This Day in History – October 19th, 1933

Flag_of_the_League_of_Nations_(1939–1941).svg

The League of Nations (abbreviated as LN in English, “Société des Nations” abbreviated as SDN in French) was an intergovernmental organization founded on January 10th,1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration. Other issues in this and related treaties included labour conditions, just treatment of native inhabitants, human and drug trafficking, arms trade, global health, prisoners of war, and protection of minorities in Europe. At its greatest extent from September 28th, 1934 to February 23rd, 1935, it had 58 members, but its demise began on October 19th, 1933 when Germany withdrew from the League.

League Germany

After a number of notable successes and some early failures in the 1920s, the League ultimately proved incapable of preventing aggression by the Axis powers in the 1930s. On October 19th, 1935, the League placed economic sanctions against Italy for its invasion of Ethiopia, but sanctions could hurt other League members, so they were reluctant to comply with them. Benito Mussolini responded with “the League is very well when sparrows shout, but no good at all when eagles fall out.”

League Italy

The onset of the Second World War showed that the League had failed its primary purpose, which was to prevent any future world war. The League lasted for 26 years; the United Nations (UN) replaced it after the end of the Second World War on April 20th, 1946 and inherited a number of agencies and organizations founded by the League.

Flourish 3

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