KQ2: To what extent was the League of Nations a success?

OCR history for KQ2 on the international relations part of the paper. Hope it help =)

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  • Created by: Joanne
  • Created on: 02-06-12 16:24

Structure of the League

  • League was created after WW1
  • based in Geneva, Switzerland, started work in January 1920
  • aims: stop war, encourage disarmament, improve working conditions, make the world a better place
  • Council: 4 permanent members: Britain, France, Italy, Japan, quick decisions, met five times a year
  • Permanent Court of Justice: judge
  • Assembly: 42 members, met once a year, unanimous decisions
  • Secretatriat: administration of League (paper work)
  • special commissions: slavery, health, refugees, mandates, women, drugs, prostitution
  • International Labour Organisation: workers and jobs
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  • no army - member donates soldiers (wouldn't work due to self interest) - collective security
  • trade sanctions - wouldn't work as the USA can still trade and countries would have self interest)
  • unanimous decisions
  • Britain and France had self interest
  • aggressive members: Italy and Japan
  • no USA (can trade)
  • Russia - communist
  • no defeated countries can join until proven to be peaceful
  • slow to take action
  • too idealistic
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1920s successes

Aaland islands

  • 1921 - dispute between Sweden and Finland, islands given to Finland, both countries agreed


  • 1925 - settled the Greek-Bulgarian dispute, moral condemnation (got them to apologise) when Greece invaded Bulgaria but withdrew when Bulgaria appealed to the League

Austrian and Hungarian economies

  • arranged international help to prevent the collapse of the Austrian and Hungarian economies, 1922-1923
  • closed down drug companies, did a lot to stop leprosy, returned 400,000 POWs to their homes, 1921 plebiscite  between Germany and Poland

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1920s failures


  • Poles seized Vilna in 1920 - an area of Lithuania, did nothing


  • did nothing to prevent Italian aggression against Greece in a dispute over Corfu (Greek island), 1923, League pressured the Greeks to pay Italy compensation
  • Washington Naval Agreement 1922 - League not involved/consulted
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  • world economic crisis caused by Great Depression had political consequences
  • millions of people around the world lost their jobs
  • turned to extreme political parties that promised solutions to economic crisis
  • often extreme parties were nationalist in nature e.g. Nazis
  • did not believe in democracy or international co-operation
  • ignored authority of League
  • often militarism occurred due to extreme parties - built up armed forces and used aggression to achieve aims which led to WW2
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Manchurian crisis (1931-1933)

  • September 1931: Mukden incident
  • Japanese army used excuse of explosion on South Manchurian railway outside Mukden
  • China appealed to League, obvious case of aggression
  • League instructed Japan to withdraw, was ignored
  • Japan occupied Manchuria and was renamed Manchukuo, installed Pu Yi as a puppet ruler
  • League set up Lytton Commission, it's report in 1932 condemned Japan's actions, League accepted report and Japan left the League
  • no further action taken
  • couldn't agree on economic sanctions or arm sales ban
  • Japan invaded China as it wanted fertile land and resources, already had presence on railway
  • failed as East Asia was far away, China was weak at time - invasion seen as giving 'order' to country, report took too long
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Abyssinian crisis (1935-1936)

  • October 1935, Italy started invasion on Abyssinia
  • clash between two countries in December 1934 at the oasis of Wal Wal (revenge) and Italy wanted fertile land and resources
  • Abyssinian forced stood little chance against modern Italian forces of tanks, air force, bombers, poison gas
  • League condemned Italy and imposed sanctions but didn't include crucial restrictions on oil and war materials, Britain didn't close Suez-Canal
  • Britain and France made solution to crisis - the Hoare-Laval Plan to split up Abyssinia and give best bits to Italy - leaked to the press and undermined the League - self interest (plan never put to Italy or Abyssinia)
  • Abyssinia abandoned and Italy completed conquest
  • Abyssinia emperor (Haile Selassie) went to Geneva and addressed the Assembly, condemning it
  • League was a disaster and no one took it seriously again
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Other failures

Disarmament Conference

  • 1932-1933
  • wrecked by Germany which demanded equality with other countries
  • France didn't want to disarm as wanted to remain strong against Germany

Re-militarisation of Rhineland

  • 1936
  • Germany re-occupied the Rhineland
  • goes against the Treaty of Versailles


  • 1938
  • united with Austria (Anschluss)
  • goes against Treaty of Versailles
  • Germany invaded Czechoslovakia (1938) and Poland (1939)
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