Why Did The US Not Join The League of Nations?
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Despite being the main thread of the league’s birth, why did the US not join the League of Nations?
Here, we will share with you four main reasons for this interesting historical fact and also its impacts on the global organization.
So, the very first core reason is…
1. To Protect US From Civil War Type Condition
The USA is the land of migrated people, mostly from Europe.
People mainly migrated here to avoid wars in the European continent.
Many German-Americans and other migrated people (from the enemy countries of WW1) also lived there when World War 1 broke out.
As per the 1910’s census report, in the United States, around 8 to 10 percent of people were German-Americans, who spoke the German language.
During and after wartime, other extreme nationalist citizens of the US started executing violent activities against German-Americans, Socialists, and other migrated people who once belonged to the enemy nations.
Many American intellects and politicians understood that if that type of violence kept happening the same way, then that would create major casualties in their own nation.
Probabilities were high, it would lead the nation to a Civil war-type condition once again.
Therefore, they advised leaders to stay away from Europe’s internal affairs.
This was the first reason, which pushed the US a bit back from not joining the League of Nations.
Now, the next is…
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2. League of Nations Was An Expensive Deal For The Country
Some powerful leaders (especially from the opposition party), who opposed Woodrow Wilson’s decision, rationalized that the League of Nations would be an expansive deal for their country.
They said if the US joins and leads the League then that would kill the USA’s economy completely and the ability to protect their own country in the future.
Mainly, the international organization would increase the USA’s military budget so much. Because they would have to send their militaries around the globe and that would not be possible without spending money.
Hence, it would be better to stay away from joining and leading it.
3. Failed Getting Approval In The US Congress
Wilson was excited that the treaty of Versailles would be accepted by the American Congress and that would clear the USA’s route to join the new organization.
But as he hoped, it didn’t happen in reality.
Senate proposed Wilson make some amendments to the treaty so that it can protect the USA’s interests.
But Wilson didn’t show any interest in their proposal.
Either way, the fourteen points he proposed did not get applied (By allied nations Great Britain and France) properly in creating the organization.
On the other hand, League’s constitution became vengeful against defeated countries (mainly against Germany).
It went like a law, through which Britain and France wanted to collect all the compensation from Germany.
Great Britain and France focused on using the organization only for their own benefit.
The USA’s citizens and politicians didn’t like it.
Therefore, finally, it failed to get 2/3 of the total votes in the Upper House Senate.
However, another reason was the lack of the majority of Democrats in the Upper House.
Hence, Wilson failed to get the US into the League of Nations.
This was the main reason among all.
This failure deeply saddened US President Wilson.
4. Great Britain Had More Voting Power Than The US
As per the League’s constitution, Great Britain got more voting power than the USA.
American citizens realized that Britain would run the whole organization for their own interest and that would harm the USA’s interest and dignity as well.
They didn’t want something to happen like that.
This created a negative viewpoint in Americans’ minds over the League.
Some other reasons also exist, why the US failed to join the League of Nations.
But these four we have discussed above are the main reasons for this historical phenomenon.
I hope, you have got your answer now.
Next, let’s discuss, how the United States’ absence created an impact on the international organization.
The Absence of America And Its Impact On League
1. It Remained Only As Association of Victors: As Norman Bentwich said – “The league of nations was a dishonorable daughter of a disrupted mother”.
The international organization remained only as an organization for the interests of victors.
As the USA didn’t join the organization, Great Britain and France entirely dominated it and started using it for their own interests.
They especially used it against Germany via the treaty of Versailles.
2. It Failed To Protect International Peace And Security: The purpose with which the League of Nations was established was to maintain international security and peace.
But due to the absence of a superpower like the USA, this organization failed to maintain peace consistently.
For example, on 19th September 1931, when the Empire of Japan invaded Manchuria, the League failed to take tough actions against them.
It encouraged Italy’s Benito Mussolini to invade Ethiopia in 1935.
However, for a short time, Great Britain and France imposed some economic sanctions on Italy; but it made no effect.
As a result, again, it encouraged Germany to break away from all the rules of the Versailles treaty and invade Poland on September 1, 1939.
The invasion of Poland was the beginning of the 2nd World War.
3. Other Members of The League Didn’t Like France And Britain’s Domination: France and Britain had no interiority towards the peace organization.
They saw it as only a way of fulfilling their interests.
From its beginning, the British and the French dominated and run it as they wished.
Other members of the league didn’t like it.
As a result, one by one, they started resigning from their membership.
For example, Japan and Germany resigned in 1933, Italy in 1937, and the Soviet Union in 1939.