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How far was the League of Nations a complete failure?

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How far was the League of Nations a complete failure? The League of Nations, a former international organisation, was formed after WWI by Woodrow Wilson, in conjunction with his 14 points, to promote worldwide peace and security. As the League of Nations was written into the Treaty of Versailles, the League was bound to uphold their principles. Wilson also thought that the League would persuade nations to uphold their promises made in the creation of the Treaty of Versailles. The main aims of the League (also known as The Covenant of The League) were to discourage aggression from any nation, encourage countries to co-operate, especially in business and trade, increase disarmament and to improve the living and working conditions of people in all parts of the world. Because The League was included in Wilson's 14 points, he was the most enthusiastic and willing to co-operate. Britain and France went along with this to appease Wilson, but were more concerned with their own countries wellbeing rather than that of those who had been defeated during the war. Many signs of weakness within The League were presented very early on, as America would not join, as the American Senate refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles and join, wanting isolation from Europe and it's problems - even though Wilson was the main figure in the creation of The League. ...read more.


Collective Security failed, as Britain and France, along with other members, were more concerned with their own interests. As a result of this, they were reluctant to get involved in disputes involving aggression, as they were unwilling to send troops to fight. During the first few years of The League, there appeared to be a genuine desire for peace after the horrors of World War One. Therefore, the League did have successes, though these tended to be in areas that had little strategic or economic importance. The main strength of the League was that it had been formed by the Treaty of Versailles, and had been agreed by everyone at the conference. The League was successful in the Aaland Islands in 1921. These islands are of equal distance between Finland and Sweden. Originally, they had belonged to Finland, but a majority of the islanders wanted to be governed by a Swedish government. Neither Sweden nor Finland could come to a decision as to who owned the islands and in 1921 they asked the League to adjudicate. The League?s decided that they should remain with Finland but that no weapons should ever be kept there. ...read more.


The Depression in 1929 showed many of the League's members' real intentions - to make certain that the welfare of it's own country was secure, ridding all thought of world peace. As trade was limited during the Depression, the punishment of placing sanctions of significant trading partners was too risky, any government willing to do this put themselves under threat of not being voted in a second term. Faith in the League had detoriated more as the League failed to act successfully in major incidents. The permanent members had failed to uphold the main aims and had betrayed the League; Japan and Italy had disobeyed the principles of the League in the thirties, and Britain and France had no relative interest in the main events concerning the League, deeming the League powerless against strong nations. Hitler and Mussolini observed these failures and their confidence increased; the problems the League faced encouraged the rise of powerful nationalist dictators and militaristic governments - such as Hitler and Mussolini. They were certain that if they acted whilst the League was still weak, they would be successful and the League would be powerless against them. This proved to true, as in the following years after the collapse of the League, Hitler rose to power and gained the position of Chancellor of Germany in 1933, and then dictator, following with WWII. ...read more.

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