In order to understand the United Nations (UN), one of the international organizations, it is necessary to examine how it has come from the past to the present. It should be known about the situation when the League of Nations was established, and the relevance of the League of Nations Convention and the United Nations. The most significant reasons for the failure of the League of Nations are the structural problems in the system initially established, the inadequacy of the decision-making mechanism, especially the USA’s absence from this system.


Key Words: United Nations, League of Nations, First World War, History, Failure



With the end of the First World War, countries that wanted to restore international peace and security decided to establish an organization. With the meeting of the Council, the League of Nations Convention was adopted by the Versailles Peace Treaty, signed on 28 June 1919. With the entry into force of the agreement, the League of Nations was established. This document establishes a set of principles and laws intended to promote orderly conduct among nations. It determines the powers and duties of the international organization while attempting to guarantee certain fights to the member nations. This article consists of three parts. In the first part, the situations in the foundation of the League of Nations will be mentioned. In the second part, the organs of the League of Nations and its Covenant will be explained. In the last section, the reasons for the failure of the League of Nations will be discussed.

  1. History of the United Nations: League of Nations

While preparing the League of Nations, it was wanted to be universal, but the organization did not reach its goal. The founding members of the League of Nations were the winners of the First World War. The striking part here is that although US President Wilson signed it, the document remained outside the League of Nations because it could not pass the Senate. The purpose of the League of Nations is to be an international organization that will ensure the freedom of the seas, prevent war, guarantee the integrity of the country and political independence, and regulates disarmament. This international organization, which only worked for 20 years, could not prevent the outbreak of World War II.

  1. The Organs of the League of Nations and Its Covenant

The agreement, consisting of 26 articles, includes the structure of the organization and the aims of the international organization. In order to achieve the objectives, three basic bodies have been established: General Assembly, Council, and Secretariat. (League of Nations Covenant article 2) The Association would be able to arbitrate disputes between members or examine them in the Council. (Article 12).

III. The Reasons for the Failure of the League of Nations

The reasons hindering the development of the League of Nations are lack of power, lack of universality, lack of solidarity between members, and exaggerated equality between great and small powers caused by the increase in the number of non-permanent members. Important mistakes were made in drafting the contract.

The first of these was the unanimous decision-making of the members (League of Nations Covenant article 5). Exaggerated equality between the great and small countries made it very difficult when making decisions. Another is the requirement that all members say yes for military aid to be received in order to maintain international peace and security. (League of Nations Covenant article 16) The league has never been able to enforce full sanctions. After a while, countries started to ignore the rules. Had America joined the League of Nations, there would be an increase in its military and economic resources, but the League’s lifetime would still be short.


With the end of the war environment, states established international organizations to restore international peace and security. With this document, they wanted to establish fair and honourable international relations. They could not achieve their goal for the above reasons. This organization, which lasted for 20 years, could not prevent the war and the Second World War broke out.


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