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League of Nations 101: Sir Eric Drummond and His System


The League of Nations 101 is a series that historically analyze the work of the League of Nations. The League of Nations was the first international organization that has aimed to control international affairs and, in order to achieve that, it launched its own international bureaucracy. Through its main organs (the Secretariat, the Assembly and the Council) it was able to form a new, multilateral system by the end of the 1920s.

The League of Nations 101 series' aim is to examine the system-level operations, the possible strategies used by state representations and the activities of the people that were operating the system or intended to prevail in it, as well as to find the place of the League of Nations in the history of diplomacy and international institutions.

The series are divided into the following chapters:

1. A New Spirit

2. The Establishment of the League of Nations

3. Sir Eric Drummond and His System

4. Methods, Techniques, Operational Mechanisms, and Advocacy Opportunities

5. Hungarian Diplomats Next to League in the 1920s

6. The League's Specialized Agencies

7. Biggest Successes of the League of Nations

8. Biggest Failures of the League of Nations

9. The League of Nations VS the United Nations

10. The League of Nations' Place in the History of International Institutions and Bureaucracy

The League of Nations was an organization constructed and run by the winners of the First World War. The death of the league’s greatest patron, Wilson, and the absence of the United States from the League of Nations resulted in a clear British and French supremacy within the organization eventually resulting with the British, who also provided the first Secretary General of the League, taking the lead.

As we have seen during its establishment, one of the big patrons of the League of Nations was Lord Robert Cecil. He originally planned that the League would be headed by a politically powerful chancellor who would, of course, lead the organization in line with goals of the British foreign policy. This plan, however, neither met Lloyd George's views nor the French and Italian ideas. Thus, eventually, no real political power was given to the leader of the League of Nations. The League’s first leader became the Secretary General instead of becoming the chancellor, who lead the administrative body of the organization: the Secretariat. (1)