Société des Nations

Introduction

League of Nations - Research Guide International Law

La Société des Nations a été le précurseur des Nations Unies. Elle a été créée par le Traité de Versailles, le traité de paix qui a mis fin à la première guerre mondiale. Le Traité de Versailles a été signé le 28 juin 1919. La première partie du Traité de Versailles, à savoir le pacte sur la Société des Nations, était le document constitutif de la Société. Selon son statut, l'objectif de la Société des Nations était de "développer la coopération internationale et de garantir la paix et la sécurité". Les principaux organes de la Société étaient l'Assemblée, le Conseil et le Secrétariat permanent, lequel était dirigé par un Secrétaire général.  L'Assemblée était l'organe délibératif général, le Conseil l'exécutif global, et le Secrétariat constituait une sorte de bureaucratie globale.  Le Conseil et l'Assemblée étaient mandatés pour connaître de toute matière relative à la sphère d'action de la Société ou affectant la paix dans le monde. La Société était basée à Genève, en Suisse. Le Pacte comprenait aussi l'établissement d'une Cour permanente de Justice internationale.  Bien que la  Société des Nations soit parvenue à contenir plusieurs litiges internationaux, elle n'est finalement pas parvenue à empêcher la deuxième guerre mondiale et elle a été abolie formellement en 1946.

Le présent guide de recherche se veut un point de départ pour mener des recherches sur la Société des Nations. Il fournit les textes juridiques de base disponibles à la Bibliothèque du Palais de la Paix, qu'il s'agisse de documents imprimés ou de documents sous format électronique. La section intitulée "Bibliographie sélective" présente une sélection de manuels, d'articles importants, de bibliographies, de publications périodiques, de publications en série et de documents pertinents. Des liens permettent de rejoindre le catalogue PPL. Le code de classification de la bibliothèque 54a. Société des Nations en général et le mot-matière (mot-clef) Société des Nations sont des instruments permettant de faire une recherche dans le catalogue. Une attention particulière est prêtée à nos inscriptions aux bases de données, revues électroniques, livres électroniques et autres ressources électroniques. Enfin, le présent guide de recherche contient des liens vers des sites Internet pertinents et d'autres ressources en ligne présentant un intérêt particulier.

Bibliographie

Reference works

Recent Books

Leading articles

Documents

This three volumes set serves as a guide to all of the League of Nations Documents, published by Research Publications, as part of the microfilm collection League of Nations Documents and Publications, 1919-1946. The guide consists of basically two classes of League of Nations materials: A. Documents and B. Serial Publications. The microfilm collection is available at the Peace Palace Library. Please contact the counter in our Reading Room, if you want to make use of this unique collection.

Periodicals, serial publications

Bibliographies

Systematic classification → United Nations, League of Nations

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  • Pedersen, S., The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015.

    Pedersen, S., The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015.

    At the end of the First World War, the Paris Peace Conference saw a battle over the future of empire.  The victorious allied powers wanted to annex the Ottoman territories and German colonies they had occupied; Woodrow Wilson and a groundswell of anti-imperialist activism stood in their way.  France, Belgium, Japan and the British dominions reluctantly agreed to an Anglo-American proposal to hold and administer those allied conquests under "mandate" from the new League of Nations. In the end, fourteen mandated territories were set up across the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific.  Against all odds, these disparate and far-flung territories became the site and the vehicle of global transformation. In this masterful history of the mandates system, Susan Pedersen illuminates  the role the League of Nations played in creating the modern world. Tracing the system from its creation in 1920 until its demise in 1939, Pedersen examines its workings from the realm of international diplomacy; the viewpoints of the League's experts and officials; and the arena of local struggles within the territories themselves. Featuring a cast of larger-than-life figures, including Lord Lugard, King Faisal, Chaim Weizmann and Ralph Bunche, the narrative sweeps across the globe-from windswept scrublands along the Orange River to famine-blighted hilltops in Rwanda to Damascus under French bombardment-but always returns to Switzerland and the sometimes vicious battles over ideas of civilization, independence, economic relations, and sovereignty in the Geneva headquarters. As Pedersen shows, although the architects and officials of the mandates system always sought to uphold imperial authority, colonial nationalists, German revisionists, African-American intellectuals and others were able to use the platform Geneva offered to challenge their claims. Amid this cacophony, imperial statesmen began exploring new means - client states, economic concessions - of securing Western hegemony.  In the end, the mandate system  helped to create the world in which we now live. A riveting work of global history, The Guardians enables us to look back at the League with new eyes, and in doing so, appreciate how complex, multivalent, and consequential this first great experiment in internationalism really was.

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  • Kolb, R. (ed.), Commentaire sur le Pacte de la Société des Nations, Bruxelles, Bruylant, 2015.

    Kolb, R. (ed.), Commentaire sur le Pacte de la Société des Nations, Bruxelles, Bruylant, 2015.

    Premier commentaire systématique complet d’un des traités les plus importants du XXe siècle en droit international, prédécesseur direct de la Charte des NU. Le lien avec la Charte est mis en exergue dans chaque article.Ce Commentaire du Pacte de la Société des Nations a un double but. En premier lieu, d’assurer l’information la plus complète et la plus à jour possible sur l’ensemble de l’expérience de la SDN, notamment dans ses aspects juridiques. Le Pacte est le texte fondateur du phénomène de l’organisation internationale au XXe siècle. C’est à ce titre qu’aucune recherche et qu’aucune prise de position approfondies en la matière ne peuvent s’abstraire de ce point de départ de 1919. En second lieu, la Charte des Nations Unies, texte fondamental de l’organisation politique mondiale actuelle, s’oriente au Pacte de la SDN, tant quand elle en prolonge les linéaments que quand elle cherche au contraire une rupture. Comprendre la Charte, dans son texte de 1945, largement inaltéré à ce jour, suppose dès lors toujours de connaître le Pacte. Cet ouvrage se destine ainsi à être à la fois un instrument d’information et une invitation à l’exploration des voies du passé dans ce qu’elles ont de fécond pour la compréhension de l’avenir. Pour arriver à ces buts, le présent Commentaire se compose de contributions expliquant les diverses dispositions du Pacte, mais aussi de contributions transversales, s’attachant à tel ou tel aspect de portée plus générale, important dans la vie de la SDN comme dans celle des Nations Unies.

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  • Sarè, S., The League of Nations and the Debate on Disarmament (1918-1919), Roma, Edizioni Nuova cultura, 2013.

    Sarè, S., The League of Nations and the Debate on Disarmament (1918-1919), Roma, Edizioni Nuova cultura, 2013.

    This essay regards the early stages of the debate on Disarmament at the end of World War I, when the international community intended to limit countries’ armaments (and expenses) according to a widespread sentiment in public opinion, after a huge moral and physical devastation. In 1918 some draft projects of the League of Nations Covenant were elaborated by the Great Powers and the original texts demonstrate the initial absence of the matter, but as the brainstorming continued, the articles regarding the way to disarm appeared even more pregnant. The question at stake concerned  the reduction of armaments to the lowest point consistent with national defence and the fulfilment of international obligations, the abolition of the mandatory conscription, the prohibition to earn private profits from the manufacture of arms, the control of arms trafficking, and the ‘full and frank’ publicity of military programs. In 1919, during the Paris Peace Conference, motivated men worked to create an organization (forerunner of the United Nations) with the aim of avoiding future wars. In the final version of the Covenant some articles to realize Disarmament were present and a specific ‘Commission’ to carry on the related duties was established: the correspondence between the protagonists shows the difficulties in approaching the issue.

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  • Johnson, G., Lord Robert Cecil: Politician and Internationalist, Farnham, Ashgate, 2013.

    Johnson, G., Lord Robert Cecil: Politician and Internationalist, Farnham, Ashgate, 2013.

    Lawyer, politician, diplomat and leading architect of the League of Nations; Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, was one of Britain's most significant statesmen of the twentieth century. His views on international diplomacy cover the most important aspects of British, European and American foreign policy concerns of the century, including the origins and consequences of the two world wars, the disarmament movement, the origins and early course of the Cold War and the first steps towards European integration. His experience of the First World War and the huge loss of life it entailed provoked Cecil to spend his life championing the ethos behind and work of the League of Nations: a role for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1937. Yet despite his prominence in the international peace movement, Cecil has never been the focus of an academic biography. Cecil has perhaps been judged unfairly due to his association with the League of Nations, which has since been generally regarded as a failure. However, recent academic research has highlighted the contribution of the League to the creation of many of the institutions and precepts that have, since the Second World War, become accepted parts of the international system, not least the United Nations. In particular, Cecil and his work on arms control lay the basis for understanding this new area of international activity, which would bear fruit during the Cold War and after. Through an evaluation of Cecil's political career, the book also assesses his reputation as an idealist and the extent to which he had a coherent philosophy of international relations. This book suggests that in reality Cecil was a Realpolitiker pragmatist whose attitudes evolved during two key periods: the interwar period and the Cold War. It also proposes that where a coherent philosophy was in evidence, it owed as much to the moral and political code of the Cecil family as to his own experiences in politics. Cecil's social and familial world is therefore considered alongside his more public life.

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  • Clavin, P.M., Securing the World Economy: the Reinvention of the League of Nations, 1920-1946, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2013.

    Clavin, P.M., Securing the World Economy: the Reinvention of the League of Nations, 1920-1946, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2013.

    Securing the World Economy explains how efforts to support global capitalism became a core objective of the League of Nations. Based on new research drawn together from archives on three continents, it explores how the world's first ever inter-governmental organization sought to understand and shape the powerful forces that influenced the global economy, and the prospects for peace. It traces how the League was drawn into economics and finance by the exigencies of the slump and hyperinflation after the First World War, when it provided essential financial support to Austria, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, and Estonia and, thereby, established the founding principles of financial intervention, international oversight, and the twentieth-century notion of international 'development'. But it is the impact of the Great Depression after 1929 that lies at the heart of this history. Patricia Clavin traces how the League of Nations sought to combat economic nationalism and promote economic and monetary co-operation in a variety of, sometimes contradictory, ways. Many of the economists, bureaucrats, and policy-advisors who worked for it played a seminal role in the history of international relations and social science, and their efforts did not end with the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1940 the League established an economic mission in the United States, where it contributed to the creation of organizations for the post-war world - the United Nations Organization, the IMF, the World Bank, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization - as well as to plans for European reconstruction and co-operation. It is a history that resonates deeply with challenges that face the Twenty-First Century world.

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  • Fosse, M. and J. Fox, The League of Nations: From Collective Security to Global Rearmament, Geneva, United Nations, 2012.

    Fosse, M. and J. Fox, The League of Nations: From Collective Security to Global Rearmament, Geneva, United Nations, 2012.

    At the Peace Conference at Versailles, US President Wilson called for the creation of a League of Nations for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small nations alike. For the first time, conflicts between nations were a matter of global concern. Numerous key areas ¿ social, economic and statistics, health, labour ¿ were dealt with either directly by the League or indirectly by its specialized agencies. The League's lifetime (1919-1947) saw the creation of bodies that would be at the origin of the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the World Health Organization and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

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