Why Did the League of Nations Fail?

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The main reasons that the League of Nations was originally set up was to prevent war, encourage disarmament and as a way to settle international disputes through negotiation and arbitration. As stated by Wilson, 'This treaty is nothing less than an organization of liberty and mercy for the world' (Foley 1969:129) The intentions of the League appealed to many countries, especially as they were still raw from the war and favourable towards pacifism. With the benefit of hind-sight it is easy to criticise the actions taken which led to the eventual failure of the League, however it is of much importance to establish the significance of the concepts that they initially determined. It is also essential to understand the different ways in which the whole ideology of democratic peace is perceived by idealists and in contrast realists, in order to evaluate and grasp the fundamental organisation of the League and varying perspectives on it's failure and on it's formation. Although the intentions were arguably credible to begin with, the numerous weaknesses which crippled the League from the very start were hugely detrimental to the impact and prestige of the League. The failure to join by the U.S.A, the refusal to join by communist Russia and Germany being prohibited from joining vastly undermined the authority and strength of the League. Furthermore, 'the League of Nations was shattered by insoluble conflicts between the major imperialist powers' (North, 2002) The inability of the main powers to come to decisions invalidated the organisation and contributed towards the deterioration of the League. 'It has become common to argue that the League system of collective security failed only because the powers lacked faith in the principle' (Stromberg 1956:250-263) However, other factors which were consequential in it's breakdown were, the general structure of the League and poor organisation, the World Depression to a certain extent and the general lack of enthusiasm reflected...
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