From the World Beyond War Peace Almanac.
November 15. On this date in 1920 the first permanent parliament of the world, the League of Nations, met in Geneva. The concept of collective security was new, a product of the horrors of the First World War. Respect for the integrity and independence of all the members, and how to join in preserving them against aggression, were addressed in the resulting Covenant. Cooperative entities such as the Universal Postal Union and other structures of social and economic life were set up, and members agreed on matters such as transport and communications, commercial relations, health, and supervision of the international arms trade. A Secretariat was set up in Geneva and an Assembly of all members was established, along with a Council made up of representatives of the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan as permanent members, with four others elected by the Assembly. However, the United States’ seat in the Council was never occupied. The United States did not join the League, in which it would have been one among equals. This was a very different proposition from that of joining the later United Nations, in which the United States and four other countries were given veto power. When World War II broke out, no appeal to the League was made. No meetings of the Council or Assembly took place during the war. The economic and social work of the League was continued on a limited scale, but its political activity was at an end. The United Nations, with many of the same structures as the League, was established in 1945. In 1946, the League of Nations was formally ended.
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