Originally I intended to address my concerns relative to our nation’s commitment to the United Nations, but when I started researching the topic I had to first study the history of the League of Nations. Your Commander does not believe one can discuss the United Nations objectively unless you know why the League of Nations failed. Thus, I will compose another commentary regarding the United Nations in the near future.
Only a few individuals are living today who can speak authentically relative to the subject of the founding of the League of Nations way back in 1919. I have found that there were four significant reasons for the League’s establishment:
1. To encourage disarmament.
2. To discourage aggression from any nation.
3. To improve living and working conditions in all parts of the world.
4. To encourage more countries to cooperate, especially in business and trade.
Following the end of World War 1 those four reasons appeared to be appropriate for the League’s formation, but several powerful countries failed to join. That is a vital part of the question regarding the ultimate failure of the League. Below are listed three of those nations and why membership was withheld.
1. Russia was not invited into membership, because it recently had the communist revolution.
2. Germany was not allowed to join having recently been defeated during World War 1. The League was founded in order to discourage aggression and encourage peace, and Germany did not meet those essential goals.
3. The USA did not join even though President Woodrow Wilson had suggested the League’s formation. Following the War a majority of Americans were firm isolationists and wanted no part of European affairs.
With these points in mind let’s look at the principal reasons for the failure of the League of Nations:
1. The lack of an army.
2. The effects of the economic depression.
3. The aggression of Japan and Italy.
There are combinations of reasons for the League’s ultimate failure. First, without an Army the League had no way to enforce its actions. Second, the world-wide impact of the economic depression caused some countries to become aggressive toward neighboring nations. For example, Japan invaded Manchuria and Italy invaded Abyssinia in order to supplement the shortages of food and raw materials for their growing populations. The depression also placed Britain, France and the League in a tricky situation to stop aggression since economic sanctions could not be imposed or enforced. This caused the UK and France to go behind the backs of other League members in order to sort out a compromise with Italy over the Abyssinia dispute, because they did not want war with Mussolini or for him to ally with Hitler. Ultimately Mussolini did join with Hitler which made a bad situation worse. Eventually the mistrust between the League’s members led to its collapse, because member nations could not work as a team.
If you are interested in learning more about this intriguing subject I suggest several informative websites;
I have found this to be a very interesting subject. Armed with this information and a more accurate historical perspective we should be in a much better position to address the analysis and discussion of the USA’s membership in the United Nations. We’ll leave coverage of that intriguing topic for another day.