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Why did the league fail?

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Why did the league fail? The League of Nations failed in its attempt to prevent a second world war predominantly because of design weaknesses. The League lacked the presence of the three most powerful nations in the USA, Germany and the USSR, resulting in a serious blow to the prestige and muscle power of the league. Also as a result of the non-existent three world powers, the LoN was lead by two second rate powers in France and Britain who were still influenced by strong nationalistic emotions, which compromised the League's internationalistic ideals. The League of Nations did not have an army to call its own, which led to decision making taking large amounts of time and becoming ineffective. The main form of enforcing decisions was by sanctions which often didn't work or were ineffective. The league failed to fulfill its goals because it lacked the muscle power of the USA, USSR and Germany. ...read more.


Because both Britain and France were second rate powers and still struggling to rebuild after the costs of WW1, they were heavily influenced by nationalism. The League of Nations became an opportunity for these two countries to improve their own and often did so. Often Britain and France put their own interests ahead of the League's, compromising the purpose of the organisation. This self interest wasn't always shown by Britain and France, but also by other members of the league. For example when sanctions were imposed on Abyssinia only three out of the six members carried out the punishment, making one of the Leagues only forms of enforcing decisions, ineffective. Both Britain and France highlighted their self interest with their reluctance to supply troops to the league. The League of Nations had no army which gave it no effective means of enforcing decisions on countries opposed to the League. ...read more.


Sanctions required all member nations to be in agreement on major issues which often wasn't the case. In Abyssinia only three out of the six member nations carried out the sanctions enforced on Italy. If sanctions were imposed on a nation they would still be free trade with other non-member nations which frequently happened. The largest power in the world at the time wasn't a member nation and had a large amount of raw materials in which a member country, even with sanctions imposed on them, could trade freely with. The League of Nations failed because of many design weaknesses, but was primarily ineffective because it lacked the prestige and influence of the USA. Without the USA, the league relied too heavily on Britain and France who were in the league for their own country's interests. Without the USA member countries could trade freely with them even when sanctions were imposed. No US meant that there was no army as Britain and France were reluctant to supply troops, which ultimately led to ineffective sanctions and the failure of the league. ...read more.

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