Conflict & Tension: The League of Nations & International Relations

  • Created by: Burney7
  • Created on: 03-06-21 17:28

The Need for the League of Nations


Who joined the League of Nations?

It was founded by 42 members and rose to 58 in 1934. There were four permanent members of the council, Britain, France, Italy and Japan. 


Who didn’t join the League of Nations?

  • Russia was not allowed to join because of its new Communist government. 
  • Countries who had lost the war were not allowed to join like Germany at first. After the Locarno Treaty in 1926, Germany was allowed to join the League.
  • The US Senate had refused to agree because they wanted to stick to isolationism.


Where was the League based?

Geneva, Switzerland. Switzerland had not been involved in the war, so was a peaceful country. The Red Cross was also based there.


Why was the League formed?

  • To stop war from breaking out again
  • To encourage disarmament
  • To improve working conditions
  • To tackle deadly diseases 

How was peace going to be kept in the League?

  • Collective security: all countries working together for peace
  • Set up an international court called the Permanent Court of International Justice
  • Mitigation: working together to solve problems
  • Moral condemnation
  • Economic sanctions: not trade with warring countries

However, the League had no real power as it had no army

Structure of the League of Nations

The Assembly

  • International parliament
  • Representatives of countries
  • Met once a year
  • Vote decisions had to be unanimous 
  • Decided if a country can join, elect judges to the court, decide how the Leagues money is spent. 


The Secretariat

  • Civil Service of the League: in charge of administration and organising action
  • Experts from different areas carrying out decisions taken by the League


The Council

  • Met more frequently than the Assembly
  • Four permanent members (Britain, France, Italy, Japan)
  • Four non-permanent members (later increased to 9) sat on the council for a 3 year term
  • Had the power of veto (stop a ruling with its vote)


Permanent Court of Justice

  • Settle international arguments
  • 11 judges and 4 deputy judges
  • No compulsory ruling (no way to enforce)
  • Court elected every 11 years


Special Commissions

  • International Labour Organisation
  • Disarmament Commission
  • Health Organisation
  • Slavery Commission
  • Commission of Refugees
  • Permanent Central Opium Board


Strengths of the League

Written into all peace treaties at the end of the war

Had a vast membership 

Economic sanctions and moral condemnation were large punishments as there were so many countries

Weaknesses of the League

 Many important countries weren’t in the League like the USA, undermining the global organisation

The League had no army

Structure was complicated and hard to understand

Decisions had to be unanimous, decision-making was slow

Success of the League in the 20s


Vilna (Lithuania), 1920

  • People in Vila wanted to be Polish
  • Poland invaded
  • League was asked for help by Lithuania
  • France saw Poland as an ally so the League did nothing (League controlled by France)


Upper Silesia (Germany, Poland), 1921-25

  • was important to iron and steel with Germans and Poles
  • Plebiscite was held, Germany


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