To what extent was the League of Nations successful in the 1920s?
The League of Nations was first created in 1919 after the end of World War 1 with the sole purpose of preventing any future wars. It was set up as an international police force to try and keep the peace around the world by preventing conflicts and encouraging countries to co-operate. The Leagues main aims were: To discourage aggression from any nation, To encourage countries to co-operate, especially in Business and trade, To encourage nations to disarm and To improve the living and working conditions for everybody in all parts of the world. But how successful was the League of Nations in comparison to these aims?
The main aim of the League was to discourage aggression form any nation in the hope of preventing any further wars by keeping the world a peaceful place. An example of the League trying to achieve this was the Aaland Islands in 1921. Both Sweden and Finland wanted control of the Aaland Islands which were in between the countries. Both countries were threatening to fight for them which could have expanded into a full blown war because of countries alliances with other countries, like a chain reaction. However luckily the League of Nations stepped in and made the decision that Finland should have the Islands, Both countries accepted the ruling and war was avoided. However not all of the Leagues border disputes ended so well, for example Vilna in 1920. Poland and Lithuania were two new states created by post-war treaties, Vilna was the capital of Lithuania but its population was largely polish. In 1920 a Polish army took over it. Lithuania appealed to the League as they were both members of the League. Even after the League protesting to Poland they wouldn’t back down. The League should have sent troops out to sort out the issues in Vilna but France didn’t want to upset Poland and Britain wouldn’t act alone. In the end the League did nothing and Poland kept Vilna. This shows how weak the League truly was as they couldn’t force countries to follow their rulings and it was easy for Poland to just say no. It also shows that the countries in the League didn’t care much about the Leagues actions and clearly put alliances above it. I think the League succeeded more than they failed in discouraging aggression from any nations because although not every border dispute was solved, the majority were and the world became a safer place as a result.