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Account for the successes and failures of the League of Nations.

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Introduction

Account for the successes and failures of the League of Nations. In order to ascertain what the successes and failures of the League of Nations were, and account for them, I intend both to look at the structure of the League of Nations and to look toward the involvement of the League of Nations in World events and discuss what the successes and failures were. On the eighth of January 1918, the President of the United States of America, Woodrow Wilson, in his message on the Conditions of Peace given at a joint session of the two houses of the American Congress, identified the "fourteen points" intended to serve as the basis for World peace. He stated in his fourteenth point that "a general association of nations should be formed on the basis of covenants designed to create mutual guarantees of the political independence and territorial integrity of States, large and small equally."1 As a consequence, the Paris Peace Conference (January 18th 1919 - January 16th 1920) accepted the proposals for the creation of a League of Nations. On January the 27th, a committee was elected to draught a Covenant. By April the 18th, the Peace Conference unanimously adopted the draft Covenant on the motion of President Wilson. The Covenant consisted of 26 articles which the "contracting parties"2 agreed to, in "order to promote international co-operation and to achieve international peace and security"3. ...read more.

Middle

It guaranteed the security of Albania in 1921 and rescued Austria from economic disaster. Other Disputes involved Bolivia and Paraguay, Peru and Columbia, and are all issues reflecting the successful aspects of the activities of the League. Although the idea of the League was an excellent and noble idea, it was fatally flawed from the onset by the non participation of the United States. The League could only be "as strong as those countries willing to support it".13 Other key failures include the Disarmament Commission, whose committee made no progress in persuading the member states to reduce armaments, though all had agreed to do so when they agreed to the covenant of the League of Nations. "The failure of disarmament was a great blow to the leagues prestige"14 Both Poland and Lithuania had rival claims to Vilna. The League of Nations was over ruled by the Conference of Ambassadors in Paris which was formed to deal with problems arising out of the Versailles Treaty. During a boundary dispute between Greece and Albania, an Italian General was sent to investigate and he was shot in Greece. The reasons for the shooting were never clear, but Mussolini immediately ordered the shelling of Corfu, a Greek island and demanded heavy compensation. The League offered a solution, but the Conference of Ambassadors rejected it and rewrote one in favour of Italy upon heavy pressure from Italy and Mussolini. ...read more.

Conclusion

They did not want to drive him into an alliance with Hitler. Mussolini was irritated by the sanctions anyway and began to move closer to Hitler; small states lost faith in the League; and Hitler himself was convinced to break the Versailles Treaty. After 1935, the League was not taken seriously again. Faced by threats to international peace from all sides - the Spanish civil war, Japan's resumption of war against China (1937), and finally the appeasement of Hitler at Munich (1938) - the League collapsed. The International Labour Organisation continued to function and eventually became affiliated with the United Nations, but in 1946 the League dissolved itself, its services and real estate were relocated to the United Nations. I believe that, overall, the League of Nations was neither a complete success nor a complete failure. Predominantly, I think it can be considered a failure due to the fact that it was "only as strong as those countries willing to support it"16. But its successes such as it's extended considerable aid to refugees; its help to suppress white slave and opium traffic; its pioneering work in surveys of health; its extended financial aid to needy states; and its broadening of international cooperation in labour relations and many other fields were so important at the time and were undeniably a starting point for the foundation of the United Nations. ...read more.

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