The League of Nations' Work on Social Issues

Visions, Endeavours and Experiments

image of The League of Nations' Work on Social Issues
This edited volume offers a fresh look into the history of the League of Nations. It uses the League of Nations' involvement in social issues as a unique prism for understanding the League's development, as well as the development of interwar international relations more generally. Off the beaten path of diplomatic history, this perspective allows the authors to trace less familiar actors and unexpected alliances. It enables contributors to reassess the League's impact on European societies, their colonial possessions, and non-European states. As such, it also marks a paradigm shift in the League's Eurocentric historiography toward one that acknowledges its global reach.



An internationalist pioneer: Fridtjof Nansen and the social issues of the league of nations

Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930) played a major part in building international humanitarian operations after the First World War. He was the League of Nations’ High Commissioner for Repatriation of Prisoners of War (1920-22), led the Red Cross famine relief to Soviet Russia (1921-23), and became the first High Commissioner for Refugees in 1921. Nansen had some spectacular successes, particularly in his firstrole, but also experienced failures due in no small measure to the international balance of power: he did not manage to settle refugees in the Armenian Soviet Republic or to have the League take responsibility for famine relief in Russia. Thesesuccesses and failures serve as a micro-cosmos of the League and the formation of international civil society in general.


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