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

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Introduction

Why did the League of Nations fail in the 1930s? Technically, the League of Nations was still active until the end of the Second World War. However, by 1935 it was clear it could no longer perform its main role - that of keeping peace. Mostly, and ironically, it seems the failures of the League came from the countries that were involved in the League. " it was not the League which failed. It was not its principles which were found wanting. It was the nations which neglected it. It was the Governments which abandoned it." There was no sense of an International community as Wilson had seen in his vision when he created the League. Nor was there a sense of the countries involved being willing to put themselves into a position to protect one another. Most were either in the League to protect themselves or to aid them in returning to their financial and economical positions they were in before the war. A perfect example of this was Britain and France. The League of Nations depended largely on the support of Britain and France, but these countries were too nationalistic. ...read more.

Middle

This was because of: The Great Depression * Its failure to reach any agreement about disarmament * Aggressive policies by Japan in Manchuria, and by Itlay in Abyssinia. * The aggressive policies of Hitler's Germany The failures of the league in the 1920s contributed to the undermining of the league in the1930s. 1) The self-interest of leading members The league depended on Britain and France to provide firm support of times of crisis. When conflicts occurred, however, neither the French nor the British government was prepared to abandon its own self-interest to support the League. 2) The USA and other leading countries were absent. Germany was not a member until 1926 and left in 1933. The USSR did not join until 1934, whilst Japan left in 1933 and Italy left in 1937. The USa was never a member of the League of Nations. Therefore, because of the lack of support of the major powers, the League lacked authority and economical sanction were not very effective. It was a great shock and disappointment for the rest of the world when the American people voted for a 'policy of isolation', and despite the campaigning of Woodrow Wilson, they had decided not to join the League of Nations. ...read more.

Conclusion

In time, however, it became apparent that some of the terms of those peace treaties were harsh and unjust and needed amending. This further undermined the League. 6) Decisions were slow When a crisis occurred, The League was supposed to act quickly and with determination. In many cases however, the League met too infrequently and took too long to make decisions. The need for all members to agree on a course of action undermined the strength of the League. The League also failed because there was a lack of unity between Britain and France. They often disagreed and they did not trust each other. With this and the fact decisions had to be unanimous made it almost impossible for the League to make a decision. No one, it seemed, was prepared to go to war in order to keep the peace. The League's credibility as a peacekeeper was damaged beyond repair. Force and aggression had clearly triumphed again. The world now seemed a much less secure place and certain states were encouraged to pursue aggressive policies to achieve their aims. This weakened the determination of Britain and France to resist them. M.Assem Bizrah 11VM ...read more.

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