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Weaknesses of League of Nations

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Why did the League of Nations fail to achieve its aims? To begin with, one major weakness of the league was its inability or failure to work by their principles. Self-determination a core principle in their reason for existence was practised. This is apparent in the example of Germany and Poland wanting Upper Silesia. Even though the majority of the population in a plebiscite showed that they wanted to be with Germany, the League of Nations did not allow this to happen. They split Upper Silesia into two instead. This angered many Germans as they were of the opinion that they had been denied self-determination. This caused much distrust and animosity towards the league as they had evidently not followed their own principle. They were seen as hypocrites and these negative emotions being felt towards them resulted in people being less willing to work with or obey the league. ...read more.


For example, when Italy attacked Abyssinia in 1935, the League of Nations did not use those sanctions to force Italy to back down as B retain and France were afraid of provoking Italy into allying with Germany. Thus, we can see that failure to exercise their authority properly was a major weakness as it allowed aggressors to get their way. Also, the League of Nations lacked the military forces. This was a weakness and it is patent in the example of Italy against Greece over the Corfu. The league could not do anything to remove Italy as they had no military forces to do so. Thus, this became a weakness as other countries no longer cared about the League of Nations as they know that the League of Nations would not and could not use force against them. Next, the membership factor of the League of Nations was another weakness. ...read more.


The constant shift in members made the League unstable and weak as the members could just quit when they were not willing to obey the League and just simply join back when they will. Lastly, the League of Nations was also weak because its leading members were preoccupied with protecting their own interests. This was clearly seen when Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931. All the League did was to send the Lytton Commission and morally condemned Japan. As seen above, Japan walked out of the conference and completed the conquest of Manchuria. The question of economic sanction was never raised because the Great Depression had already damaged worlds trade and Britain and France were themselves having serious economic problems. They were reluctant to impose a trade boycott of Japan as it would certainly affect them economically. Therefore, the desire of member countries to preserve their own self interests weakened the League since it meant that the League lack strong support and commitment from its member. ...read more.

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