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League of Nations

League of Nations
Société des Nations  (French)
Sociedad de Naciones  (Spanish)
Intergovernmental organisation

1939–41 semi-official flag

Anachronous world map showing member states of the League of Nations from 1920 to 1945
Capital GenevaSwitzerland
Political structure Intergovernmental organisation
 •  1920–33 Sir Eric Drummond
 •  1933–40 Joseph Avenol
 •  1940–46 Seán Lester
Deputy Secretary-General
 •  1919–23 Jean Monnet
 •  1923–33 Joseph Avenol
 •  1937–40 Seán Lester
Historical era Interwar period
 •  Treaty of Versailles 10 January 1920
 •  First meeting 16 January 1920
 •  Dissolved 20 April 1946
Succeeded by
United Nations
a. ^ The headquarters were based from 1 November 1920 in the Palais Wilson in Geneva, Switzerland, and from 17 February 1936 in the purpose built Palace of Nations also in Geneva.

1939–41 semi-official flag

The League of Nations (abbreviated as LN in English, La Société des Nations [la sɔsjete de nɑsjɔ̃] abbreviated as SDN or SdN in French) was an intergovernmental organisation founded on 10 January 1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first international organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration. Other issues in this and related treaties included labour conditions, just treatment of native inhabitants, human and drug trafficking, the arms trade, global health, prisoners of war, and protection of minorities in Europe. At its greatest extent from 28 September 1934 to 23 February 1935, it had 58 members.

The diplomatic philosophy behind the League represented a fundamental shift from the preceding hundred years. The League lacked its own armed force and depended on the Great Powers to enforce its resolutions, keep to its economic sanctions, or provide an army when needed. However, the Great Powers were often reluctant to do so. Sanctions could hurt League members, so they were reluctant to comply with them. During the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, when the League accused Italian soldiers of targeting Red Cross medical tents, Benito Mussolini responded that "the League is very well when sparrows shout, but no good at all when eagles fall out."