Why Didn’t The US Join League of Nations?


Why Did The US Not Join The League of Nations?

Despite being the main thread of its birth, why did the US not join the League of Nations?

Well, here I will share with you four main reasons for this interesting historical fact and also the impacts of it.

Short Answer:

  • To Protect The Country From Civil War Type Condition.
  • American Leaders Thought, League of Nations Was An Expensive Deal For Them.
  • The Proposal Failed Getting Approval In The United States Congress.
  • Great Britain Had More Voting Power Than The United States.

So, the very first core reason is…

Why Did The US Not Join The League of Nations

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 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 nationalists 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, 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.

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 self 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 in 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 in the treaty that it will protect the USA’s interest.

But Wilson didn’t show any interest in their proposal.

Either way, the fourteen points he proposed not get applied (By allied nations Great Britain, 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 benefits.

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 at the Upper House.

Hence, Wilson failed to get the US into the League of Nations.

This was the main reason among all.

President Wilson was deeply saddened by this failure.


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 on Americans’ minds over the League.


Some other reasons also exist, why did the US not join the League of Nations.

But these four we have discussed above are the main reasons for this historical fact.

I hope, you have got your answer now.

Next, let’s discuss, how the United States’ absence created an impact on the international organization.

Absence of America And Its Impact On League

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.

Due to the USA not joined the organization, Great Britain and France, entirely dominated it and began running for their own interests.

Especially, they used it against Germany via the treaty of Versailles.

2. It Failed Protecting 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, though for a short time, Great Britain and France imposed some economic sanctions on Italy; but it made no effect.

As a result, again, it encourages 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 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. 

But even after all these, they dominated and run it as they wished.

Other members of the league didn’t like it.

As a result, they started resigning their membership.

For example, Japan and Germany resigned in 1933, Italy in 1937, the Soviet Union in 1939.


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