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The UN vs. the League of Nations

Which organization was better? Improved global welfare the most? Prevented war? The answers may surprise you.

The League of Nations was effective in some areas and ineffective in others. As a general rule, the United Nations tended to be effective where the League was not. The League’s goals, among others, were to resolve international disputes peacefully, prevent war, and improve global welfare (more or less comparable to that of the UN) and they worked towards these goals with strong determination that yielded them successes that were tremendously influential even with the absence of several major powers. While the United Nations for the most part has had the full support of all the major powers. The League was able to resolve problems in Abyssinia, Albania, Upper Silesia, and the Aland Islands.

The League’s triumphs in peace-keeping, however, were eclipsed by their achievements in improving global welfare. During the League’s short existence they were able to accomplish great humanitarian feats and create legacy organisations which continue to improve the world we live in today, many of which continue today through the UN. While all of this was certainly effective, The League of Nations was ineffective when it came to conflicts concerning or requiring the aid of the major powers. The UN on the other hand has proven to be much more successful when it comes to dealing with the major powers. The only time that Britain and France used the League was for their own benefit. In the UN they are no longer the only major powers and thusly unable to control it so. The League of Nation’s call for disarmament went virtually unheard and Germany, Japan, France, and Italy continued to build up their armies.

By failing to make countries feel safe, the League of Nations was unsuccessful in its goal of disarmament which led to more soldiers and set the stage for another global conflict. This failure was also ineffective at preventing war. The UN has learned that not all war is preventable and now focuses more on sending in peacekeeping forces to get the two sides off of the battlefield and into the boardroom. As previously mentioned collective security failed miserably because all the member states acted in accordance to their own agendas which ruined any chance that the League had to becoming a cohesive international power. While this problem sometimes occurs in the UN thanks to some countries’ veto power, for the most part it is not a problem.

In addition, when push came to shove, the League never managed to mobilize troops allowing aggressor nations to face no resistance or consequence. The UN has proved its willingness to mobilize forces many times, with Korea and the Congo being notable examples. When China appealed to the League of Nations to help them fend off their Japanese attackers they never did send help. When Korea was under attack from the north, the UN was quick to intervene. The League of Nations was effective in solving minor power disputes and improving global welfare, but pales in comparison to the United Nations whose efforts brought humanity through the Cold War virtually unscathed and whose humanitarian works have literally affected everyone on this Earth.

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  1. Brian

    On April 10, 2009 at 4:12 pm


    “The League’s triumphs in peace-keeping…”

    I wouldn’t call WWII a triumph in peace-keeping…

  2. ayerka

    On October 23, 2010 at 9:32 pm


    In 1935 when Italy invaded Abyssinia (also member of the League), this League did entirely nothing …sigh

  3. ayerka

    On October 23, 2010 at 9:36 pm


    few months later Abyssinia was under Italian rule. Resloving problems by doing nothing to support less power states?

  4. dsffsf

    On February 9, 2011 at 8:50 pm


    Because the US wasnt in the League of Nations Brian?

  5. ROBIN HOOD

    On February 25, 2011 at 9:12 am


    NO DOUBT THE WRITER IS A FAN OF BOTH. IN REALITY THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE, BOTH THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS AND THE UN ARE INEFFECTUAL AND ARE A WASTE OF MONEY, AND GENERALLY SUCK. NAME ONE WAR THAT EITHER PREVENTED, YOU CAN’T.

  6. abadinajad

    On October 15, 2012 at 10:12 am


    @robin hood How could they name a war that they prevented if it never happened?

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