The League of Nations was established upon the assumption that the World War had brought about a complete change in the nationalistic spirit of peoples, that they were all equally ready to submit their respective aspirations and ambitions to international adjustment as the sole means of escaping the horrors of another universal catastrophe. From the very outset it was obvious that if all peoples were not similarly ready to accept what existed, then the League could only become a combination of the satisfied powers to restrain the discontented. And as such it was doomed to lack moral authority in the eyes of peoples thus forcibly restrained.
For 14 years the struggle was carried on at Geneva and elsewhere to create an institution which would substitute international agreement for national rivalry. But during those 14 years, although an enormous mass of machinery was created and pacts without number were signed and ratified, not the smallest progress was made in establishing international authority in a world in which nationalistic sentiments and emotions were ever visibly on the gain. While Germany was weak and at first outside the League, the semblance of unity and progress there existed. When Germany entered the League, while her statesmen and people still believed the League was a way to the recovery of lost provinces and departed prestige, that illusion still prevailed.