Why did the League of Nations fail

Explaining why the League of Nations failed, how it failed, and what lead up to it failing

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  • Created by: Animal II
  • Created on: 17-02-12 16:31

Why did the League of Nations fail? The self - int

  • The League depended on Britain and France to provide firm support in times of crisis
  • When conflicts occurred, however, neither the British nor the French government was prepared to abandon its own self - interest to support the League
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The USA and other important countries were absent

  • At any one time important countries were not members
  • Germany was not a member until 1926 and left in 1933
  • The USSR did not join until 1934, whilst Japan left in 1933 and Italy left in 1937
  • Most important, the USA was never a member
  • Without such major powers the League lacked authority and sanctions were not effective
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Economic sanctions did not work

  • Economic sanctions were supposed to be the League's main weapon, but members of the League did not willingly impose them because they were worried that without the USA they would not work
  • When they did impose them they were easily broken
  • The League therefore lacked the muscle to enforce the decisions of its Assembly and Council
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Lack of troops

  • If economic sanctions failed, military force was the next option
  • Yet the League had no armed forces of its own and relied upon the co-operation of its members
  • Britain and France, however, were not willing to commit troops 
  • At no time did troops ever fight on behalf of the League 
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The treaties it had to uphold were seen as unfair

  • The League was bound to uphold the peace treaties which had created it
  • In time, however, it became apparent that some of the terms of those peace treaties were harsh and unjust and needed amending
  • This further undermined the League 
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Decsison were slow

  • When a crisis occured, the League was supposed to act quickly and with determination
  • In many cases, however, the League met too infrequently and took too long to make decisions
  • They need for all members to agree on a course of action undermined the strength of the League
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