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Q1. “League of nations changed the method of international diplomacy”. Explore the statement in light of background issues which gave the birth to the League.

The League of Nations came into being after the end of World War One in reaction to the horrors witnessed in the war. The League of Nation’s task was simple – to ensure that war never broke out again.

One of the main reasons for World War I was lack of forum for transparent diplomacy. Old diplomacy is known as the Westphalian System, since it had been in place since the Treaty of Westphalia, signed at the end of the Thirty Years War in 1648 by the major European powers. Under the Westphalian system the elites of government met in secret to determine the fate of Europe and the world. World War I shattered the old system along with the empires that had maintained it.

The secretive nature of the Westphalian system had led to petty resentments, the pursuit of narrow self-interest, and the division of Europe into warring camps. A more open, all- inclusive system would be more fostering to cooperation, a concept of international justice, and peace. The League was seen as a way to institutionalize these goals and strive for peace as a collective world community.

After the turmoil caused by the Versailles Treaty, many looked to the League to bring stability to the world. The League of Nations was at first heralded as the bastion of a new system of international relations in Europe.

The brutality & futility of the war and the changing face of European geography led to new ideas about how international affairs should be managed. The only way to avoid a repetition of such a disaster, was to create an international body whose sole purpose was to maintain world peace and which would sort out international disputes as and when they occurred. This would be the task of the League of Nations.

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