Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Monograph #8 Arnold J. Toynbee

The League of Nations, Response to the First World War

It was terrible. Everything was gone and destroyed. From August 1914 to November 1918, the terrible war, which has never ever been before, swept all over the European continent. Of the 65 million men who were mobilized, more than 10 million were killed and more than 20 million wounded. There was also tremendous loss in resources. People of the world were all shocked by the fact that such terrible war had happen.

Actually, there have been a lot of big and small wars in Europe. However, the war that took place in 1914 was totally different from the wars in Europe. There has never been such world-sized war. Imagine how the lives of people were ruined. By this Great War, the European continent was filled with sorrow and cries of the victims of the war. There was no winner of the war.

It would be considered as the most disastrous event that human species have ever experienced since the world began. Now the world had to face the greatest challenge that was never met before. To respond to that challenge the world leaders gathered in Versailles on Jan 18, 1919 during Paris Peace Conference.

Woodrow Wilson, the President of the United States was the one who determined what to do in order to appease to the terrible misery of the world that was brought by the great challenge of the war. He proposed, Fourteen Points for Peace:

1. abolition of secret diplomacy by open covenants, openly arrived at;
2. freedom of the seas in peace and war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or part by international action for enforcement of international covenants;
3. removal of international trade barriers wherever possible and establishment of an equality of trade conditions among the nations consenting to the peace;
4. reduction of armaments consistent with public safety;
5. adjustment of colonial disputes consistent with the interests of both the controlling government and the colonial population;
6. evacuation of Russian territory, with the proviso of self-determination;
7. evacuation and restoration of Belgium;
8. evacuation and restoration of French territory, including Alsace-Lorraine;
9. readjustment of Italian frontiers along clearly recognizable lines of nationality;
10. autonomy for the peoples of Austria-Hungary;
11. evacuation and restoration of territory to Serbia, Montenegro, and Romania, granting of seaports to Serbia, and readjustment and international guarantee of the national ambitions of the Balkan nations;
12. self-determination for non-Turkish peoples under Turkish control and internationalization of the Dardanelles;
13. an independent Poland, with access to the sea; and
14. Creation of a general association of nations under specific covenants to give mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity.

These proposals of Wilson convinced people and based on the Fourteen Points for Peace, the League of Nations, which was the very first international organization that promotes world peace by enacting international laws, was founded. Actually, the idea of the League of Nations had been outlined by Immanuel Kant who insisted that there should be international organization that can control conflicts and promote peace between states. His claim came to be true after the First World War.

Regardless of how the League of Nations was successful, it is highly valued as the first international organization for peace due to its contributions to great development of international laws. Truly the League of Nations was a cornerstone of growth and development of the international promotion of peace and later on, it was continued on by United Nation.

Perhaps, the establishment of such organization that brings development and progress in international laws which promote world peace should have been before. However, that happened after the Great War damaged the world a lot. Ironically, what brought the establishment of peaceful international organization, which greatly contributed in development of international laws, was the First World War. Perhaps, if there was not such a strong challenge in the First World War, there would not have been any types of development of international organizations and laws.


14 points for peace. Retrieved from Encarta Encyclopedia (1993-2003), Microsoft Corporation

The First World War Retrieved from Encarta Encyclopedia (1993-2003), Microsoft Corporation

The League of Nations (September 14, 2009) In Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:58 from

International laws (September 11, 2009) In Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia Retrieved 00:53 from

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