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What were the aims of the League of Nations?

  • If there were any issues, the League of Nations would resolve them without a war
  • World peace
  • Improve unemployment and the quality of life
  • Abolish slavery
  • Enfore the Treaty of Versailles
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Why did the League of Nations fail?

  • America didn't join
    • The people of America wanted isolationism
  • Woodrow Wilson died shortly after the formation of the League
  • Russia didn't join
    • They had a big army and lots of money
    • Better to have Russia as an ally than an opponent
  • Germany wasnt allowed to join
    • Angered Germany
      • If they got powerful, they'd start a war
  • No specific army
  • Structure of the League
  • Didn't meet regularly
  • Reliant on countries' generosity
  • Manchuria and Abyssinia
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Structure of the League



  • Co-ordinate the functions of the League
  • Too few secretaries to do the work
    • Slow and inefficient


  • Met 4 - 5 times a year
  • 5 permanent members
    • Britain, France, Italy, Japan and Germany


  • The League's main meeting held once a year
  • Decisions made only by unanimous vote
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Structure of the League (Continued)

Committees (CHIRMS)

Court of international justice

Health committee

International labour organisation

Refugees committee

Mandates commission

Slavery commission

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The Manchurian Crisis (1932)

  • The Dispute
    • In the 1930s there was a worldwide economic depression
    • Japan decided to expand their empire to overcome the depression
    • They invaded Manchuria and threw out the Chinese
    • Set up their own government in Manchuria and called it the Manchoukuo
    • China asked the League to help
  • What the League did
    • The League set up a group of officials to study the invasion - headed by Lord Lytton
    • It took a year before the League ordered Japan to leave (1933)
  • Outcome
    • Japan refused to leave Manchuria, and instead, left the League
    • None of the countries stopped trading with Japan or even agreed on sanctions so Japan stayed in Manchuria.
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The Abyssinian Crisis (1936)

  • The Dispute
    • Mussolini got ready to invade Abyssinia (Ethiopia) for war and glory
    • Abyssinia asked the League to help
  • What the League did
    • The League talked with Mussolini but he used the time to send an army to Africa
    • The League suggested a plan to give part of Abyssinia to Italy
  • The Outcome
    • Mussolini ignored the League, and invaded Abyssinia
    • The League banned weapons sales, and put sanctions on rubber and metal
    •  Selassie went to the League to appeal for help, but it did nothing else
    • Britain and France secretly agreed to give Abyssinia to Italy (the Hoare-Laval Pact)
    • Italy conquered Abyssinia
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  • 60 countries were members by 1930s
  • At one point, Italy and Japan were in (these were strong countries)
  • Abolished slavery
  • Improved the quality of lives
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