Reasons for the Failure of the League of Nations Essay
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Reasons for the Failure of the League of Nations
Although there is dispute about whether the League was a success in the 1920's, it is generally agreed that it was a failure in the 30's.
In 1929, the Wall Street Crash started a long depression that quickly led to economic problems throughout the world, damaging trade and industry of all countries. It led to negatively affecting the relations between countries.
Im 1931, the first major test for the League came about with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. Japan's economy and population had been growing rapidly since the 1900's,and was a major economy by the 1920's. It had a very powerful army and navy, so any leader dictated government…show more content…
Japan was a leading League member so care had to taken-this was a serious test for the League. After a long and frustrating wait, League officials sailed to Manchuria to assess the situation for themselves. A whole year later in September 1932, a report was presented. It was balanced and details, but clearly suggested that Japan had acted unlawfully - Manchuria should be returned to the Chinese. In February of the next year, Japan then announced it would invade China further, still arguing it was necessary self-defence. On February 24 the report was approved by 42 votes to 1 -only Japan voted against. After this 'insult' to Japan, it resigned from the League on 27th March 1933. It invaded Jehol the next week.
The League was powerless to do anything-without the USA it could not discuss any real economic sanctions, s it was Japan's main trading partner. Britain seemed more interested in keeping up relations with Japan than agreeing to sanctions. Member counties could not even agree about banning arms sales to Japan. They were worried Japan might retaliate, escalating a war. There was no prospect of Britain or France risking their navies or armies in a war with Japan.
It was agreed by all that this was a League failure,
The Failure of the League of Nations
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The Failure of the League of Nations
This essay will try to define whether the League of Nations was or
wasn't a complete failure. By complete we mean that no successes were
achieved and only failures were.
The League of Nations was set-up initially with four main aims:
· To discourage aggression from any nation
· To encourage other countries to co-operate
· To encourage nations to disarm
· To improve living and working conditions of people in all parts of
The League of Nations did attempt to achieve all these objectives in
different ways, always trying no to use violent methods. Only half of
these aims were achieved partly. The main successes and failures
concerned all the crises such as the Corfuand Manchurian crisis. Other
failures such as the Disarmament Pact will also be described in this
Since the Failures were more important than the successes, it is
important to begin and describe in detail in a chronological.
The first one was back in 1919 when Italian nationalists took over the
small port of Fiume in Yugoslavia. They thought that it belonged o
Italy and that the Treaty of Versailles pact was broken. The Italian
government didn't accept this and so bombarded the port. The League of
Nations didn't do anything about this. The League was just set-up and
probably inexperienced. This was probably the first of many failures.
The second failure was the conflict between Poland and Lithuania for
the city of Vilna. The city on the Polish-Lithuanian border and its
population was made up of mostly Polish even if it was on the
Lithuanian side. The Polish army decided to take it over with the use
of force. The city stayed under Polish control until the beginning of
WW2. The League of Nations didn't do anything about it. The use of
violence was applied by the Polish and so the League should have
intervened. It was the League's job to stop this aggression from
One of the greatest failures of the League concerning its objectives
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is the Disarmament Treaty. This treaty involved all the member
countries of the League of Nations. It tried to make all the countries
reduce their armies so that wars could be prevented in the future.
Important member countries such as Germanyand France disagreed with
the terms of the treaty. France didn't want to disarm because it had a
very strong power and wanted to keep its army as something to boast.
The same happened to the English with their Navy. The British Navy was
very important at the time. When Germany found out that the other
countries were reluctant to disarm, it also refused to disarm by
saying that it was unfair that Germany had no armed forces and sought
that they could have rearmed. The League was incapable of controlling
its member countries. Eventually in May 1937, it ceased to meet. (1)
Probably the greatest failure of the League was that the creator
itself, The United States of America hadn't joined the League in the
beginning. Woodrow Wilson was the man who had the idea to create it
after seeing what had happened during WWI. The American population
didn't want to suffer more casualties. This was known as Isolationism.
The Senate was also scared that if the USA helped the European states
financially it could have caused trouble in the American Economy. (2)
The League faced two main crisis'; The Manchurian and the Abyssinian.
The first one was a complete failure because the League lacked in
speed. It took too long to make decisions and also tried to make up
excuses. Britain wanted to keep good relations with Japan. After a
year, The LONS came to a decision saying that Japan was wrong.
Immediately after Japan resigned. Sources suggest that this crisis led
to others because it gave a bad example to rulers such as Mussolini
and Hitler. This was probably the beginning of the end of the League
of Nations. The great powers and the great members of the League were
susceptible to any other great members decision.
The second crisis, the Abyssinian war between Italy and Abyssinia was
the final stage before failure. Italian leader Mussolini took the idea
of expanding its empire from the Japanese emperor and started to
invade Abyssinia. Its main motives were that Italy had to expand its
frontiers and try to distract the population from the economic
recession it was suffering. The League attempted to impose its
sanctions but without much success. This was because USA didn't want
to stop the oil export and actually made it increase. The members of
the League were incapable to do anything about this because they
didn't want to break their relationships with the USA. This showed how
powerless the members of the LONS had become at this stage and how the
League was being crippled by large powers such as Italyand Japan.
German NAZI party took this crisis as an opportunity to invade the
Rhineland. This was the end of the League of Nations which couldn't
handle two things at once. The League only officially stopped meeting
at the end of WWII. (3)
As well as failures came small successes for the league. Many small
crisis' such as the Aaland and the Upper Silesian had been solved by
the League of Nations.
The Aaland crisis was probably the easiest conflict the League came
across. Sweden and Finland wanted to gain control of these small
islands located at equal distances between each other. These islands
belonged to the Finns and so the League cam to the decision that they
should remain to them. Both sides also agreed on the fact that no
weapons should ever be kept there. Sources suggest that this reason
was a sage one to avoid conflicts and also trying to accomplish two
aims in one; to discourage aggression from any nation and o encourage
nations to disarm. (4)
The other important success was the Upper Silesiaconflict between
citizens of this piece of land located between Poland and Germany.
Half of the population wanted to belong to German territory and half
to Polish. Riots began and both countries appealed to the League. The
League decided that the country should be split in half and that half
should go to German and half to Poland. This decision was acclaimed by
the population and gave the LONS more admiration.
The League also tried to help refugees and people living in poor
conditions. A committee was set-up to try and solve these problems.
This was almost certainly the most efficient section of the LONS.
In conclusion to this essay, all the information provided from the
sources suggest that the League wasn't a complete failure and that it
was criticised too much. It accomplished some main objectives such as
the Upper Silesian crisis and very importantly, the Aaland by
achieving two aims in one.