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How successful was the League of Nations up to 1929?

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How successful was the League of Nations up to 1929? The League of Nations was an international organization, established by the Treaty of Versailles (signed on the 28th June, 1919) that ended World War I. It was set up in 1920 at the Paris peace conference and, like its successor, the United Nations, its purpose was the "promotion of international peace and security". Member countries would try and settle their disputes by talking rather than fighting. If talks between nations broke down, they were to go to the League to settle their differences. The League was a product of World War I as that the conflict convinced most people of the necessity of averting another tragedy. The League was built upon Woodrow Wilson's 14th point (a provision for "a general association of nations ... under specific covenants.") and it was the American president who had the greatest role in setting it up. Though the president campaigned for the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles personally, the US Senate ultimately rejected the treaty. This was mostly due to the America's strong belief in isolationism, which precluded its participation in the League. This was disastrous for Britain and France as America was the prime economic and biggest potential military power. It also perhaps set the League up as weak from the beginning as it did not include the world's biggest power. The League also did not include any of the defeated powers: Germany, Bulgaria, Turkey, Austria and Hungary, as they were not allowed to join until later as punishment for their role in the war. ...read more.


These included the Washington Naval Treaties (1921), Locarno Treaties (1925) and the Kellog-Briand Pact (1928). Overall, the League's successes were simple and primarily involved border disputes as a result of the end of war treaties. This was simply repairing the aftermath of war and addressing social and humanitarian issues that all countries wished resolved. Therefore the League was able to carry out the work with relative ease. The successes met the following aim: to improve people's lives and jobs. To some extent The League did increase international co-operation through the various treaties signed. Though I feel it was more to do with the foreign ministers (Austin Chamberlain, Briand and Stresemann) and the countries themselves through "power diplomacy" rather then the League. Though the League did settle some conflicts, it also made unpopular decisions (in the Upper Silesia conflict the German population were denied NSD). Perhaps the only reason the weaker countries did not argue with the League was because of their poor economic situations because of the war. No one really wanted to start fighting again and this did not really show that the League could keep peace rather that no could fight back. Though it can be argued that disarmament was also addressed with the Washington Naval Treaties it was only one small step towards the aim of multilateral disarmament and was in fact organised by the USA not the League of Nations, though they were present. All other chances for disarmament (e.g. 1923 - The Draft Treaty of Mutual Assistance and in 1924 - The Geneva Protocol) ...read more.


They were also unwilling to use their armies as they had just finished fighting a world war. The tension caused by the Treaty of Versailles and the other end of war treaties, and the exclusion of the defeated powers, meant that the League was not respected by all. There was also tension between the Leagues' major powers as Britain and France did not trust each other and often disagreed, and Italy and Japan were upset about the Treaty of Versailles. The League was possibly weak from the start, especially without America, and its organisational system meant that it took too long for major decisions to be made. As a result, other countries saw that the League was weak and had no power and influence. The major powers saw that if they wanted something, the Leagues "weapons" of sanctions were ineffective and its condemnation insufficient, particularly without the USA. It was also pointless to use violence to stop violence. It is therefore not surprising; that the league did have some failures and that dictators were able to come to power. It was however; the first international organisation of any sort attempted and was bound to have problems at the start. Though the League did eventually disband it did lead to the formation and growth of other formal international organizations such as the Red Cross, Hague Conferences and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. These in turn led to significant improvements in international co-operation, and the eventual formation of the United Nations (in June of 1945) based on the League, still in existence today. Katie Taylor 11H October 5th, 03 ...read more.

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