Purpose of the League of Nations– SIDE
Improve people’s lives and jobs
Enforce the treaty of Versailles
Membership of the League of Nations– 5 things
1. 42 countries joined at first, 60 countries by 1930
2. USA not a member
3. USSR not a member– in 1919 they set up Comintern as a rival league
4. Germany not allowed to join
5. leading members are Britain, France, Italy and Japan
Different committees within the League– CHIRMS
Court of international justice
International labour organisation
Structure of the League– SCACHIRMS
Structural facts– 3 things
1. Secretariat– acted as a civil service for the league. (made agendas and published reports on meetings). Made up of just 400 people, many deemed it incompetent and too small for the job at hand
2. Council– met 4-5 times a year. The 4 permanent members– Britain, France, Italy & Japan– have veto over decisions.
3. Assembly– with every member of league present, meeting once a year, decisions made by unanimous vote.
Strengths of the league—SUM
Set up by the treaty of Versailles
Means of influence–
countries were held to the covenant that they signed on joining the league,
Moral condemnation (public opinion)
Sanctions (refusal to trade)
Use of an arbitrator (like an un-biased referee)
Six successes of the league in 1920’s– SAMBOK
Germany and Poland agreed to share the land
Aaland Islands 1921–
was agreed that they should belong to Finland
Turkey wanted Mosul un Iraq, league supported Iraq and Turks backed off
Greece invaded Bulgaria but backed off when league got involved
400,000 war prisoners repatriated, gave money advice, prevented slavery
Kellogg-Briand pact 1928–
signed by 23 countries to outlaw war
Six failures of the league in 1920’s– VIMCOD
Poland defied league and didn't leave Vilna
Invasion of the Ruhr 1923-
By France without consulting league– annoyed UK
League told Lithu. to leave but were defied by COA
COA overruled league’s decision to force Italy to leave Corfu
Other treaties that failed-
Washington 1921, Dawes plan 1924, Locarno pact 1925, Geneva 1924
No country wanted to disarm , especially Japan and Britain
Two failures of the league in 1930’s- 2 things
Japan invaded Chinese Manchuria, league took a year to get a decent report on what was happening.
League voted that Manchuria be returned to china, which caused Japan to leave the league in 1933.
league could not agree on economic sanctions or arms sale ban– looked weak and ineffective.
2. Abyssinia 1935
Mussolini of Italy invaded Haile Selassie’s Abyssinia in October 1935, using advanced weaponry on local tribesmen.
Britain and France made the fateful Hoare-Laval pact which gave Italy half of Abyssinia.
League tried to sanction weapons sales, rubber and metals, but failed to close the Suez canal, which UK owned.
Eight reasons that the league failed– BUSTED UP
Britain and France
USA, USSR and Germany
Treaty of Versailles set it up
Why BUSTED UP?
Britain and France didn't want their armies used and weren't 100 % committed
USA never joined, USSR didn't until 1934, Germany not until 1926, and Hitler left the league in 1933
Structure was cumbersome and decisions were made too slowly
Treaty was hated therefore league was too
E- Countries acted to save themselves without thinking of the league
Dictators like Mussolini and Hitler would not compromise
U- The leagues failures damaged it reputation and made members leave
Powerless because moral condemnation was ignored by most countries, the league had no army, and sanctions were ineffective.