league of nations (flashcards)



The League of Nations came from Wilson's Fourteen Points and the Treaty of Versailles.

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1) To maintain peace - using three different methods:

Disarmament involved reducing the number of weapons that each country had.

Arbitration meant helping countries to talk about their disputes rather than fight.

Collective security meant that if one country attacked another, League members would act together to control the aggressor.

2) To encourage cooperation - help solve economic and social problems, such as disease, slavery and poor working and living conditions.

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The Assembly - The Assembly met once a year. Every country in the League had one vote at the Assembly. Decisions could only be made if everyone agreed on them.

The Council - The Council met at least four times a year. It had permanent members (Britain, France, Italy, Japan and later Germany) and temporary members. All members had a vote, but permanent members could veto Council decisions.

The Secretariat - Carried out the work of the League, like civil service.

The International Labour OrganisationThis part of the League discussed and made suggestions to improve working conditions. It was made up of government officials, employers and workers from different countries.

The Permanent Court of International Justice This was made up of fifteen judges from different member countries. They were asked to settle international disputes. (Everyone hoped this would avoid another major).

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  • Over 42 countries joined.
  • Members did support the aims and most determined to avoid another war.
  • In times without crises members were prepared to co-operate with each other, especially to aid the work of the Commissions.
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  • The absence of important powers like USA, Germany and Russia weakened the League and forced reliance on Britain and France, both of which were severely weakened by the First World War.
  • Collective action, on which the League depended, would only work if members put the League's interests first; selfishness was much too common.
  • The Assembly could not usually come to a quick or unanimous decision, and could not enforce these on the Council, where decisions could be prevented by the veto. Individual states were able to prevent any action at all.
  • The League could not rely on member states to provide armed force, when they were not obliged to. Members were reluctant to spend the money, or pay the cost of casualties. Without effective economic or military sanctions the League was powerless.
  • The League was bound to enforce the increasingly impossible Treaty of Versailles, but lacked the force to do so.
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  • Due to the fact that the countries could not agree with each other and they were not willing to risk their army to prevent the threat and the fact that they were all still weak from the First World War the League was a failure.
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