The League of Nations and the Organization of Peace: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The League of Nations and the Organization of Peace

1st Edition

By Martyn Housden


192 pages

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The League of Nations - pre-cursor to the United Nations - was founded in 1919 as a response to the First World War to ensure collective security and prevent the outbreak of future wars. It was set up to facilitate diplomacy in the face of future international conflict, but also to work towards eradicating the very causes of war by promoting social and economic justice. The philosophy behind much of the League's fascinating and varied roles was to help create satisfied populations who would reject future threats to the peace of their world.

In this new volume for Seminar Studies, Martyn Housden sets out to balance the League's work in settling disputes, international security and disarmament with an analysis of its achievements in social and economic fields. He explores the individual contributions of founding members of the League, such as Fridtjof Nansen, Ludwik Rajchman, Rachel Crowdy, Robert Cecil and Jan Smuts, whose humanitarian work laid the foundations for the later successes of the United Nations in such areas as:

  • the welfare of vulnerable people, especially prisoners of war and refugees
  • dealing with epidemic diseases and promoting good health
  • anti-drugs campaigns

Supported by previously unpublished documents and photographs, this book illustrates how an understanding of the League of Nations, its achievements and its ultimate failure to stop the Second World War, is central to our understanding of diplomacy and international relations in the Inter-War period.

Table of Contents




Who’s Who


Introduction Organising the peace of the world.

Chapter 1 What was the League of Nations?

Chapter 2 How new was the League of Nations?

Chapter 3 A promising start? Disputes, borders and national minorities in the 1920s.

Chapter 4 International humanitarian action: refugees and security.

Chapter 5 Removing the causes of war: social and economic projects.

Chapter 6 The League betrayed: collective security in the 1930s and disarmament.

Conclusion Assessing the League of Nations.


Further Reading



About the Author

Martyn Housden is a Reader in Modern History at the University of Bradford. He has written extensively on the history of modern Germany and also on Central and Eastern Europe.

About the Series

Seminar Studies

Each book in the Seminar Studies series provides a concise and reliable introduction to a wide range of complex historical events and debates, covering topics in British, European, US and world history from the early modern period to the present day. Written by acknowledged experts and including supporting material such as extracts from historical documents, chronologies, glossaries, guides to key figures and further reading suggestions, Seminar Studies titles are essential reading for students of history.

Almost half a century after its launch, the series continues to introduce students to the problems involved in explaining the past, giving them the opportunity to grapple with historical documents and encouraging them to reach their own conclusions. To submit proposals for new books in the Seminar Studies series, please contact the series editors:

Clive.Emsley: clive.emsley @

Gordon Martel: Gordon.Martel @

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General