League-of-Nations-flagThe final meeting of the League of Nations was held on this day 67 years ago. The League of Nations had been formed just 27 years earlier at the end of the First World War, with the aim of changing the way international relations were conducted to prevent the recurrence of a similar war. It was hoped that war could be prevented through disarmament, open diplomacy, international co-operation, restrictions on the right to wage war, and penalties for violations.

The establishment of the League of Nations was approved at the Paris Peace Conference in January 1919, and 44 countries signed the Covenant of the League of Nations in June 1919. However, although the US president was a key promoter of the League, the US government refused to ratify the agreement, and never became a member. The first meeting of the League was in January 1920, and the headquarters was established in Geneva later that year.

The League of Nations was successful at adjudicating on a number of minor territorial disputes, but member countries were reluctant to get involved in more complex disputes, disarmament did not proceed as envisaged, and the pursuit of pacifism at any cost meant that flagrant violations were not confronted. The Second World War proved the failure of the League, and it was dissolved in 1946, to be replaced by the United Nations.

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