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In 1919, the United States of America decided not to join the League of Nations. This decision has been debated by historians ever since; was it a mistake or a smart move? The answer is not clear-cut but there are some arguments that support each side of the debate. In this post we will explore both sides and make our own opinion on why America’s decision to stay out of the League was one they should have made.
Keyword: league of nations
The League of Nations was a peacekeeping organization that existed from 1920 to 1946. It was created at the Paris Peace Conference, also known as the Treaty of Versailles, in 1919 which ended World War I. The league’s goal was to ensure world peace through international cooperation and collective security. Initially 50 countries signed up for this idea but eventually it increased its membership to 59 by 1939 with various different goals such as “to foster disarmament and arms control; promote economic collaboration between nations; establish courts of justice”. One thing that made joining so appealing is how much power America would have had- something President Wilson wanted very badly after fighting war overseas.
Argument #A: Joining the League might have prevented WWII happening in Europe The US was one of the nations that would have benefitted from joining the League, but America wanted to stay out. The United States Congress feared a league committed to collective security because they believed it might result in an infringement upon American sovereignty and force them into armed conflict with other world powers without their consent or even knowledge (Woodrow Wilson). In addition, there were those who felt that if war came again, Americans should fight on behalf of themselves instead of being obligated to join international forces. This is seen as isolationism – not wanting any involvement outside our borders. As time went by and new wars broke out the idea continued to grow among citizens at home and abroad until World War II finally convinced many people otherwise.