Explain why the league failed to deal with the Manchuria and Abyssinia Crises in the 1920/30s
The 1920s showed the League of Nations to be a weak force when dealing with the problems of bigger countries, as shown by the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and the Italian invasion of Abyssinia. The two main countries in the league were more concerned about their own interests rather than trying to uphold the morals of the League, and actions that were decided were disrupted by the fact that the League could not agree what actions to take. Most importantly, the absence of the USA meant that the League was made useless.
The fact that the USA was not in the League is the most important reason for the failure of the League in dealing with both crises. Both Italy and Japan knew that as the USA was not in the League, any sanctions that were imposed on them by the League were useless as the goods that were sanctioned could be easily obtained from the USA as the USA did not have to follow the rules of the sanctions. The fact that the countries could still get goods from the USA meant that in many cases the countries in the League themselves did not impose the sanctions decided in order to try to benefit economically as there was no disadvantage to doing so, especially the two dominating countries in the League Britain and France.
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Out of the remaining countries that were in the League Britain and France were the two dominating countries. The fact that both these countries were more interested about their own problems rather than the problems the League was supposed to deal with showed another weakness of the League in dealing with the two crises. One example of this is the Hoare-Laval pact, an attempt by Britain and France to try to secure Mussolini as their ally against Hitler, without permission from the League. The fact that this was organised without the League’s knowledge showed that bigger countries were willing to ignore the process of the League, and did not care what implications there would be as long as they were able to get what they wanted. The Hoare-Laval pact rendered the League of Nations useless in dealing with the Abyssinia crisis as it showed the two dominating countries refusing to act using the League and taking matters into their own hands without justification.
The fact that the dominating countries were self-interested lead to the failure of the League in dealing with the crises. This made the League slow in deciding what actions to take against Japan with Manchuria where the Lytton report took over a year, and did not show any conclusive results. Sanctions could not be decided against Italy, and this also lead to the Suez Canal being left open for Italy to use in their attacks. Both crises showed the League to be slow and inefficient in dealing with crises involving large countries such as Japan and Italy.
Overall the most important reason for the League’s failure to deal with the Manchuria and Abyssinia crises is the fact that the USA was not present in the League, leaving the remaining dominant countries to use the League in a self-interested way, and causing the League to be slow in dealing with both of the crises, and being unable to deal with the crises effectively.