League of Nations

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Lisa Feldman, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. Lisa Feldman New Member

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    Jun 12, 2007
    What do you think would have happened if the U.S. had joined the League of Nations like Woodrow Wilson wanted to? Could it have prevented WWII? Would it still be around instead of the U.N.?
     
  2. Lisa Feldman New Member

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    Jun 12, 2007
    I'm doing a project on this topic, so any ideas are greatly appreciated!
     
  3. HueyLong Banned

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    Well, first off, we never would have joined it how Wilson wanted us to. No one joined it as he wanted them to. His League was more idealistic and self-sacrificing than any nation wanted it to be. And, with isolationist (and even pro-CP) sentiments as they were, even a full without-concessions to national authority US membership would eventually disintegrate into an indifferent isolationism to League obligations.

    As for preventing WWII, I highly doubt it. Even if the US joins the League, Germany is still going to be the whipping boy of the Western Allies (and by extension, the League), so the elements for German revanchism and militarism will still be there.

    May make WWII all the more worse by giving isolationists in the US a much easier-target- a League that tries to deal with the US government will make American isolationism that much stronger. A later American intervention or later aid is a grim idea.

    I doubt it would still be around. The Concerts and Congresses of Europe didn't last all that long, and the League was just as ephemeral.
     
  4. historyguy New Member

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    Jun 18, 2007
    I actually disagree. If the U.S. had joined the League of Nations, Woodrow Wilson would have made it much different than it was.
    France and England would have followed his leadership, and been much more willing to invest troops and money into the goals of the league.
     
  5. Dean_the_Young Uppity Bad Spellar

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    Jan 12, 2007
    I call bullshit.

    France and England are both much more significant powers than the US, who was still seen as an uncultured backwater, regardless of what they thought of Wilson himself (who, amoung other things, was an unabashed Anglo- and Franco-phile). Both are still going to have giant financial debts to the US to limit spending, both are still going to have very harsh memories of the war which will furnish their own appeasement/peace movements, and both are going to act in their own interests as opposed to what would be best "for the world". Add that to the fact that Wilson, at best, will only be around another 2-3 years...

    The League had its chance to put an early stop to fascism in responding to Italy's invasion of Ethiopia in which it used machine guns and poison gas against natives with spears. They could have halted oil sales, stopped Italian industry in its tracts, but it stood by with mere harmless sanctions. The League could only be as strong as its member nations, and those nations were found wanting.
     
  6. Glen ASB & Left Hand of IAN Moderator

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    Depends. The US wouldn't just join the LoN. There were serious concerns in the Senate about the institution, ones that Wilson did not adequately address.

    First, you have to either change the Senate or change the LoN enough to get the treaty ratified.
     
  7. Lisa Feldman New Member

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    Jun 12, 2007
    what would it have taken for the US to join the LoN?
    it would have to be some event that changed peoples minds, and broke away from the isolationist attitude.
    also, is it too optimistic to think that the US would have been able to make the LoN like Wilson invisoned it?
     
  8. Glen ASB & Left Hand of IAN Moderator

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    Not the people, the Senate....


    Depends. Many here don't find Wilson's vision very optimistic....
     
  9. Glen ASB & Left Hand of IAN Moderator

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    Okay, here's scenario number one for you. Wilson sans stroke makes a few more deals and the LoN squeeks through the US Senate. Low probability but possible.

    Now then, what changes? If that's all the US does, not much. I assume the US will still refuse a mandate, as they did OTL. The League of Nations was actually slightly successful in the 1920s. But in the 1930s it began to fall apart because the Powers were self absorbed with their economic woes and not interested in enforcing the League rulings, and nations who wanted to flaunt them started pulling out (biggest early example, Italy).

    I don't really think that the mere inclusion of the League of Nations would have been enough to strengthen the LoN sufficiently for it to make much difference in the course of history, so it probably still is destroyed by WWII.

    Now then, you may wish to explore another scenario....what if the League of Nations was somehow formed with stronger powers to back it up? Then you might start to get somewhere.

    Another possibility would be if you didn't change initially the participation of the US, but rather find a way to avoid or ameliorate the effects of the Great Depression, in which case the League of Nations might survive, as the nations that were supposed to enforce it might be more willing and able to do so, and also the nations that fell to extremism might not do so, or less so.

    We explored some of this in our [thread=61333]Weimar World[/thread] collaborative timeline. There the League of Nations survived the 1930s/40s, and the US eventually joined as well. While it can't be said to have led to world peace, it did play a role in international relations over the decades of the timeline.