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League of Nations -aims, achievements and weaknesses.

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History Homework 9/5/11 By Benjamin Bloch a) The main aims of the League of Nations were to maintain peace, to encourage security for all nations, to improve living and working conditions worldwide, to encourage disarmament and to encourage international cooperation, especially in trade. b) The structure of the League of Nations weakened it in many ways. First of all, the League took a lot of time to take action. The fact that all decisions had to be unanimous very much slowed down the process of making the decision and putting into effect the consequent action (if required). Not all countries were members. Powerful and influential countries such as the USA were never in the League, resulting in the League lacking vital support from a very powerful nation. The system of voting rights was also slow. The fact that every country had equal voting rights made important decisions hard to make when nations disagreed with each other. ...read more.


Another peacefully resolved conflict was that of Upper Silesia in 1921. The League of Nations helped organize a plebiscite (a referendum) to determine whether Upper Silesia should belong to Poland or Germany. Seven hundred thousand people voted to belong to Germany and five hundred thousand people voted to belong to Poland. Both countries accepted the decision organized by the League of Nations. The League also had many humanitarian organizations working successfully to abolish slavery, improve working conditions, help refugees to get home and cure serious diseases. These instances were all successes, but there were many more failures. In 1932, Japan invaded Manchuria, which was part of China, for the resources, needed due to economic depression. China then appealed to the League of Nations for help. It took a year, until February 1933, to file a report and for a decision to be made. The most the League could do was condemn Japan. Trade restrictions were ineffective as Japan could just trade with the USA. ...read more.


Another time, when Italy invaded Abyssinia in October 1935. The League imposed sanctions on Italy, but as none of these included oil, Italy could sufficiently run. America even sent more oil to Italy. This was a catastrophe for the League. Generally, the League of Nations was more of a failure than a success. The League lacked many important factors, such as the support of the USA and an army of it's own. Their decision making processes were slow, and when a decision was made, they had little to no means of punishing a country or putting into effect a decision. This resulted in many failures. However, when the system went as it should, the outcome was as intended, as in the Aaland Islands. The League also had many committees that solved many problems such as slavery and diseases. The League of Nations was therefore a success in issues less directly linked to specific countries, but when involved in specific disputes, the League lacked the power to make a significant difference. ...read more.

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