League of Nations
The League of Nations was formed in 1919-20 as part of the peace treaties.
The aims were included in every peace treaty.
The League was the idea of Woodrow Wilson who had included it in his 14 points.
he believed it would ensure no repeat of the First World War.
The only question was wether it would work. Most people thought it would, with the USA taking a leading role.
Even those who had doubts had nothing else to offer as an alternative.
The USA fails to join
Woodrow Wilson confidently expected the USA to join the League of Nations. However many Americans hated the idea.
Many had been against the USA's involvement in the war and did not want to get involved in Europea affairs after 1919.
Woodrow Wilson campaign vigorously for Congress to support him.
America's politicians voted for the USA to be isolated.
The abscence of the USA greatly weakened the League of Nations.
Powers of the League
The Convenant of the League of Nations set out three ways in which it could act to settle disputes:
A hearing by an impartial neutral country.
A ruling by the Internationsal Court of Justice
An inquiry by the council.
If this did not work and a country ignored a countries decision, then the League could take action.
It could bring pressure on the guilty country, bringing world opinion against it.
Members of the league could refuse to trade with guilty countries.
The armed forces of member countries could be joined together and used against an agressor.
Strengths of the League
When the League was set up there was goodwill towards it from most ordinary people and most governments.
People genuinely wanted to avoid conflicts like WW1 and believed this could be done.
Most major countries had joined - others would surely do so and defeated countries would be allowed to enter later on.
Better comunications made it easier to act when conflict threatened.
Weaknesses of the league
The organisation of the league relied on goodwill and persuation: it had very little power and didn't have a permanent army.
disarmament was a hope - not a reality. The French stated that disarmament would threaten their security. This allowed Germany to claim it had a right not to if other countries didnt.
Their was still a lot of hatred from the war.
International suspicion and traditional rivalries remained.
The League of Nations proved to be powerless against the dictatorships of Italy, Germany and Japan. It also couldnt act when major powers such as Britain and France had their own seperate agendas