To what extent was the League of Nations a success? (How far did…
To what extent was the League of Nations a success?
The aims of the League
to improve the living and working
conditions of people in all parts of the world.
to encourage nations to disarm
to encourage countries to co-operate,
especially in business and trade
to discourage aggression from any nation
How far did weaknesses in the League's organisation make failure inevitable?
So therefore, the League's failure was by far more down to the organisational structure than anything else, compared to the recessive weaker external factors.
Was the League's organisation to blame?
One of the League's main goals was to enforce the Treaty of Versailles. Many countries did not want to co-operate with the LON as they believed that the Treaty was too harsh.
Britain and France had adopted a change of policy in the 1930's. Their idea of carrying out the policy of appeasement as opposed to standard league regulations. This is an example of a non-organisational factor which could have resulted in the downfall of the league
The secretariat was overworked and did not have enough man power.
As all decisions made had to be unanimous, it took the League an extended length of time to make a decision. This made the League appear slow.
The League were not able to keep order when large powers such as Italy or Japan disobeyed them. This was demonstrated in Corfu (1923) and the Manchurian Crisis.
France was more concerned about receiving reparations owed to them rather than helping the league to preserve long-term peace.
America could not join due to isolationist views despite it being Wilson's idea. In addition, the USSR could not join due diplomatic isolation and was not invited. This meant that the League did not have the support of 2 of the world's biggest powers
How successful was the League in the 1920's?
Problems they faced
Border disputes in the 1920's
Upper Silesia (1921)
This was a dispute between Germany and Poland over the Upper Silesia region. In the end, the league oversaw a peaceful plebiscite and divided the region between Germany and Poland. Both countries accepted this decision.
In 1920, Poland took control of the Lithuanian capital Vilna. Lithuania appealed to the league and protested to Poland but the Poles did not pull out. France and Britain were not prepared to act.
Greek troops invaded Bulgaria after an incident on the border in which some Greek soldiers were killed. The League demanded that both sides stand down their forces and Greek forces withdraw from Bulgaria. Greece was told to pay £45,000 in compensation. Greece obeyed, however it seemed that there was one rule for the big powers and a different rule for everyone else.
Border dispute between Greece and Albania. An Italian general was told to supervise the situation. Tellini and his troops were ambushed and killed. The Italians blamed the Greek government and demanded compensation in reparations. In the end, the league ruled that Greece should apologise and pay compensation to Italy. Many in the league saw this as a failure because it was shown that even the weakest of great powers could get it's way when Britain and France agreed to sacrifice just for co-operation.
The birth of the League
After WW1, everyone wanted to avoid another war on that scale. Most agreed that a League of Nations - an organisation that could solve the international problems without resorting to war. President Wilson wanted the league to be a "world parliament" where representatives of all nations could meet.
The aims of the League
To improve the living and working conditions of people in all parts of the world
To encourage nations to disarm
To encourage countries to co-operate, especially in business and trade
To disscourage aggression from any nation