Countering War: The Role of the League of Nations Union

By Summy, Hilary | Social Alternatives, October 1, 2014 | Go to article overview

Countering War: The Role of the League of Nations Union


Summy, Hilary, Social Alternatives


Introduction

The League of Nations Union (LNU) was a voluntary organisation that originated in Britain. It was formed by liberal peace advocates towards the end of WWI to promote the creation of a world organisation for the securing and maintenance of world peace. The new world organisation, the League of Nations, came into existence at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 to ensure that war would never occur again. Thereafter the LNU's goal was to mobilise mass support for the League of Nations and to pressure government leaders to uphold the principles embodied in its Covenant. The movement spread to the Dominions, and LNU branches were established in each of the Australian capital cities.

This article focuses on the Victorian branch in Australia. For purposes of clarity, the League of Nations Union is shortened throughout to the LNU, while the League of Nations is sometimes referred to as 'the League'.

Much of the anti-war effort of the LNU in the first decade of its existence was devoted to the disarmament cause. Europe was still in a state of post-war economic and political dislocation, and the European powers were less than enthusiastic about the new diplomatic methods of the League to resolve conflicts. They were especially concerned that the League's agenda for disarmament would jeopardise their national security. After the breakdown of the 1932 World Disarmament Conference sponsored by the League, the LNU in Australia, as in Britain, turned its attention to education in the hope of bringing about a shift in attitudes towards peace and international understanding. During the mid-thirties, growing fears of another world war mounted. Last-ditch attempts to confront the threat of war and fascism led to a combined effort by the broader peace movement to form the International Peace Campaign, in line with the movement in Britain. After the outbreak of WWII, a reduced LNU membership focused on post-war reconstruction and a more effective world organisation to prevent future wars. In conclusion, the article considers the LNU's relevance for today.

Formation and Activities of League of Nations Union (LNU)

Is it beyond human capacity to advance from international barbarism to an intelligent means of settling international disputes? The hope of mankind in this direction lies in the League of Nations (John Latham c1921).

At the inaugural meeting of the Victorian branch of the LNU, its first president John Latham (leading lawyer and later Attorney-general, Opposition leader, Deputy Prime Minister and Chief Justice of the High Court) explained that 'During the war the people had been led to believe that the object of the war was to end war; that victory would usher in a new era of civilisation and humanity'. While victory was won, Latham insisted the only practical measure that would guarantee the future peace of the world was the League of Nations. And in order for it to succeed, it needed mass support because it would never be a 'perfect' organisation with the backing of governments alone (Argus 13 April 1921).

Like the British LNU, membership in Australia included a number of prominent establishment figures, particularly in the Victorian branch. This unprecedented upper/ middle class constituency represented a new social stratum within the peace movement and can be partly explained by the searing experience of the recent war. Most members had not been anti-war proponents pre-1914. However, for even the most imperial-minded, if the League could guarantee a world without war and safeguard liberal democracy (that is, within the Empire) then it was worth supporting. Significantly, the LNU was able to secure government support with an initial subsidy (Moore 1949: 81).

LNU activities comprised public meetings, lectures and debates, as well as lobbying politicians, especially on the issue of effective Australian representation at League of Nations Assemblies in Geneva, including the appointment of women. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Countering War: The Role of the League of Nations Union
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.