Peacemaking and the league of Nations

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  • Created by: emma998
  • Created on: 07-03-14 14:38

Paris Peace conference

  • The big 3 were: Wilson for the USA, Lloyd George for Britain, and Clemencau for France
  • The Parris Peace conference began in 1918 and lasted a whole year.


  • Wanted to cripple Germany
  • France suffered huge devestation during the war and felt threatened by Germany
  • Wanted to remove all their armed forces and make Rhineland demilitarised - buffer zone

Lloyd George:

  • Wanted to punish Germany justly, knew UK public wanted Germany harshly punished:
  • Remove all navy and airforce
  • Remove all colonies and empires
  • Wanted to continue trading with Germany


  • Wanted German to be lightly punished - they were not as badly affected by the war
  • 14 points and League of nations
  • Wanted to strengthen democracy
  • Wanted US to be major power of the world


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Structure of the league

The Assembly:

  • League's parliament, every country in league sent a representative to assembly
  • Met once a year and decisions had to be unanimous
  • Could vote on: admtting new members to league, temporary members of council, budget

The Council:

  • Smaller group, met more often usually 5 times a year and in cases of emergency
  • Included permanent members + temporary members voted by Assembly, 3 year periods
  • Each permanent meber had a veto to prevent a decision
  • Sanctions included - moral condemnation, economic sanctions, military force

The Permanent court of International Justice:

  • Made up of judges of member countries
  • Provided legal advice to assembly and council and gave decisions on disputes
  • No way of making sure nations followed its rulings

The international labour organisation:

  • Worked to improve standards of living and working conditions around the world
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Manchurian crisis

  • Wall street crash in 1929 affected all major countries
  • China and USA put up tariffs
  • Japan could not afford to trade, had no resources of their own
  • They relied on the Manchurian railway to import and export goods
  • In 1931 incident occured in Manchuria giving Japan oppertunity to invade and expand empire
  • September 1931 they claimed that Chinese soldiers had sabotaged part of the railway which they controlled
  • In retalliation they overran Manchuria and threw out all Chinese forces and set up a puppet government in Manchuria
  • China appealed to league
  • Japan claimed they were settling a local difficulty
  • League's officials travelled to Manchuria to investigate situation
  • After 1 whole year they presented their report and decided that Japan had acted unlawfully and Manchuria should be returned to China
  • In 1933 instead of withdrawing troops from Manchuria Japan claimed they were going to invade more of China arguing it was necessary in self defence
  • 42 votes to 1 in assembly, Japan left league and invaded more of China - Jehol
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Disarmament conference 1932 -1934

  • Germany complained it was the only country disarming 
  • The league could not get other member countries to agree to disarm 
  • Germany left disarmament conference then left the league and began to rearm openly
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Abyssinian crisis 1935 - 1936

  • December 1934 dispute between Italian and Ethipian soldiers at Wal-Wal oasis
  • Mussolini took oppertunity to expand empire and revenge for the humiliating defeat in 1896
  • He claimed this was Italian territory and began preparing for an invasion of Abyssinia
  • Haile Selassie appealed to the league for help
  • Mussolini pretended to be negotiating with the league to solve the dispute while shipping supplies and large army to Africa 
  • At first Britain and France failed to take situation seriously - desperate to keep good relations with Italy as they believed Italy was the next most powerful ally against Hitler
  • Signed Stresa pact in 1935 to stand united against Germany
  • 4 September after 8 months of deliberation the league decided the incident at Wal-Wal was neither side's fault and that some of Abysssinia should be given to Italy
  • Mussolini rejected offer and continued to send supplies through suez canal
  • Britain and France never closed the canal - could have ended campaign very quickly
  • The league impose sanctions on Italy - coal, rubber + deliberated for 2 months on oil
  • Secret treaty - B+F without consulting league proposed to give 2/3 Abyssinia to Italy if they called off invasion
  • Plan leaks, Mussolini obtains Abyssinia, Italy leave league, sign Rome-Berlin axis with hitler
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Terms of the Treaty of Versailles

War guilt clause - Germany had to accept full responsibility for the outbreak of WW1 

Reparations- France and Britain had suffered huge devestation during the war and were in states of poverty. A payment of£6,600million was agreed

Armed forces

  • Germany's army was limited to 100,000 men and no conscription
  • No air force
  • 6 battleships

Germany's land

  • Germany lost 13% of its land
  • Rhineland was demilitarised
  • All overseas territories were taken away from them, given to the LoN or Britain or France

The League of Nations was set up- proposed by Wilson, he designed it

  • Aim was to create everlasting peace
  • Countries would report to the league to settle disputes
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German reaction to the Treaty of Versailles

The war guilt clause: 

  • They believed all the countries should share the blame
  • The old government had been responsible for the war so now they had a new government they believed they should get a fresh start
  • Punished the wrong people - the public were not responsible for WW1

Armed forces:

  • 100,000 men was very small for a country the size of Germany
  • No other countries were disarming
  • Germany's army was a symbol of pride
  • Caused major unemployment

Land and territory:

  • Demilitarisation of the Rhineland which was a buffer zone left them feeling insecure
  • Lost whole empire which was a symbol of Germany's power and also income
  • Lost 12.5% of population and lots of industry and resources

Not allowed to join the league of Nations

  • Humiliating and unfair not be trusted to wanting to keep peace
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Strengths + weaknesses of the treaty of Versailles


  • Established peace in Europe
  • Was not as harsh on Germany as the Germans would have have been if they had won or as Germany were to USSR in Bolshevik treaty
  • League of Nations was created to keep peace
  • Germany was weakened


  • Was harsh enough to make Germany feel strong resentment but left them strong enough to one day seek revenge
  • Should have eother been more harsh or less harsh
  • Created a temporary peace in which war was inevitable
  • Targeted the wrong people
  • Caused economic chaos in Germany

Looking back with hindsight we can see that the treaty clearly had many flaws and problems however historians are likely to point out how hard a task it was to make the peace settlement. It was the best that could have been hoped for in the specific circumstances

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The birth of the league of Nations

  • After WW1 no one wanted to repeat the horrors of war
  • To avoid war Wilson wanted to set up a world parliament where representatives of all nations would get together to decide on matters that affected them all
  • The main aim was to create everlasting peace
  • British leaders wanted a league which just met in emergencies and France wanted a league with a strong army of its own
  • However Wilson got his way and took personal charge in drawing up plans for the league
  • In February 1919 Wilson had produced a very ambitionus plan:
    • All major nations would join the league of Nations
    • They would disarm
    • If a country had a dispute with another they would bring the matter to the league 
    • They promised to protect each other if they were invaded by collective security
  • Aims of league:
    • Discourage agression from any nation
    • Encourage countries to co-orperate especially in business and trade
    • Enforce the Treaty of Versailles
    • Improve living and working conditions around the world
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Membership of the league of Nations

  • Britain and France1919-1945
    • They were the only powerful countries in the league throughout
  • Italy and Japan: Italy 1919-1937 + Japan 1919-1933
    • Both left the league after disputes over land which the league failed to resolve
  • USA and USSR: USA never joined + USSR 1934-1939
    • Congress refused to allow the USA to join the league -
    • Bitter disappointment to Wilson and a body blow to the league
    • USSR were not allowed to join until 1934 because they were communist
  • Germany: 1926-1933
    • Not allowed to join until they had proven they were a peace loving nation
    • Hitler pulled Germany out of the league after the league failed to get others to disarm
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