The Successes and Failures of the League of Nations

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During the 1920’s the League of Nations primary desire was to end war across all fronts and to promote international co-operation. Therefore the best criteria that can be used to classify a success, was whether war was avoided and a peaceful settlement formulated after a crisis between two or more nations.

Although this aim was the most important the league also tried to help economic problems in other countries. This applied to the economic collapse of Austria and Hungary between 1922-3. When Austria-Hungary faced bankruptcy the league organised loans for them and slowly they were able to begin economic recovery due to the League’s aid.

As stopping conflict was a priority for the league their first success was sorting out The Aaland Islands. These islands are near enough equal distant between Finland and Sweden. They had traditionally belonged to Finland but most of the islanders wanted to be governed by Sweden. Neither Sweden nor Finland could come to a decision as to who owned the islands and in 1921 they asked the League to adjudicate. The League’s decision was that they should remain with Finland but that no weapons should ever be kept there. Both countries accepted the decision and it remains in force to this day.

Their Second judgement fell when Upper Silesia was wanted by both Poland and Germany during 1921. The Treaty of Versailles had given the people of Upper Silesia the right to have a referendum on whether they wanted to be part of Germany or part of Poland. In this referendum, 700,000 voted for Germany and 500,000 for Poland. This close result resulted in rioting between those who expected Silesia to be made part of Germany and those who wanted to be part of Poland. The League was asked to settle this dispute. After a six-week inquiry, the League decided to split Upper Silesia between Germany and Poland. The League’s decision was accepted y both countries and by the people in Upper Silesia.

The League of Nations final settlement...
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