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Why did the League of Nations fail in the 1930's?

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Introduction

History Essay Why did the League of Nations fail in the 1930's? The League of Nations was set up by Woodrow Wilson in the 1920's as many ordinary people felt a strong desire to find a peaceful way of solving disputes between nations. It had many successes like settling border disputes such as Upper Silesia and Aaland Islands both in 1921 and failures such as Vilna in 1920. Altogether, there were many reasons why the League of Nations failed. In this essay I am going to look at these reasons, which are the treaties it had to uphold were seen as unfair, the USA and other important countries were absent, economic sanctions didn't work, lack of troops, the self-interest of leading members and finally decisions were made too slowly. The first failure of the League was because it was destined to support the peace treaties as they had originally created the League. In time, however, the Treaty of Versailles seemed unfair to many British people and later went on to undermine the purpose of the League as some of the terms came across as harsh and unjust so needed changing. In fact, unknown to the French the British allowed Germany to build up its navy as long as it stayed under 35% of the size of the British navy by signing an agreement with them. ...read more.

Middle

The League depended upon Britain and France to give firm support in times of crisis. When a conflict actually arrived neither the British nor the French governments were prepared to drop their own interests to support the League. Both countries had other priorities. British politicians were more interested in rebuilding British trade and holding onto the British Empire and wanted to stay clear of European conflicts. Also Britain was suffering from high unemployment and when its own economy was suffering, wasn't willing to get involved by sorting out international disputes. Frances main concern was Germany and keeping it down. Its worry was that as the League didn't have its own army it would be too weak to protect France from its powerful neighbour German. Nor did France think Britain would send in an army for support. Its next priority was in order to strengthen its position against Germany; France was prepared to bypass the League if it felt it was necessary. France began building a series of frontier defences on its borders with Germany as it was worried about the changing situation in Germany. The League was supposed to act quickly and with determination when a crisis occurred. Yet in lots of cases the League didn't meet frequently and therefore a long time was taken before a decision was reached. ...read more.

Conclusion

Whereas as many British leaders thought the best League would be one that met in emergencies and altogether, just be a simple organisation. France on the other hand planned for a strong League with its own army, which could have been in self defence against Germany, just in case they did rebuild their armies etc. and wanted war with France. After The Manchurian Crisis it was too clear to people like Mussolini and Hitler, that the League had no real way off stopping them and so altogether were powerless. If the League had had its own army I think it would have worked much more efficiently, as countries wouldn't want to risk war with the Leagues army. Also, the economic sanctions could have been more effective if they had met more frequently, to actually sort them out and not keep delaying decisions all the time. Altogether I think the League was a good idea and way of getting the countries to sort out their problems in other ways rather than war, put when it came to getting them to do what the League said to sort out their problem, they had nothing to enforce their decision, so it became the countries choice on whether it wanted to do what the League said or not. In the cases of Hitler and Mussolini they didn't because they knew the League wouldn't actually put barriers in their way, just words. ...read more.

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