Lord Robert Gascoyne Cecil
Foremost defender of the League of Nations
The British politician, diplomat and peace activist Lord Robert Cecil came of an aristocratic family from which had sprung as many as four prime ministers. After reading law at Oxford, he worked for a number of years as a lawyer, before being elected to Parliament in 1906 as a Conservative.
During World War I he was Minister of Blockade, and at the Versailles peace conference he played a leading part in the formulation of the rules of the League of Nations. In 1919 he participated in the founding of the League of Nations Union (LNU), which in the inter-war years became Britain's most important extra-parliamentary pressure group in the field of foreign policy.
In 1937 Lord Cecil spearheaded a nationwide signature campaign demanding that the League of Nations adopt economic and military penal sanctions against violators of the peace. He was also among the leaders of the International Peace Campaign (IPC), which worked for disarmament and collective security through the League of Nations.