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Al-Iraq, Number 1, June 1, 1920
Al-Iraq was a daily newspaper focusing on politics, literature, and the economy, first published in Baghdad on June 1, 1920. Owned by Razzuq Dawood Ghannam, the paper showed an independent editorial streak from its first few issues. Throughout its existence, it recorded the political, social, and economic history of Iraq and was considered the first and last source for news on national issues and causes. The paper did not represent the rising nationalistic, anticolonial elite, but it was pan-Iraqist in orientation and counted among its staff a number of young ...
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Representatives of the First Iranian Parliament
This photograph shows the representatives of the first Iranian Majles (parliament) in front of the military academy, which served as the first parliament building. In the 1870s–early 20th century, leading political figures in Iran concluded that the only way to save country from government corruption and foreign manipulation was to make a written code of laws, an attitude that laid the foundation for the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1905–7. The movement for a constitution bore fruit during the reign of Muẓaffar ad-Dīn Shah of the Qajar dynasty, who ...
Under the Auspices of the League, Saar Plebiscite
After World War I, the Treaty of Versailles placed the territories of the Saar basin, formerly part of Germany, under the administration of the League of Nations for a period of 15 years. As compensation for the destruction by Germany of coal mines in the north of France and part of the reparations Germany was to pay for the war, France was given control of the coal mines of the Saar for this period. The administration of the territory was entrusted to a Governing Commission consisting of five members chosen ...
Summary of Petition of Railroad Workers of Hungarian Origin and Protection of Minorities in Czechoslovakia
After World War I, the states of central and southeastern Europe were compelled by the victorious Allied and Associated Powers to sign agreements guaranteeing religious, social, and political equality to their minority populations. The states covered were Austria, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Groups or individuals who believed they had been discriminated against for ethnic or linguistic reasons could petition the League of Nations for redress by the Council. The Minority Section within the League Secretariat was responsible for screening incoming petitions, requesting responses from the accused ...
Petition of Railroad Workers of Hungarian Origin, Draft Reply, Legal Arguments
After World War I, the states of central and southeastern Europe were compelled by the victorious Allied and Associated Powers to sign agreements guaranteeing religious, social, and political equality to their minority populations. The states covered were Austria, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Groups or individuals who believed they had been discriminated against for ethnic or linguistic reasons could petition the League of Nations for redress by the Council. The Minority Section within the League Secretariat was responsible for screening incoming petitions, requesting responses from the accused ...
French Mandate for Togoland
As a consequence of World War I, Germany was stripped of its colonies and the Ottoman Empire was partitioned and forced to surrender control of territories in the Middle East. The Covenant of the League of Nations established a system under which the League conferred upon certain states a mandate to rule those former colonies which, in the language of the Covenant, were “inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world.” Britain and the British Empire, France, Belgium, and Japan ...
Mandate for Palestine and Memorandum by the British Government Relating to its Application to Transjordan
After World War I, the Covenant of the League of Nations established a system by which the League was empowered to confer upon certain of the victorious powers mandates to administer territories formerly ruled by Germany or the Ottoman Empire. Mandated territories were to be governed on behalf of the League, until such time as they could become independent. On September 16, 1922, the Council of the League approved a mandate to Great Britain for Palestine, previously part of the Ottoman Empire. The mandate provided for the eventual creation of ...
Slavery Convention
The 1926 Slavery Convention was an agreement among member states of the League of Nations that obliged signatories to eliminate slavery, the slave trade, and forced labor in their territories. It defined slavery as the status or condition of a person over which the powers of ownership are applied; the slave trade as acts involving the capture, selling, or transport of enslaved people; and forced labor as a “condition analogous to slavery” that had to be regulated and eventually stopped. The Slavery Convention was the work of the Temporary Slave ...
Ratification by China of the Convention for the Suppression of the Illicit Traffic in Dangerous Drugs
The first global attempt to control the traffic in opium and other dangerous drugs (such as morphine, heroin, and cocaine) occurred via the Hague Convention, signed by 42 nations in 1912. The signatory states agreed to allow the import only of such drugs as were considered necessary for medicinal and scientific purposes. World War I broke out before the convention could be implemented, but after the war the League of Nations was entrusted with reactivating the convention. It soon became evident that in order to prevent the illicit smuggling of ...
Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Terrorism
The document presented here is the archival copy of the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Terrorism, which was adopted by 24 member states of the League of Nations on November 16, 1937. The concluding pages of the document contain the signatures of the representatives of the states. In a few cases, reservations, either typed or handwritten, accompany the signatures. The French government had proposed, following the assassination by Croatian and Macedonian separatists of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia in Marseilles in 1934, that the League adopt a convention ...
Convention on the International Status of Refugees
This document is the original typewritten text of the Convention on the International Status of Refugees, which was concluded on October 28, 1933, by five countries—Belgium, Bulgaria, Egypt, France, and Norway—and subsequently adhered to by a number of others. The convention was the most far-reaching attempt on the part of the League of Nations to define the responsibilities of states towards refugees. It grew out of four multilateral League arrangements that were adopted between 1922 and 1928 in response to refugee problems caused by World War I and ...
Treaty of Relation Between Cuba and the United States, Certified Copy Deposited at the League of Nations
Article 18 of the Covenant of the League of Nations stipulated that “every treaty or international engagement entered into hereafter by any Member of the League shall be forthwith registered with the Secretariat and shall as soon as possible be published by it. No such treaty or international engagement shall be binding until so registered.” President Woodrow Wilson of the United States believed that secret agreements between states had been a major cause of World War I and therefore insisted, at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919–20, that the ...
Protocol for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes
The document presented here is the archival copy of the Protocol for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, which was adopted by resolution of the Assembly of the League of Nations at its fifth session on October 1, 1924, and opened for signature by member states on the following day. The last four pages of the document contain the dated signatures of the ambassadors of 19 countries that adhered to the protocol. They included France, Belgium, and other European countries, Ethiopia, and several countries in Latin America. Article 10 of ...
Memorandum on the Organization of a System of Federal European Union
At the annual meeting of the Assembly of the League of Nations in September 1929, Foreign Minister Aristide Briand of France proposed the establishment of a federal European union to coordinate economic and political policies. Briand believed that the proposed union should be created within the framework of the League, and promised to submit a detailed plan for a federal union to the 27 European states that were League members. Shown here is Briand’s plan, which was issued for discussion on May 1, 1930. The proposal was brought before ...
European Nationality—What You Should Know about Europe and European Nationality
At the annual meeting of the Assembly of the League of Nations in September 1929, Foreign Minister Aristide Briand of France proposed the establishment of a federal European union to coordinate economic and political policies. Briand believed that the proposed union should be created within the framework of the League, and promised to submit a detailed plan for a federal union to the 27 European states that were League members. This initiative inspired the formation of the non-governmental Office of European Nationality, which launched a public campaign in support of ...
Negotiating Table of the Locarno Treaties
The Locarno Conference of October 1925, named for the small city in southern Switzerland where it was held, is remembered for the agreement known as the Locarno Pact. Signed by France, Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, and Italy, the treaty guaranteed Germany’s western frontier, which the bordering states of France, Germany, and Belgium pledged to treat as inviolable. Britain and Italy promised to help in repelling any armed aggression across the frontier. The Rhineland, a part of Germany occupied by the victorious Allied Powers after World War I, was permanently ...
Locarno Treaties: Treaty between Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Italy
The document presented here is the archival copy of the treaty concluded by the governments of Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain, and Italy in the city of Locarno, Switzerland, on October 16, 1925. The final page contains the diplomatic seals and the signatures of the representatives of the five signatory powers, who included Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann of Germany, Foreign Minister Aristide Briand of France, and Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin of Great Britain. The text is in French. Also known as the Locarno Pact, the treaty guaranteed Germany’s western ...
Pollution of the Sea by Oil. Draft Replies of the Governments Relating to the Draft Convention
With the development of an international petroleum industry in the first part of the 20th century, pollution of the sea by oil became a matter of international concern. In July 1934 the government of the United Kingdom raised this issue in a letter to the secretary-general of the League of Nations, after a campaign by several civil society organizations raised awareness of the damage and threats to maritime industry, tourism, and wildlife. In November 1934 the Council of the League authorized the League’s Communications and Transit Organization to create ...
Membership of Germany in the League of Nations. Letter from Gustav Stresseman
In 1924, the newly appointed foreign minister of Germany, Gustav Stresemann, adopted a new policy toward the League of Nations, which governments in Berlin previously had spurned as an instrument created by the victors of World War I to suppress the defeated Germans. In December 1924, Stresemann dispatched an application for Germany’s admission to the League, but on the condition that it also be made a member of the League Council. This request was denied, but in early 1925 Stresemann made a second attempt. The path to German membership ...
Withdrawal of Germany from the League of Nations. Letter from Konstantin von Neurath
In October 1933, some nine months after Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany, the German government announced its withdrawal from the League of Nations. The ostensible reason was the refusal of the Western powers to acquiesce in Germany’s demands for military parity. With this curt letter, dated October 19, 1933, Foreign Minister Konstantin Freiherr von Neurath informed the League of Nations secretary-general, Joseph Avenol, of Germany’s withdrawal. Germany’s departure from the international organization was followed by its massive military buildup, undertaken in violation of international agreements ...
The Big Parade
This political cartoon was created in 1932 by Alois Derso (1888–1964) and Emery Kelen (1896–1978). Derso and Kelen were Hungarians who worked for the League of Nations in Geneva, where they were renowned for their satirical portrayals of the League and its conferences. “The Big Parade” concerns the 1932 Geneva Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments. It shows a procession of politicians rushing across the page in comical versions of their national costumes. Adolf Hitler of Germany, Prime Minister Saitō of Japan, and Prime Minister Pierre ...
Military Situation in Manchuria before 18 September 1931. Map Prepared for Lytton's Report on the Sino-Japanese Conflict
On the night of September 18, 1931, anti-Japanese activists set off explosions on the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railroad in Manchuria, northeastern China. The Japanese army used the incident as a pretext to invade Manchuria, and quickly occupied its key cities. China appealed to the world’s powers for help. The Council of the League of Nations, supported by the United States, sought to negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict. In early 1932, the Council dispatched an inquiry commission to China under the leadership of the British diplomat, the Earl ...
Situation in Manchuria: Report of the Lytton Commission of Inquiry
On the night of September 18, 1931, anti-Japanese activists set off explosions on the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railroad in Manchuria, northeastern China. The Japanese army used the incident as a pretext to invade Manchuria, and quickly occupied key Manchurian cities. China appealed to the world’s powers for help. The Council of the League of Nations, supported by the United States, sought to negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict. In early 1932, the Council dispatched an inquiry commission to China under the leadership of the British diplomat, the Earl ...
Marquis Garroni and Benito Mussolini
Alois Derso (1888–1964) was a noted Hungarian cartoonist and satirist who worked for the League of Nations during the 1920s and 1930s. He specialized in drawing satirical pictures of prominent world leaders and of League meetings, such as the 1932 Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments. This caricature by Derso depicts Italian dictator Benito Mussolini (1883–1945) and Marquis Eugenio Camillo Garroni (1852–1935), the Italian ambassador to Turkey and a delegate to the 1922–23 Lausanne Conference. Garroni is depicted as a short, portly, and servile ...
Letter of Resignation of James G. McDonald, High Commissioner for Refugees (Jewish and Other) Coming from Germany
James G. McDonald was an American diplomat who in October 1933 was appointed by the Council of the League of Nations to be high commissioner for refugees (Jewish and other) coming from Germany. His mandate was to “negotiate and direct” the “international collaboration” necessary to solve the “economic, financial and social problem” of refugees from Germany. McDonald held this position for more than two years. He resigned in December 1935, having concluded that the “conditions in Germany which create refugees have developed so catastrophically that a reconsideration by the League ...
The Anguish of Nations
This work is a history of Bukhara (in present-day Uzbekistan), written by Said Mir Mohammed Alim Khan (1880–1944), the last emir of Bukhara. Between 1785 and 1920 Bukhara was ruled by eight emirs of the Manghit dynasty. After the Russian conquest of Samarkand in 1868, the emirate of Bukhara became a Russian protectorate. Alim Khan assumed power in 1910, following the death of his father, Abdulahad Khan. Alim Khan was overthrown by the Red Army in September 1920, went into exile, and eventually settled in Kabul, Afghanistan. The title ...
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A Summary View of the Rights of British America: Set Forth in Some Resolutions Intended for the Inspection of the Present Delegates of the People of Virginia, Now in Convention / by a Native, and Member of the House of Burgesses
This pamphlet is Thomas Jefferson’s personal copy of A Summary View of the Rights of British America, which he originally drafted in July 1774 as a set of instructions for the Virginia delegates to the first Continental Congress. Jefferson argued that the British Parliament had no rights to govern the colonies, which he claimed had been independent since their founding. He also described the usurpations of power and deviations from law committed by King George III and Parliament. Jefferson was not present in the Virginia House when his draft ...
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The Revolt in Arabia
This historical booklet about the origins of the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I was written by Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje (1857–1936), a Dutch professor who specialized in oriental languages and cultures and served as a colonial official in the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia). The booklet is a collection of newspaper articles by Hurgronje that appeared in the newspaper Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant in 1916, after Hurgronje had spent a year conducting research in Mecca and Jiddah. The articles were translated into English and published in ...
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Arabia: The Cradle of Islam
Samuel Zwemer (1867–1952) was an American Protestant missionary who lived for nine years in Bahrain and became a student of the Arab world and, especially, the Arabian Peninsula. Published in New York in 1900, Arabia: The Cradle of Islam contains detailed chapters on the geography of Arabia; the holy cities of Mecca and Medina; the Prophet Muhammad and the rise of Islam; the contemporary political scene on the Arabian Peninsula, including the rivalries among the British, Turks, and other powers; and the Arabic language and poetry. The book concludes ...
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Biographic Sketch of Mohammad Ali, Pacha of Egypt, Syria, and Arabia
Biographic Sketch of Mohammad Ali (1769–1849), composed by an unknown author, was published in Washington in 1837. Muḥammad ʻAlī was pasha and wali (governor) of Egypt within the Ottoman Empire from 1805 until his death. The book begins by comparing him to Napoleon, noting that they shared the same birth year and the same “insatiate ambition.” The author describes Muḥammad ʻAlī’s military service under the Ottoman governor of Kavalla in Rumelia (northeastern Greece). Muḥammad ʻAlī also became a tobacco dealer during this period, an experience that probably inspired ...
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Anatolia
In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Anatolia is Number 59 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Anatolia is the peninsula jutting westward from Asia between the Black Sea and the easternmost part of the Mediterranean Sea ...
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Arabia
In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Arabia is Number 61 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Chapter I discusses physical and political geography. Chapter II covers the political history of the 12 autonomous states, which at ...
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Armenia and Kurdistan
In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Armenia and Kurdistan is Number 62 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Armenia is defined in the study as consisting of six vilayets (provinces) of the Turkish Empire that were ...
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France and the Levant
In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section with responsibility for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. France and the Levant is Number 66 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The book is mainly an historical survey of French military, political, and cultural influence in the ...
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Turkey in Asia
In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Turkey in Asia is Number 58 in the series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The book offers a brief survey of the history of the Ottoman Empire from its origins in the ...
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Persian Gulf
In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Persian Gulf is Number 76 in the series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Chapter I discusses physical and political geography, dividing the littoral of the Gulf (also known as the Arabian Gulf ...
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Mesopotamia
In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Mesopotamia is Number 63 in the series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The study describes Mesopotamia as a loosely defined region consisting “of a great depression running south-east from the north-western corner ...
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Syria and Palestine
In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Syria and Palestine is Number 60 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published in 1920, after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. At this time part of the Ottoman Empire, Syria was a vaguely defined entity that included ...
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British Somaliland and Sokotra
In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. British Somaliland and Sokotra is Number 97 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. British Somaliland (the northwest part of present-day Somalia) was a British protectorate, established in 1884−7, after ...
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From the Indus to the Tigris
Henry Walter Bellew was a surgeon and medical officer in the Indian Army who in 1871–72 accompanied Major General F.R. Pollock on a political mission to Sistān in southwestern Afghanistan. Undertaken on behalf of the government of British India, the mission set out from Multan (present-day Pakistan) on December 26, 1871, and arrived in Sistān in early March. From there Pollock and Bellew traveled to Mashhad and Tehran. Bellew went on to Baghdad and returned to India by steamer to Bombay (now Mumbai). From the Indus to the ...
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Positivist Protest against the Afghan War
This document is a one-page manifesto issued by the Positivist Society in London to protest the Second Anglo-Afghan War, which began in November 1878 when Great Britain, fearful of what it saw as growing Russian influence in Central Asia, invaded Afghanistan from British India. The text declares: “As Positivists we condemn our Indian Empire in principle. We therefore deprecate all extensions of it…. The present invasion of Afghanistan seems to be even more destitute of excuse than many of the other unjust aggressions by which our Indian Empire has been ...
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Afghanistan: A Short Account of Afghanistan, Its History, and Our Dealings with It
This book is a brief history of Afghanistan and its relations with the British Empire. It was published in London in 1881 as Parliament and the British public were debating policy toward Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Second Anglo-Afghan War, which was fought between 1878 and 1880. The author, Philip Francis Walker, was a London barrister who had recently served with the British army in Afghanistan, and the book contains vivid accounts of fierce fighting with the Afghans. In a typical passage, Walker describes the Afghan tribesmen as “being ...
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