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ILO Histories

Essays on the International Labour Organization and Its Impact on the World During the Twentieth Century


Edited By Jasmien Van Daele, Magaly Rodriguez Garcia and Geert van Goethem

In 2009, the International Labour Organization (ILO) celebrated its ninetieth anniversary. The First World War and the revolutionary wave it provoked in Russia and elsewhere were powerful inspirations for the founding of the ILO. There was a growing understanding that social justice, in particular by improving labour conditions, was an essential precondition for universal peace. Since then, the ILO has seen successes and set-backs; it has been ridiculed and praised. Much has been written about the ILO; there are semi-official histories and some critical studies on the organization’s history have recently been published. Yet, further source-based critical and comprehensive analyses of the organization’s origins and development are still lacking. The present collection of eighteen essays is an attempt to change this unsatisfactory situation by complementing those histories that already exist, exploring new topics, and offering new perspectives. It is guided by the observation that the ILO’s history is not primarily about «elaborating beautiful texts and collecting impressive instruments for ratification» but about effecting «real change and more happiness in peoples’ lives».


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14 Laquelle était la vraie France? France and the ILO during the Second World War 341


8=6EI:G Laquelle était la vraie France? France and the >AD during the Second World War Jaci Leigh Eisenberg In , the victors of the First World War came together at Versailles to draw up a peace settlement and to found a progressive international system based on “affording mutual guarantees of political independence and ter- ritorial integrity to great and small states alike”. This peace settlement was to be maintained through many different means. One in particular was the International Labour Organization (>AD). From its foundation, the >AD owed a great deal to France. Its first direc- tor, Albert Thomas, was French. The Workers’ Group of the International Labour Conference was greatly aided by the continued leadership of Léon Jouhaux. Also prominent were other regular French members of the Governing Body and French delegates to the International Labour Con- ferences: Justin Godart for the Government Group, and Alfred Lambert- Ribot for the Employers’ Group. This work was f irst presented in long form in in fulf illment of the requirements of an undergraduate History Honors Thesis at Smith College in Northampton, B6. The author would like to thank Professor Ernest Benz of the Smith College Depart- ment of History and Remo Becci of the >AD Archives for their indispensable guidance and help in bringing this work to fruition. All primary source material in French has been translated by the author into English. Point of Woodrow Wilson’s “Fourteen Points” proclaimed at a joint session of the United States Congress on...

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