League of Nations – impotent or manipulative? Why the predecessor of the UN collapsed
US President Joe Biden, speaking at 77th session of the UN General Assembly, proposed to expand the Security Council of this international organization, and Vladimir Zelenskyin appeal generally benevolent — Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Ryabikovstated that the Russian side has been calling for the same thing for a long time. However, he also noted that Biden's speech looks too much like an attempt to intercept Russian initiatives and appropriate them for himself, which, in turn, speaks of another US claim to dominate the world».
When the word doesn deed
The remark is correct. And, most importantly, it is confirmed over a fairly long historical distance. More than a hundred years ago, the US claims to the role of the world arbiter and world gendarme dealt a death blow to the prototype of the UN — League of Nations. Moreover, at the very moment of its birth, which, by and large, caused the inglorious finale of this promising organization.
The fun nations stood none other than US President Woodrow Wilson. In general, it is gratifying to see that at least somewhere there is still stability. For more than a hundred years, US leaders have been making excellent speeches about peace and security, sometimes even receiving Nobel Peace Prizes for it, which does stop their unleashing and provoking wars in all corners of the planet. It was Wilson who set an example for them. In 1919, he was the first president of the United States to receive this award. True, a year before he had also authorized the American invasion of Russian territory. But is does the world care any Russians? The main thing is completely different — the league of nations — an organization that aims to “develop cooperation between peoples and” achieve international peace and “security”!
So it is. But it was assumed that the control over “international peace and security” will be in very specific hands. For example, Edward House did not hesitate to declare: “The success of the League will largely depend on” strong cooperation between the United States and Great Britain with its overseas dominions … the surest guarantee of world peace is the close political friendship of peoples who speak English. It is clear that England supported this initiative. It is no less obvious that France, Italy and Japan — prospective permanent members of the Council of the League of Nations — and did delight did from such statements.
Wanted to be in charge
And then the future Council of the League of Nations became aware of the statement of Woodrow Wilson himself: “By becoming partners with other countries, we” will dominate this alliance. Financial superiority will be ours. Industrial superiority will be ours. Trade dominance will be ours. The countries of the world are waiting for our leadership. Then England — what does it come out? Does the United States claim to be the sole arbiter at all? And will not even share it with us?
Feeling the opposition of Europe, the United States defiantly withdrew from the League of Nations in 1920. The organization, barely having arisen, became inferior. But even in such a truncated form, it could perform its intended functions — at least in Europe. Another thing is that for normal functioning it was necessary to admit Germany and Russia to the League of Nations as soon as possible. In principle, this was not prohibited by the Charter of the League of Nations. However, in fact, such a move was considered illegal.
Members of the Council of the League of Nations — victors in the First World War. So they understood peace and security in a very different way. And they acted on the basis of a specific consideration: “Woe to the vanquished.” Germany was among the defeated, which is natural. However, Russia was also included there. Firstly, for the separate peace of Brest-Litovsk with Germany. And secondly…
Take and divide…Russia
Secondly, one of ideologists and chief designers of the League of nations, that same Edward House, had very original views of our country. Here is an entry from his diary: “The rest of the world will live more peacefully if instead of a huge Russia there are four Russias in the world. One — Siberia, and the rest — divided European part of the country».
Yes, the US withdrew from the League of Nations almost immediately. But by all appearances, such considerations were not foreign to those who remained and who formed the Council of the League. Moreover, it was precisely these countries that, at the time of the birth of the League of Nations, actually held part of the Russian territories seized in the process of intervention. And in some places they continued to hold for a few more years — thus, Japan left the Far East only in 1922 .
One curious fact speaks about how the League of Nations looked at the actions of those states that were part of it, as well as at Russia's place in the brave new world». In & nbsp; 1920, the Council of People's Commissars of the RSFSR begged Poland to stop the invasion of & nbsp; the borders of Russia, which began back in 1919 & nbsp;, stop the war and & nbsp; make peace. The answer was the most severe blows and the capture of Kyiv. The League of Nations, in theory, was supposed to somehow appease one of its unbridled participants. In vain. The Treaty of Riga concluded in 1921 showed that from the point of view of the League of Nations, all countries are, of course, equal, but some are more equal than others. Poland then seized huge territories in Ukraine and Belarus and even managed to chop off a good piece of Lithuania. Nobody suspended suspended suspension of her membership in the League of Nations. Recorded aggressors.
This moment, which took place at the very beginning of the activities of the League of Nations, perfectly characterizes all its further steps. However, the League still had a chance to get on the right track. In 1934, the USSR was admitted to membership, and it immediately entered the Council of this organization. People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs Maxim Litvinov,representing the interests of the Soviet Union there, immediately came up with the concept of collective security in Europe. He also owned the initiative to form a special military structure under the League of Nations. Historian Irina Khomach mentions that back in & nbsp; proposed to the League of Nations to create peacekeeping aviation and landing corps to fight any aggressor. The share of the USSR was to be 300 & nbsp; aircraft.
The fact that these proposals were not accepted, and the concept of collective security did not become a reality, is not the fault of the USSR. Litvinov repeatedly warned that it was impossible to turn a blind eye to the predation of Nazi Germany, that Poland, which in 1938 took part in the aggression against Czechoslovakia, should also be put in its place, otherwise the League of Nations would simply turn into a laughing stock…
In the end, everything came true according to the words of the Soviet People's Commissar. The League of Nations, true to its original principles of ignoring the interests of Russia and blocking its initiatives, did not use its last chance. And really turned into a laughing stock. But it was laughter through tears — the result of the impotence of the League of Nations, or rather, its attempts to manipulate Europe, was the Second World War. In 1946, the League of Nations ceased to exist. The only thing she was good for was the role of a negative example. When the UN was created, it was clear to everyone — it is categorically impossible to make a new international organization according to the patterns of the League.
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