The League of Nations was formed after the Paris Peace Pact on January 10th 1920. It had its headquarters in Geneva in Switzerland. There were three organs – the General Assembly, the Council and the Secretariat. United Kingdom, Japan, France and Italy were the permanent members. Germany was included as permanent member from the year 1926 to 1933. Next year their membership was denied. USSR was included in the period 1937 to 1939. There were 43 members till the end. The League had its existence till 1946 and on April 18th 1946 the powers were transferred to the United Nations.

While it lasted there were ancillary bodies other than main organs and many committees. The ancillary bodies of the League were

Permanent Court Of International Justice

Permanent Court of International Justice was formed with the formation of League but its constitution was established by the Assembly and the Council in 1922. The judges to the Court were elected by these two organs. There were eleven judges and four deputy judges who were elected for nine years. The role of the Court was to hear the disputes, give advisory opinions. The Court was open to all the nations of the world.

International Labour Organisation

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) was formed in 1919 on the basis of the Treaty of Versailles. It became an important part of the League’s operations. The ILO had the same members of the League but had its own Governing body, General Conference and Secretariat. It had representatives from the government and representatives of the employers and workers organisation.

There were many other committees under the League of Nations.

  • Health organisation which looked into the eradication of yellow fever, malaria and leprosy. It also worked with USSR to prevent typhus epidemic.
  • The Economical and Financial organisation formed after a conference in Brussels between September and October 1920 brought back the economy of many countries.
  • Regulations on waterways, arbitrations disputes in transit, technological assistance were done by the Transit, Transport and Communication committee formed in 1921.
  • The International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation formed in 1922 looked into the intellectual properties protection, exchange of ideas for the betterment of man’s life.
  • Permanent Central Opium Board set up in 1928 aimed at eradication of the afflictions of opium. The opium menace was rampant during the early twentieth century.
  • Slavery Commission since 1922 worked to stop slavery and this was slowly possible with the help of many nations.
  • Every war sees refugee camps and World War I was no exception. Commission for Refugees formed in 1921 looked into the welfare of these people.
  • The Disarmament Commission whose preparatory commission was ready in 1925 was a powerful commission because its job was as important as preventing war. It had to make sure that there was no arms build up in the nations of the League.
  • The idea of equal rights for women was being accepted world over and to help this movement a Committee for the Study of the Legal Status of Women was formed in 1938.
  • The Permanent Mandate Commission was formed for those nations which were weak to stand up for itself.

All these commissions set up for various purposes were for the betterment of the people. The League of Nations might have been a failure from the military perspective but from the humanitarian perspective it brought in a sea of change and acted as a basic model for the United Nations to work on, in the future.

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