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Which factor contributed more to the weakness of the League of Nations, its membership or its organisation and peacekeeping powers?

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Introduction

´╗┐Which factor contributed more to the weakness of the League of Nations, its membership or its organisation and peacekeeping powers? Both factors contributed to the weakness of the League of Nations. Firstly, membership was one of the major weakness of the League, as the two most powerful nations, America and USSR did not join the League. This forced Britain and France to lead the League when they did not want to join in the first place. Because of the lack of committment, it was foreseeable that they would not put the interest of the League before their self interest in times of crisis. Therefore it was not surprising to see that they did not try hard (i.e. economic sanction was not imposed) to stop Japan from taking Manchuria from China as they were struggling in the Depression at that time and they had no interest in Manchuria, especially when France was playing close attention to the rise of Hitler in Germany. The reactions were similar when Italy invaded Abyssinia (i.e. Britain and France did not closethe Suez Canal and stop Italy from transporting weapons to Africa ) ...read more.

Middle

But the organisation and peacekeeping powers of the League of Nations was also an important reason for the weakness of the League. First of all, the League did not have an army of its own and had to rely on members to donate troops in times of crisis. This undermined its power against aggression as potential aggressors were less afraid of the military sanction of the League, since individual countries might not be willing to donate troops. If no country donate troops, then military force could not be carried out at all, for example, even leading members like Britain and France refused to donate troops in the Manchurian crisis as they were at the height of Depression and the distance to China was too far; so no military force could be carried out. They also refused to use their colonial troops in Africa against Italy out of concerns of self interest. Therefore no military force was imposed again. But in fact the peacekeeping power of the League relied too much on the goodwill of the members in the first place. ...read more.

Conclusion

Having America and USSR in the League could at least, to some degree, make up for the weakness of the League not having its own army and the Court not having the power to enforce decisions as they could also offer a lot of resources (i.e. money and military) to the League. This could make the aggressors less likely to invade other countries. This is because both economic sanctions and military force would be easier to carry out as America and USSR were major trading partners of many countries and not many countries could afford fighting with them. Moreover, self interest, one of the root causes for the failure of the League, could be reduced as the committment and goodwill of the members were likely to be increased if America and USSR joined. Britain and France would feel less ?forced? to take the lead and there would be a higher hope for the League to succeed, so members might be more willing to sacrifice, increasing the speed of the decision-making processes. This makes the problems with membership more important than the organization and peacekeeping powers because economic sanctions and military force were, arguably, the most important weapons the League had to defend collective security. ...read more.

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