• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The League of Nations: Its achievements and its failures

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐The League of Nations: Its Achievements and its failures 1. The League of Nation?s Achievements in the 1920s: The treaties that were signed at the Paris Peace Conference involved a lot creating new states and altering borders of other existing states. But drawing a line on a map was easier than working out where the borders were on the actual ground. Communities were being split, and the League was to deal with these border disputes. Though there was the Conference of Ambassadors to help out when there was too much work for the League, which there was from the start. It had been set up to deal with problems that would arise from the post-war treaties, and consisted of the leading politicians of Britain, France and Italy, who were also main members of the League. The first major border dispute was Vilna, in 1920: Poland and Lithuania were two of the new states that the Paris Peace Conference treaties created. Vilna was the capital of Lithuania, but most of its population was Polish. So a private Polish army simply took it over. Lithuania then appealed for help. This was the first major dispute the League had faced. Both countries were members of the League. Poland was clearly the aggressor in all of this, though many people could understand the reasons behind the aggression itself. The League told Poland off, but Poland ignored it and did not withdraw. The League was stuck. If it had followed the Covenant, then it would have sent French and British troops and force the Poles out of Vilna. But it did not: France did not want to upset Poland, seeing it as a potential ally against Germany in the future, and Britain refused to act alone and send troops to the other side of Europe. So in the end the League did nothing and the Poles got to keep Vilna. ...read more.


The civilian government in Japan ordered the Japanese army to withdraw, but the instructions were ignored. It became clear that the Japanese army and not the civilian government was in control of Japanese foreign policy.China appealed to the League of Nations, but Japan claimed it was not invading as an aggressor, but invading to settle a local difficulty. The Japanese argued that they hat to invade in self-defense to keep peace in the area as China was in such a state of anarchy. Japan was a leading member of the League. This was a serious test for it. There was a long and frustrating delay during which the Leaugue representatives sailed around the world to deal with the crisis and make a report.was only by September 1932 that they presented it. It said that Japan had acted unlawfully and that Manchuria should be returned to China or that it should be governed by League. Instead, in February 1933, Japan did the opposite: it announced that it was to invade more of China in ?self-defense?. The report from the League?s officials was approved on the 24th of February with 42 votes to 1 in the Assembly. Only Japan had voted against it. In response to the insult, Japan left the league on the 27th of March, and the next week invaded Jehol. The League was powerless. Economic sanctions would be meaningless without the USA, Japan?s main trading partner. Also, Britain was more intent on keeping good relations with Japan rather than agreeing on sanctions. The League also discussed banning arms sales with Japan but none of the members could even agree on that. They were worried that Japan might retaliate and the war would escalate. And the idea of either Britain or France using their navies or armies against Japan was not even brought up. Only the USA or the USSR would have had the resources to remove the Japanese by force from Manchuria, and they weren?t even members of the League. ...read more.


In December 1935, while sanctions were still taking place, the French and British Foreign Ministers, Laval and Hoare, were making a plan that aimed to give Mussolini two thirds of Abyssinia in exchange for calling off the invasion.But, details were leaked to the French press of the plan before it had been put forward. It proved disastrous for the League, Haile Selassie demanded an immediate League debate about it. It was seen as a blatant act of treachery against the league in both Britain and France. But the real damage was to the sanction discussions, which lost all momentum, further delaying the question about banning oil sales. In February the committee concluded that if they did stop oil sales to Italy, the Italian supply would dry up in 2 months, but it was too late by then: Mussolini had already taken over most of Abyssinia, and the Americans were even more disgusted with the dealings of the French and British than they had been before and blocked a move to support the League?s sanctions. American oil producers actually stepped up their exports to Italy. The final and fatal blow to the League came on the 7th of March 1936: Hitler marched his troops into the Rhineland, a direct violation of the Treaty of Versailles. Any hope of French support on the sanctions against Italy were now dead, as the French were now desperate to gain the support of Italy against Germany, and were prepared to give Abyssinia to Mussolini. Yet Italy continued to ignore the League?s orders and by May 1936 had taken the capital of Abyssinia. On the 2nd of May, Haile Selassie was forced into exile, and on the 9th, Mussolini formally annexed the entire country. The League watched all of this helplessly. Collective security had turned out to be an empty promise. The League of Nations had failed.All hopes of the British and French handling of the crisis strengthening their position against Hitler proved wrong. In November 1936, Mussolini and Hitler signed their own agreement called the Rome-Berlin Axis. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE International relations 1900-1939 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE International relations 1900-1939 essays

  1. Did the successes of the Vienna settlement ou tweigh its failures?

    perhaps even exceptionally forward minded, as had they conceded more to nationalism, it is very likely that this would have given the previously apathetic lower classes the clear aim for which to strive, causing popular rebellion, as opposed to the majority middle class rebellions that did occur.

  2. Why did it take so long for the League to make a decision over ...

    I think it's because of both of them, because if the members do not want to do something then it is straightly linked with the works that they are going to do. The league is POWERLESS.

  1. Why was the Abyssinian crisis a death blow to the league when the Manchurian ...

    There was no question of who was going to win. One of the main reasons for this was that the league was at least seen to do the right thing in the Manchurian crisis as they condemned Japan for invading and although they didn't do anything about it they did, in the end, came to the right decision.

  2. What Were the Main Criticisms of the League of Nations and To What Extent ...

    The League of Nations was also very successful in its social campaigns and both established many organizations and brought awareness of world problems. Thus, the League was greatly successful and competent at a social level. Nevertheless, since the League had many failures within its time it is to some extent

  1. Why did the League of Nations fail to keep peace in the 1930's?

    In September 1931 Japanese army claimed that the Chinese had sabotaged their railway and used this as the perfect excuse to invade. They threw out all the Chinese forces. The League at China's request immediately ordered the Japanese army to withdraw.

  2. What were the consequences of the failure of the league in the 1930s?

    This pact was known as 'The Stresa Pact'. The League began to come up with many different sanctions such as banning tin, rubber and metals. This was hardly going to affect Italy. The idea of banning oil was raised but only came effective when Italy was well in Abyssinia.

  1. How successful was the League of Nations in the 1920s.

    The vast majority of people did not want war as they had just suffered the horror of it first hand with World War One. With this willpower to avoid war the League of Nations should have been able to gain disarmament.

  2. Explain how the failure of collective security and German foreign policy goals and achievements ...

    The Abyssinian crisis was caused to Mussolini?s egoistic display to improve his reputation of invading a country with historic conflict. It was the second Italo-Abyssinian war. The paradox in the Abyssinian crisis was the dilemma of Mussolini being Hitler?s deterrent.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work