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To what extent was the economic crash of 1929, and the depression which followed, damaging to the League?

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Introduction

To what extent was the economic crash of 1929, and the depression which followed, damaging to the League? The economic problems caused by the crash were worldwide and, as well as damaging the trade and industry of all countries, it affected relations between countries and led to important political changes within countries. People were more willing to accept right-wing, dictatorial governments who told them their country was superior and that it was fine for them to take what they wanted by force. Although not necessarily the truth, this was the kind of thing people wanted to hear in the circumstances. Between 1929 and 1939, 25 countries became dictatorships because of this. The most significant political change occurred in Germany - after America called in all its loans to Germany so they could sort out their own economic problems, German industry collapsed and unemployment and poverty severely crippled the German community. ...read more.

Middle

Without the trade Japan couldn't feed its people and so the army leaders agreed that the solution to Japan's problems was to build up its empire by force. The opportunity to do this presented itself in the form of Manchuria which they invaded in 1931 as retaliation for the Chinese supposedly sabotaging the South Manchurian Railway (which was controlled by the Japanese army). China appealed to the League who, after a considerable amount of time, agreed that Japan's actions were unlawful but when ordered to leave China, Japan withdrew from the League. At the same time, Mussolini was also trying to build an empire, to draw attention away from the difficulties the Italian government were facing by adopting a more aggressive, nationalistic foreign policy, and invaded Abyssinia. ...read more.

Conclusion

Due to all this, the League began to crumble and in 1932, in the middle of the Manchurian crisis, British elder statesman Sir Austen Chamberlain said, "...I was sad to find everyone [at the League] so dejected. The Assembly was a dead thing. The Council was without confidence in itself..." The whole point of the League and most of its aims were being destroyed - self-interest ruined the ideas of international co-operation, disarmament and international peace - and without the power or status of countries like Japan or Italy, the League had become nothing more than an organisation that was, according to British diplomat Harold Nicholson, "...the laughing stock of Europe." ?? ?? ?? ?? Gabbi Shields L5O ...read more.

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