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What Were the Main Criticisms of the League of Nations and To What Extent Were the Criticisms Justified?

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Introduction

WHAT WERE THE MAIN CRITICISMS OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS AND TO WHAT EXTENT WERE THE CRITICISMS JUSTIFIED? In a time where military action was one of the greatest methods used to resolve issues and disputes between nations, it is not surprising that the idea of international cooperation was a frequently discussed concept. Prior to the League of Nations, there had been other attempts at achieving international peace such as The Hague Conferences (1899 and 1907) and the International Red Cross (est.1864). The League of Nations was established in 1920 to preserve peace and improve the living conditions of people globally. It was an organization originally promoted by US President Woodrow Wilson, which involved a total of sixty-three countries of which only twenty-eight remained in the League for its entire existence. There was great support for a World League following the First World War due to the magnitude of destruction caused by the War. Furthermore, the idea that war could be prevented through alternative measures to military action also led to the formation of the League. Over the twenty-six year lifespan of the League of Nations, there were many events which displayed the weaknesses of the League, and led to the formation of many criticisms of the organization. ...read more.

Middle

A dispute over the Aaland Islands in 1921 between Finland and Sweden was successfully resolved by the League of Nations. Both countries had made claim for the islands, which were situated between the two nations. The League had decided the islands were to go to Finland, and both countries willingly accepted this decision. This success of the League was settled quickly and without conflict. The League also was responsible for many successes at a social level. They created many organizations such as the Health Commission and the International Labour Office. The Health Commission started a campaign to eliminate leprosy, which was seen successful. The League also was involved in many third world countries, with a fresh water campaign, women and child slave labour campaign and assistance in drug addiction. The League of Nations was the first organization to confront social problems, which in itself was seen as a positive result of the League, because it increased the awareness of many social issues. The League was unarguably very successful in the social concerns they challenged. The League was greatly mocked for its lack of cooperation and participation among its member nations, and criticized for not including a few essential countries. Lack of cooperation is evident in both the Invasion of the Ruhr and Italy's conquest of Abyssinia. ...read more.

Conclusion

A second fundamental principle of the League was that nations would have to put the interests of the organization ahead of national self-interest. During Italy's conquest of Abyssinia, the League would only go to the extent of implementing sanctions on Italy. Had they closed the Suez Canal, they would have perhaps greatly stifled Italy's military abilities, however because it was not in the best interests of Britain and France to close the Canal, the League could not act to the best of their ability in Abyssinia. Both of these key principles of the League are justifiably too idealistic, because it is clearly evident within the history of the institute that these views were rather impractical. Therefore, criticizing the League as having a too idealistic platform is to a great extent justifiable. The League of Nations has been a commonly criticized organization, of which it's membership and cooperation, its power and capacity to deal with situations, and its idealistic platform are all analyzed and judged. For the reasons above, being that the League was both somewhat triumphant and unsuccessful in the challenges it assumed throughout its existence, many of the criticisms of the League can only be justified to a certain extent. Although for the most part valid, the previously presented criticisms are not entirely justifiable. ...read more.

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