Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and later Germany and Russia - all great powers in their own right - joined the League of Nations. The United Sates on the other hand, was the only major power not to join the League in spite of having been instrumental in creating it in the first place. This dichotomy i.e. the failure of the United States to join the League of Nations, in spite of being its staunchest advocate, could thus be ascribed to its inability to reconcile domestic political compulsions with its international obligations.
Was this domestic compulsion a clash between the 'realists' and the 'idealists' This is the main theme that the research paper will seek to examine. The idealist view of international relations envisaged the creation of, "international institutions to replace the anarchical and war-prone balance-of-power system"(Kegley 1997, 21). The realist view on the other hand, viewed the state as the most important player, subservient to no other (external) authority. The idealist view was endorsed by president Wilson who in his, "celebrated Fourteen Points speech, delivered before Congress in 1918, proposed the creation of the League of Nations"(Kegley 1997, 22). Although the League of Nations came into being in 1919, Congress refused to ratify the United States' entry into the league.