The League of Nations Revision
FOUR Aims of the League [memory word: SIDE]
- Stop war – (Article 10 of the Covenant = ‘collective security’)
- Improve people's lives and Jobs – Encourage co-operation in trade/ Economic and social agencies.
- Enforce the Treaty of Versailles
Membership of the League of Nations
- 42 countries joined at the start. By the 1930s this had risen to 60.
- May 1920, the US Senate voted against Versailles.
- The USSR did not join the League. In 1919 it set up the Comintern to cause revolution.
- Germany was not allowed to join the League as a punishment for causing WWI.
- The leading members were Britain and France, helped by Japan and Italy.
The Structure of the League [memory word: SCACHIRMS]
secretariat: supposed to co-ordinate the different functions of the League/ too few secretaries to do the work - slow and inefficient
Council: met 4-5 times a year/ 5 permanent members - Br, Fr, It, Jap & Ger - with a veto.
Assembly: the League’s main meeting, held once a year/ decisions only by unanimous vote
This is a preview of the whole essay
+ the Committees: Court of international justice/ Health committee/ International labour organization/ Refugees committee/ Mandates commission/ Slavery commission
ALSO Conference of ambassadors (not really part of the League's organisation).
Three Strengths of the League [memory Word: SUM]
- Set up by the Treaty of Versailles
- Universal membership, all of which had signed the Covenant promising to support the League.
- Means of Influence – Covenant (26 promises which every member agreed to follow)/ Moral condemnation (public opinion)/ Arbitration (act as a referee)/ Sanctions (refuse to trade)/ Military Force (send an army)/ ‘Community of Power’ (acting together).
Six Successes of the League in the 1920s [memory word: SAMBOK]
- Silesia, 1921 – Germany and Poland agreed to paritiion after a plebiscite.
- Aaland Islands, 1921 – said the islands should belong to Finland; Sweden and Finland agreed.
- Mosul, 1924 – the Turks demanded Mosul, Iraq. The League supported Iraq; Turkey agreed.
- Bulgaria, 1925 – Greece invaded Bulgaria, but withdrew when Bulgaria appealed to the League.
- Other: 400,000 Prisoners of War repatriated/ Turkish refugee camps (1922)/ Leprosy/ Drugs companies closed down/ Attacked slave owners in Sierra Leone and Burma/ Economic advice to Austria and Hungary
- Kellogg-Briand Pact, 1928 – signed by 23 nations and supported by 65, to outlaw war.
six failures of the league in the 1920s [memory word: vimcod]
- Vilna, 1920 – Poland refused the League orders to withdraw from Vilna.
- Invasion of the Ruhr, 1923 – by France; the League was not even consulted, and Britain disagreed.
- Memel, 1923 – The League told Lithuania to leave, but the Conference of Ambassadors agreed.
- Corfu, 1923 – General Tellini murdered, so Italy occupied Corfu. The Conference of Ambassadors overruled the League’s order to Mussolini to leave – forced Greece to pay compensation to Italy.
- Other Treaties: Washington , 1921/ Dawes Plan, 1924/ Locarno Pact, 1925/ The Geneva Protocol, 1924 (to support the League of Nations) failed because Britain refused to sign it
- Disarmament – Britain objected to the 1923 conference/ 1932-1934 conference was wrecked when Hitler demanded parity with France.
Two Failures of the League in the 1930s
- Manchuria, 1931: The League sent officials (took a year)/ voted that Japan return Manchuria (Feb 1933 - Japan resigned from the League)/ could not agree economic sanctions or arms sales ban.
- Abyssinia, 1935: Mussolini invaded (October 1935) Haile Selassie’s Abyssinia/ Britain and France secretly agreed to give Abyssinia to Italy (Hoare-Laval Pact, 1935)/ The League tried sanctions on arms sales, rubber and metals, but they did not close the Suez Canal or ban oil sales.
- These failures killed the League – Mussolini gained prestige/ Britain, France and the League were weakened - countries decided it was a ‘sham’, left and began to prepare for war instead.
Eight Reasons the League Failed [memory word: BUSTED UP]
- Britain and France – were not prepared to use their armies and had other priorities.
- USA, USSR and Germany – USA was never a member/ USSR not until 1934/ Germany not until 1926, and Hitler left the League in 1933.
- Structure – its organisation [SCACHIRMS] was cumbersome so decisions were very slow.
- Treaty of Versailles set up the League – so it was hated because the Treaty was hateful.
- Economic Depression – countries acted to save their own interests, and ignored the League.
- Dictators – dictators like Mussolini and Hitler would not compromise.
- Unsuccessful – the League’s failures damaged its reputation, so members left/ignored it.
- Powerless: moral condemnation was just ignored by powerful nations/ the League had no armies/ people found ways round sanctions.