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The Emotions of InternationalismFeeling International Cooperation in the Alps in the Interwar Period$
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Ilaria Scaglia

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198848325

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198848325.001.0001

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Managing Emotions at the League of Nations

Managing Emotions at the League of Nations

(p.51) 2 Managing Emotions at the League of Nations
The Emotions of Internationalism

Ilaria Scaglia

Oxford University Press

Emotions constituted a fundamental part of the work of the League of Nations throughout the time of its existence. The League employed emotional rhetoric and images, often embodied and symbolized by the Alps, in order to legitimize itself and its policies. It used feelings to brand itself as capable and noble, to draw associations with positive values such as resilience, purity, and honesty, and to argue for its own feasibility in the post-1919 world. It also took emotions into account while staging international encounters, devoting much energy and resources trying to shape what people felt during the meetings and long-term stays in the Alps organized in this period. The League’s carefully-managed emotional style—which was deliberately based on “nobility,” “dignity,” and “friendship” rather than “force” and “pride”—frustrated many of its supporters while fueling its opponents’ argument that it was inherently weak; at the same time, it led to a set of ideas and practices (e.g. school exchanges to foster “mutual understanding”) that—for better or for worse—still influence many forms of international cooperation to this day.

Keywords:   League of Nations, Palais des Nations, rhetoric, education, youth, propaganda, public opinion

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