The League of Nations meeting about the Turkish Border

The League of Nations meeting about the Turkish Border: Image from Skepticism

Origins and Formation of the League

  • The League of Nations (LON) was set up in Geneva the capital of Switzerland.
  • It was the brainchild of Woodrow Wilson’s 
14th point.
  • It was an association of countries which were brought together by their common ideas to maintain peace in the world.
  • However, some important nations did not join the league when it was formed although it was an international organisation for example Germany was not allowed to join the league until 1926 because she had been deemed to be guilty of causing the First World War.
  • Germany later left the league in 1933 when the armament exercise was initiated.
  • The USA never joined the league in line with their aversion and fear of being entangled in European affairs.
  • Aims of the League

    • To maintain peace and security through out the world
    • To reduce armaments to the lowest level.
    • To prevent secret diplomacy in treaties or alliances a thing that had caused The First World War.
    • To control drug trafficking.
    • To give financial support to countries in need.
    • To promote general labor interest.
    • To supervise the administration of mandated territories like Danzig.
    • To safeguard the welfare of minorities and refugees.

    Organisation of the League

    1. The General Assembly

    • Was the main body made up of representatives from member states.


    • Was the debating chamber of the league and each member had one vote.
    • It met annually and discussed issues affecting world peace.
    • It handled the finances of the league and drafted the budget.
    • It elected the non-permanent members of the council (see below).
    • It decided on general policies of the league.
    • It admitted new members of the league.
    • It was supposed to raise an army for the league when needed.

    2. The council

    • It was a much smaller body which met more often, at least 3 times a year.
    • It had 5 permanent members i.e. Britain, Fance, USA, Italy and Japan. ( Do not confuse this with the members of the Security Council. The USA never joined the League)
    • There were 3 non-permanent members which were elected by the General Assembly and had a 3 year tenure.

    Functions of The Council

    • It passed decisions on matters referred to it by the General Assembly
    • It decided on punishments for members found guilty of threatening peace for example imposing sanctions, take military action.
    • It submitted recommendations to the General Assembly.

    3. The Secretariat

    • It was headed by the Secretary General.
    • Worked at the headquarters of the League.

    Functions of the Secretariat

    • It looked after the paper work of the league.
    • kept minutes of meetings of the proceedings of the league’s various sectors.
    • It implemented decisions of the League.
    • It carried out day to day chores of the League,  for example the preparations of agenda.

    4. The Court of International Justice

    • It was based in The Hague in the Netherlands.
    • It was made up of 15 judges from different countries.

    Functions of the ICJ

    • Dealt with legal disputes amongst nations.
    • It interpreted treaties.
    • It advised the Council and the General Assembly on any matters brought to it.

    5. International Labour Organisation

    • Dealt with matters involving employment relations on a global scale.
    • Met once a year.
    • Members states sent 4 representatives ( 2 government officials, 1 worker representative and 1 employer representative)

    Functions of the ILO

    • To improve working conditions by doing things such as fixing working hours, setting minimum wages, leave days, employment and unemployment benefits, compensation and old age pensions.

    6. Special Committees.

    • Refugee commision-which was responsible for monitoring the welfare of refugees.
    • Minorities commission- which was responsible for taking care of interests of small ethnic groups.
    • Health committee-carried out Research and Development in health and monitored diseases.
    • Mandates commission-oversaw the administration of the mandates.
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