As Americans survived the aftermath of the Great War, they were faced with yet another puzzle whether to join the League of Nations or not. The League of Nations was largely the brainchild of US President Woodrow Wilson, and the narrow-minded Republicans who shot it down were acting solely in their self-interest. The United States of America should have joined the League of Nations, for it would have provided the bullk of the power that was needed within the League.
World War I was basically a story of misunderstandings and alliances. The
concept of gentlemanly warfare and chivalry were all but diminished through trench warfare and the use of mustard gas. War was now understood by all as a dirty deed. Hence, the League was promoted as a moralizing factor for the world to allow nations to come together under one League to discuss their problems. The concept of self-determination and territorial integrity may have seemed ludicrous to the imperialistic minded Americans, but the concept was actually quite practical. The League also promoted open seas, open treaties, and disarmament. Joining the League would have reaped benefits in the long-term for Americans. But instead, Republicans and dimwitted isolationists advertised the League as a war machine, and spread some widely disfigured information about the League. Women and workers back home in America came to despise the League for fear of getting called upon to serve in the army s if there was conflict in Europe every day and night, which was anything but the case.
Without the presence of the USA, the League was placed in the hands of the much-weakened powers of France and Great Britain. More troubling was the fact that Britain and France usually did not see eye to eye on many of the major issues of the day, such as disarmament and trade. In this situation, the US still insisted on playing an influential role in the world. Despite their absence from the League, they insisted on hanging on to their world power status. These were the aspirations of some short-sighted officials in Washington during the post-war era. The League of Nations was a promoter of peace, and could have served as an effective tool against the wrath of a second war or conflict. Yet many failed to recognize this.
The absence of the USA was greatly felt in the League. There was little to bind the Member States to their commitments to the League of Nations. Nations dropped in and out of the League like a club. The League of Nations, an organization of potential greatness, was relegated to the side as a useless ensemble of states. People scorned at what they believed was Woodrow Wilson idealism and internationalism. Yet they were the ones worthy of being scorned at in the end. Half-hearted and ridiculous attempts at instilling peace later on included the Kellog-Briand Pact, which endeavored to illegalize war. The Naval Pact treaties were also of empty moral and legalistic achievement. America failed to capitalize on the perfect opportunity to implement a tool to disperse the word of peace to the world. The consequences mankind enjoyed the biggest bloodbath in history.
Thus, the USA should have joined the League of Nations, for it was indeed an organization capable of fomenting a spirit of cooperation and interaction between previously warring countries. The US should have been willing to commit troops if the League required, because the lives risked serving the League would have saved many more lives in the long run. The Republicans who opposed the League were acting solely in their self-interest, and they knew nothing of the proceedings of international politics. Their incompetence and mishandling of the League situation would later prove to be disastrous for the world.