LofN - The Basics
Key Syllabus Questions
To what extent was the League of Nations a success?
What were the aims, strengths and weaknesses of the organisation? Successes and failures of peacekeeping during the 1920’s
The agencies of the League
What was the impact of the Great Depression?
Failures of the League during the 1930’s – Manchuria and Abyssinia
Intrinsic problems with the League - always very likely to fail!
Confused aims Fourteen Points (Jan 1918) - President Wilson had called for ‘a general association of nations...for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.’ Part of TofV so LofN to protect the terms of that Treaty. Wilson = It ‘can arbitrate and correct mistakes’ in the treaties. Oversaw mandates and treatment of minorities and international zones like Danzig, Saar etc… Weak enforcement French wanted the League to have its own military forces Britain and America did not. Covenant of the League (article 16) = no member of the League had to go to war in defence of the Covenant. International court (without a way of enforcing rulings) and then moral pressure and sanctions the only real measures against war. Article 8 encouraged disarmament. (Economic cooperation and improvement of living and working conditions around the world other aims). No clause on racial equality. Weak structure Leader of the League = British diplomat, Sir Eric Drummond. The lack of an inspiring figurehead with world recognition was a serious blow. Council (BR, Fr, It and Japan + 4 non-permanent members) has veto for each member. Assembly met once a year and veto for each member Weak membership Communist Russia and Germany excluded = ‘Victor’s Club’ + US rejects TofV 19th Nov 1919. Even Br and Fr (without much money + Imperial overstretch) kept other diplomatic avenues and alliances going as realise LofN weak.
League in 1920’s - even in the 1920’s with prosperity - not very succesful Successes
Border Disputes Upper Silesia = Germany v Poland solved by plebiscite and region divided. Aaland Islands, = Finland would get the islands Sweden accepted the decision. 1924 Mosul claimed by Turkey but accepts with LofN says that Iraq (British) keeps it. 1925 Greek invades Bulgaria after incident and Greece backs down. Agencies of the League 400,000 refugees resettled post WWI. International Labour Organisation, Health Committee, international highway code Opposition to slave trading Drug trafficking and prostitution were also attacked by the League. Loans for Austria in 1922 and Hungary in 1923 which were both saved from bankruptcy Failures
Peacefulness of the 1920’s was largely due to the general economic prosperity of the period. national self-interest unsurprisingly still took precedence for national leaders over the wider needs of the collective security of the League. Border Disputes Greeks were right when they complained that there was one rule for small states like them and another for larger states that the League was more reluctant to challenge. Poland v Lithuania – themselves newly-created after the war. 1920 a Polish army recaptured Vilna. Lithuania appealed for help but none came and Lithuania seized Memel from Germany. Corfu crisis Italian General ambushed and killed on the Greek border and Mussloni invaded and occupied Corfu leading to the death of 15 people. Greece appealed to the League and on 7th September Mussolini’s actions were condemned although it was suggested that Greece should pay compensation to Italy if Tellini’s killers were found. Mussolini accepted this at first, but he then persuaded the Conference of Ambassadors the Ambassadors of Britain, France, Italy and Japan to change the ruling . Greece was now forced to apologise and pay compensation to Italy immediately. Mussolini was able to withdraw from Italy on 27th September boasting of a great triumph International Peace Agreements...
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