study the league question thoroughly, reach an agreed policy, and take the necessary practical steps for eventual implementation. In fact, Cecil

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