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Essay: The most important reason why the League of Nations failed was because it
had no army. How far do you agree?
The League of Nations was an organization set up by President Woodrow Wilson
(U.S.A) its aims were to stop wars, improve peoples lives and jobs, to get every
country to disarm and to enforce the treaty of Versailles. I agree that one of the
reasons that the League failed was because it had no army. I don't agree that it
having no army was the most important reason. There were lots of reasons why
the League of Nations failed, some more important than others.
The League was conceived under President Wilson and the therefore all countries
saw it connected to the treat of Versailles. The treaty of Versailles was a harsh
treaty and not many countries really supported it. This internal mistake started
the League off badly as people were already starting to dislike it. Compared to the
army it was a small factor but made as big impact.
In my opinion, this next reason is what made the League fail. The membership and
organization of the League played a big role in the Leagues failure. The League
lacked authority and because of the treaty of Versailles, the people were cautious
towards it. That made it seem weak. There were also two large countries, which
were not a part of the League: Russia and the U.S.A. Germany only joined later
when it was allowed. Shortly after Germany joined, Japan and Italy left. This made
the League seem like a minority, that countries could come and go as they pleased.
At the same time, the organization of the League was not very practical. Every
country (even large or small) had a vote in the assembly. The voting was
unanimous. Lastly, if one country said no to the decision it would be rejected. This
organization was not one that a League wanted to solve problems. These problems
were internal and very significant. They led to problems when the needed to act
quickly, for example in Manchuria and in Abyssinia.
The organization of the League was not suited to dealing with crises. We see that
when the League were forced to deal with Japan, Italy and Germany. In Japan, Japan
decided it needed to expand it's population and invade Manchuria. As the League
had no army it could do nothing about it. Everyone (including Japan) had to agree
on the punishment. In the end, everyone agreed except for Japan so it was denied.
The League was slow and dealt with the problem in a not very satisfactory way.
Here, the problem was external but the way the League of Nations dealt with it
was internal and people started to lose faith in the League. Another external
problem that the League dealt with badly was Germany. Germany complained that
only Germany had started to disarm. The League tried to get other members to
disarm but failed. As a consequence of that, Germany left the League and began to
rearm openly. Instead of dealing with Germany, Britain let it leave and didn't try
to stop it. The League members then also began to rearm. Again, the way in which
the League dealt with the problem was just not enough. The last proof that we
have of the League of Nations failing to deal with countries is in Abyssinia. The
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League didn't have an army so it had to impose economic sanctions. The sanctions
didn't make an impact on Italy because its main trading partner was the U.S.A
(which was not in the League). Britain and France then tried to make a secret deal
with Italy so that they would not be affected and could save themselves. (The
Hoare- Laval Plan) The League was slow at making decisions and its bad
organization meant that it couldn't impose anything on Italy.…read more