Aims & Organisation
In 1918 President Wilson had alled for a 'general association of nation' to prevent wars. This was set up by using the treaty of Versailles. The league had a covenant ( a set of rules) which laid out its aims. these were to;
- Encourage co-operation between nations
- Prevent aggression by any nation
- Work towards international disarmament
- Improve the working and living conditions of all people.
The league was set around the idea of collective security. The league would settle disputes by;
- Arbitration by a neutral country
- Taking the matter to the international court of justice
- An inquiry by the council
strengths of the League of Nations
In theory the league was quite powerful:
- In 1920 it had 42 members. 8 years later it had risen to 60.
- There was a strong desire for peace and international disarmament.
- The league could take action on an aggressor, including imposing economic sanctions and using military force.
Weaknesses of the League of Nations
- The league had no armed force of its own. This meant that it had to have the co-operastion of nation but they were reluctant.
- Military force would always be a last resort because of its costs.
- Economic sanction were hard to enforce because it would damage trade for some of the countries.
- The league could often sort out problems for smaller countries but not large powerful ones.
Some important countries did not join the league;
- The USA never join the league of nations despite the wishes of Wilson. The american people felt that they did not want to be involved with european affairs.
- Bolshevik Russia was not allowed to join the league. Britain and France feared the spread of communism to the west. The Bolsheviks saw the league as a club of victors and rich countries.
- Also the defeated nation were also not allowed to join till later.