League of Nations

League of Nations

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Aims and Permanent Members

The League of Nations was a covenant built in the Treaty of Versailles. They met 4 or 5 times a year and in times of crisis. Its aims were discourage aggression, improve working and living conditions, encourage trade and work towards disarmament.

Permanent Members- (42 countries were members, rising to 58 in 1934)

  • Britain (1919- 1939)
  • France (1919- 1939)
  • Japan (1919-1933)
  • Italy (1919-1937)

Germany were not allowed to join until they proved themselves to be a 'peace-loving' country. They joined in 1926 and left in 1933

Veto- The right to reject a proposal (If one person used their veto, the proposal was not allowed to happen).

Article X- refers to 'Collective Security' meaning that by acting together, the L of N could prevent war.

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Successes and Failures in the 1920's

Sucesses- Green Failures- Orange

  • Prisoners of War (1920) - The League took home half a million First World War prisoners of war.
  • Aaland Island (1921) - Sweden and Finland accepted the League's arbitration to give the Aaland Islands to Finland.
  • Vilna (1921) - The Poles invaded Vilna (Lithuanian Capital). The League ordered them to leave, but Poland refused and the League did nothing.
  • Corfu (1923) -  Mussolini ignored orders to pull out of Corfu and then the League told Greece to pay money to Italy.
  • Bulgaria (1925) -  Greece obeyed the League's orders to pull out of Bulgaria.
  • Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928) - 65 countries signed a pact to never go to war again, but they later ignored it.
  • Slaves (1926) - The League approved the Slavery convention and freed 200,000 slaves.
  • Disease (1920s) -  The League worked to prevent Malaria and Leprosy.
  • Jobs (1920s) - The International Labour Organisation failed to persuade countries to adopt a 48-hour week.
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Manchuria and Abyssinia

Manchuria- 

  • In September 1931, the Japanese claimed that Chinese soldiers had sabotaged the Manchurian Railway in Korea, which Japan controlled
  • February 1932, Japan had attacked and brutally conquered Manchuria.
  • In January-March 1932, Japan attacked and captured Shanghai.
  • In March 1932, China appealed to the League of Nations.
  • In April 1932, a League delegation led by Lord Lytton arrived in Manchuria to see what was happening
  • In October 1932 it declared that Japan should leave.
  • In February 1933, a special assembly of the League voted against Japan, so the Japanese walked out.
  • The League could not agree on sactions, and Britain and France were not prepared to send an army so the Japanese stayed in Manchuria and in July 1937 they also invaded China.

Abyssinia- In December 1934, a border dispute between Abyssinia and the Italian Somaliland flared into fighting. In January 1935, Haile Selassie (the emperor of Abyssinia) asked the League to arbitrateIn July 1935, the League banned arms sales to either side and in September it appointed a fire-power committee to arbitrate. In October 1935, the League's committee suggested that Italy should have some land in Abyssinia. Instead, Italy's 100,000-strong army invaded Abyssinia. Britain and France appeared to not to intervene, but they had signed the Hoare-Laval pact which stated that Abyssinia should go to Italy. The League did nothing and by May 1936, Italy had conquered Abyssinia

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Effect of the Crises and Hitler's Actions

  • It became clear that if a strong nation was prepared to ignore the League, the League could do nothing about it.
  • The League's delays and slowness made it look weak.
  • Everybody realised that Britain and France were not prepared to use force.
  • The four major powers - Japan, Italy, Britain and France - all betrayed the League.
  • Smaller nations realised that the League could not and would not protect them.
  • Hitler was encouraged to move ahead with his plans.

Hitler's Actions:

  • 1933- Leaves League.
  • 1935- German re-armament.
  • 1936- Tries to invade Austria, but is preveted by Mussolini because he only has 100,000 soldiers.
  • 1936- Re-introduces conscription.
  • 1936- Re-occupies Rhineland.
  • 1937- Tries out new weapons in Spanish Civil War
  • 1938- Anschluss with Austria
  • 1938- Munich Agreement- Britain and France give Germany the Sudentenland and they invade.
  • 1938- Invade the rest of Czechoslavakia 
  • 1939- Inavde Poland, WAR
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