Historical Development of IOs
• The origins of the idea of “international society” and international
institutions goes back to Ancient China, the Greek City-States, and
• Concert of Europe can be seen as the first international organization
in the modern sense. It was established in the Congress of Vienna
in 1815 to restore the old system in Europe after Napoleonic wars.
• It is important because it is the first forum for multilateral diplomacy
for great powers.
• It has no formal structure and organize ad-hoc meetings when
• It reflects the need for collective diplomacy, mutual consultations
among Great Powers, and their special status.
• Convened last time in 1878 in Berlin and divided Africa among
• It was the precursor to the idea of both League of Nations and the
• Public international unions such as International Telegraph Union
(est. 1865) and Universal Postal Union (est. 1874) are among the
first of their kinds. Others such ILO, Interpol etc. followed.
• They were established to deal with problems emanating from
technological change, industrialization, expanding commerce, and
communications in 19th century.
• Hague conferences (convened in 1899 and 1907) aimed at finding
peaceful ways of settling international disputes.
• It lead to the establishment of Convention for the Pacific Settlement
of International Disputes and also Permanent Court of Arbitration,
which still exists.
• For the first time European and non-European powers were given
equal status and voice, establishing the universality and sovereign
equality of states. Hague conferences also created most of the
procedures that are being used in moderns international
organizations such as electing chairs, taking roll call votes etc.
League of Nations
• Established in 1919 after the First World War. The U.S.
President Woodrow Wilson and his Fourteen Points
were the driving force behind its founding.
• Based on two key principles:
a. Respect for territorial integrity and political indepence
of member states.
b. Collective security.
• LoN has three permanent organs ( the Council,
Assembly, and Secretariat) as well as two autonomous
organizations ( Permanent Court of International
Justice [PCİJ] and International Labour Organization
League of Nations
• LoN is the first permanent international organization that has a
general scope and a permanent Secretariat. In other words, it was
the first modern international organization, a precursor to UN, OSCE
• Although it achieved a degree of success in settling territorial
disputes in Europe after WWI and establishing the mandate system,
LoN finally collapsed. There are three reasons for the eventual
failure of LoN:
a. The US Congress failed to ratify the Covenant, thus the US was
never a member. This American absence seriously undermined
LoN’s capacity and ability to deal with crises as well as its credibility.
b. LoN’s definition of collective security was impractical and idealistic.
c. The League failed to respond territorial aggression properly
(Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, Italian invasion of
Ethiopia in 1935, and Hitler’s occupation of Austria and
Czechoslovakia) and thus lost its legitimacy and credibility.