The League of Nations was an international organisation in existence from 1919 to 1946. It was formed after World War I with the primary aim of avoiding another global conflict through collective security between League members. The most influential members of the League were Britain and France. The United States of America never joined the League of Nations.
In January 1918, President Woodrow Wilson issued his infamous "Fourteen Points" speech (which we don't yet have an article for), which was the basic idea for an oganisation maintaining peace through collective security. Enter League of Nations. While Wilson was the man originally responsible for the idea of the League, his country never joined. The main reasoning for this was Wilson's belief that Germany had been given a raw deal at Versailles.
Failures of the LeagueEdit
The League of Nations main aim was to maintain
police through collective security and negotiation rather than violence. It ended in 1946 after it's failure to maintain world peace. The major failings of the League began in the early 1930s, seen with the rise of violent imperialism in Europe and the Far East.
On September 18th, 1931, Japanese militarists blew up a part of the Southern Manchurian Railway and blamed it on Chinese dissidents. Unfortunately, Western politicans were stupid enough to believe them, probably because Chinese and Japanese guys all looked alike to them. As a result, Japan invaded Manchuria the next day. And they stayed there until the end of World War II. And the League did nothing to stop them, saying they should figure it out amongst themselves.
In October 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia, like Japan, for imperial interests. However, unlike Japan, they didn't bother giving a pretext for the invasion, instead proceeding to basically rape Ethiopia; the Ethiopian "armed forces" literally fought with spears and shields against guns 'n' bombs. Again, the sanctions imposed by the League of Nations failed to cease Italian aggression, and Mussolini subsequently withdrew Italy from the League in 1938.
Up to his ole tricks again, Hitler attempted to take over half of Europe in the 1930s. The actual aggression didn't really begin until 1938 when he annexed Austria, up until this point he had been taking back what was once Germany's, and as the predominant mood all over Europe was to avoid war, little was done. However, the Austrian Ancshluss was clearly against the terms of the Treaty of Versailles but sparked little/no response, except for the West to start taking Hitler a teensy bit more seriously.
End of the LeagueEdit
Basically, by September 1939, the League of Nations had failed and all major activities were put to rest as the member countries prepared for World War Two.
The League of Nations officially ended in April 1946 and went on to form the United Nations.