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Guarantee of PeaceThe League of Nations in British Policy 1914-1925$
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Peter J. Yearwood

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199226733

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226733.001.0001

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‘Much More than an Organization to Prevent War’

‘Much More than an Organization to Prevent War’

Beyond the Guarantee of Peace, 1917–1918

(p.40) 2 ‘Much More than an Organization to Prevent War’
Guarantee of Peace

Peter J. Yearwood

Oxford University Press

The league idea developed in several new directions in 1917–18. Some close to Lloyd George, like Philip Kerr and Maurice Hankey, envisaged an active organization with a powerful secretariat which might resolve the underlying problems which led to war. This was linked to the possibility of threatening Germany with exclusion from the inter‐Allied bodies which would control economic resources in the reconstruction period, an idea which alarmed Wilson and led him to refuse to discuss league plans with London. Others such as Jan Smuts developed plans for the internationalization of tropical Africa. London began to place the league idea at the centre of its propaganda, and was particularly concerned with the development of Labour and socialist thinking, which strikingly paralleled its own. Nevertheless, the new ideas were meant to complement, not replace, the older idea of a guarantee. Following an initiative by Robert Cecil at the Foreign Office, this was worked out in some detailed by the Phillimore Committee.

Keywords:   new thinking, economic weapon, internationalization of tropical Africa, wartime propaganda, Labour thinking, Philip Kerr, Maurice Hankey, Jan Smuts, Phillimore Committee

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