- Arbitration in industrial disputes.
- International Arbitration.
- The Alabama Case
- The Hague Tribunal
- The League of Nations
- The U.N.O.
If two persons indulge in a dispute and cannot come to any agreement, they may ask some impartial third person to settle the question, both promising to abide by his decision. This is what is meant by “arbitration”. Arbitration has often been tried, and with a good deal of success, as a method of settling disputes in the industrial world between employers and their workmen. Many disastrous strikes have been averted in this way, though strikes still occur. There is hope, however, that gradually arbitration will win its way, and strikes and lockouts become things of the past.
War is such a horrible way of settling disputes between nations that long ago arbitration was tried instead; and not without success. The first great case settled by international arbitration was what we called the Alabama case. This was a dispute between England and the United States about a privateer, called the Alabama, which almost brought the two countries into war with each other. Both countries, however, agreed to refer the case to an international tribunal which met at Geneva in 1872. Both countries loyally accepted the decision of the tribunal, which went against England; and war was averted. Since then many arbitration treaties have been made between different countries, and many disputes settled in this way. But still wars have continued.
The Hague Conference in 1899, which was called at the suggestion of the Tzar of Russia, was an important step towards international arbitration. It appointed a permanent Arbitration Court called the Hague Tribunal. But it had two defects. One was that reference of disputes to the court was to be voluntary; the other was the Tribunal’s lack of any power to enforce its decisions. Anyway, this scheme did not abolish war; for only fifteen years after it was established, the most awful war in history broke out.
The next step was the establishment of the Great War-I of the 1914 of the League of Nations. There were great hopes that it would make an end of war; and it did certainly prevent some minor conflicts. But it had the same weakness that stultified the Hague Tribunal, lack of authority and force. Now the League, weakened by the defection of several great powers, is practically dead. But something like it is undoubtedly needed to save Europe from another world war, which might completely wreck modern civilization. War has become such a menace that the nations will have to find some way of abolishing it forever. The League of Nations became null and void due to its weakness. Its place was later taken by the UNO after the Second World War of 1939.