The League of Nations

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THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS: To What Extent was it a success?
Discourage aggression from any nation.
Encourage co-operation between countries, especially in business or trade.
Encourage nations to disarm.
Improve the living and working conditions of people in all places of the world.
To uphold the TOV.
Brainchild of Woodrow Wilson.
US, however, didn't join because the senate didn't ratify (make legal) the Treaty.
TOV ­ many German immigrants in the US, didn't want to fight Germany in the
first place, thing TOV is unfair ­ wanted no part in enforcing it.
Felt that they would be made into the world's policemen and would die in
foreign disputes ­ enough deaths in WWI, didn't want troops fighting abroad.
Economic cost ­ felt it would be huge ­ Isolationism had made them prosperous ­
didn't want to change.
Anti GB and French Empire ­ think LON would be used to defend them.
Not allowed to join until it proved it was a `peace loving country' ­ blamed for WWI.
Middle of a civil war ­ not sure whether to invite whites or reds.
When reds won they weren't invited because didn't want the spread of communism.
The Council:
Met about 5 times a year.
4 permanent members (GB, France, Italy, Japan) who had a veto and 4-9 temporary
Main role ­ sort out disputes between members.
If it isn't solved:
1. Moral Condemnation: tell the aggressor to stop.
2. Economic sanctions: stop the aggressor from doing trade with others in the League.
3. Military Force: armies could be used against the aggressor.
The Assembly:
One representative per country.
HQ in Geneva, Switzerland (neutral).
Can recommend action to the council ­ admitting new members, appointing temporary
members, budget of the League, etc.
Decisions had to be unanimous ­ things happened slowly.
Permanent Court of International Justice:
Judges from member countries.
Based in the Netherlands.
Brought cases such as border disputes to court.
BUT had no way of ensuring its rulings were obeyed.

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The Secretariat:
Kept records and prepared reports.
Covered areas such as health, disarmament and economic matters.
ILO (International Labour Organisation):
Brought together employers, governments and workers' representatives once a year.
Improve working conditions.
League of Nations Commissions (Committees):
Mandates Commission:
WWI ­ German colonies and colonies of her allies made into Mandates ruled by
GB and France.
Made sure GB and France acted in the interests of the people, not themselves.
The Refugees Committee:
Helped refugees return home after WWI.…read more

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Made recommendations on marking shipping lanes and produced an international highway
Social Problems:
Blacklisted 4 large drug traders.
Freed 200,000 people in British-owned Sierra Leone.
Organised raids against slave owners and traders in Burma.
Challenged the use of forced labour on the Tanganyika railway in Africa where there was a
50% death rate among workers.
League pressure lowered it to 4%.
Kept records of what was going on and provided info on drug trafficking, prostitution and
slavery where it couldn't prevent it.…read more

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Conference of Ambassadors ­ had to sort out border between Greece and Albania. Italian
general Tellini appointed to supervise it.
Tellini and his team were killed in Greece ­ Mussolini furious and blames Greek govn.
Demanded compensation for Italy and execution for murderers ­ Greeks didn't know who
was to blame.
Mussolini went on to occupy the Greek island of Corfu. 15 killed ­ Greece appealed for help.
Events echoed those before WWI.…read more

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Rise of Aggressive Nationalism:
Japan and Germany ­ expansionist foreign policies challenge existing borders etc and
therefore League.
Challenge to TOV which League is supposed to defend.
Feb 1932 ­ Disarmament Conference begins.
Britain and France divided ­ British felt the TOV was unfair ­ allows Germany to build up a
navy as long as it stays below 35% the size of its own ­ French disagree.…read more

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Wanted glory ­ to restore the Roman Empire.
1934 ­ dispute between Italian and Ethiopian soldiers at the Wal-Wal oasis ­ Mussolini claims
this was Italian territory (actually 80km inside Abyssinia) ­ demands apology and prepares
Italian army for an invasion of Abyssinia.
Abyssinian emperor Haile Selassie appeals to the League for help.
1935 ­ Mussolini supposedly negotiating with League ­ also shipping army to Africa and
preparing for full scale invasion of Abyssinia.…read more

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Failure of economic sanctions ­ supposedly military force would be used.
League had no troops of its own ­ GB and F not willing to commit troops.
E.g. Vilna, Abyssinia, Manchuria.
Unfair treaties:
Bound to uphold the peace treaties.
Apparent that some of the terms were harsh and unjust.
Undermined the League.
Decisions were slow:
Meant to act quickly ­ met too infrequently and took too long to make decisions.
Need for all members to agree ­ further slowed it down.
E.g. Manchuria, Abyssinia.…read more


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