Organisation of the League of Nations

Main three parts of the League, their purposes and the weaknesses of the organisation of the League

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  • League of Nations
    • Weaknesses of the League's Organisation
      • League was not fully supported as it was based on enforcing the Treaty of Versailles
        • Germany hated the Treaty; Japan and Italy disliked parts
      • Did not have many ways to enforce their rules
        • Had no army
        • Only 'weapons' were economic sanctions and moral condemnation
      • Struggled to make decisions
        • All decisions had to be unanimous
        • All permanent members had a veto
      • Not all powerful countries were members
        • Congress never voted to join, even though US President Wilson wanted a League
      • Ran on very little money
        • Ran on just over $4 million a year
    • League Agencies
      • International Labour Organisation
        • Gave conventions to international governments
        • Fought over issues about hours of work, female rights and the ending of child labour
        • Restricted lead being added to paint
        • Restricted child working hours to 8 hours in properly ventilated rooms in the Persian carpet industry
      • Slavery Commission
        • Ended slavery in the mandates
        • Aimed to eradicate slavery and forced prostitution
        • Made Abyssinia end slavery as a condition for League membership
        • Helped many countries in Asia and the Middle East abolish slavery
      • Commission for Refugees
        • Oversaw the return of refugees to their home and resettlement where necessary
        • Helped 425,000 people return home after WW1
        • Set up camps, taught refugees new skills and gave them a Nansen passport as a form of ID
        • Led by Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen
      • The Health Organisation
        • Provided countries outside the League with information on public health
        • Reduced leprosy, malaria and yellow fever
        • Helped the USSR in a typhus epidemic in the 1920s
        • Developed vaccines for tetanus and tuberculosis
    • Organisation
      • Secretariat
        • Administration numbering 700 officials
        • Worked all year round
        • Carried out the Council's decisions
      • Assembly
        • Met once a year
        • Each member had one vote in the Assembly
        • Admitted new members and temporary Council members
        • Assembly meetings were broadcast internationally
        • Meant to put moral pressure on world leaders
      • Council
        • Made decisions and took action based on a unanimous decision
        • Met four times a year, more often in crises
        • Included permanent and non-permanent members
        • Original permanent members were Britain, France, Italy and Japan
  • Weaknesses of the League's Organisation
    • League was not fully supported as it was based on enforcing the Treaty of Versailles
      • Germany hated the Treaty; Japan and Italy disliked parts
    • Did not have many ways to enforce their rules
      • Had no army
      • Only 'weapons' were economic sanctions and moral condemnation
    • Struggled to make decisions
      • All decisions had to be unanimous
      • All permanent members had a veto
    • Not all powerful countries were members
      • Congress never voted to join, even though US President Wilson wanted a League
    • Ran on very little money
      • Ran on just over $4 million a year

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