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The League of Nations originated
through the devastation which associates to First World War. Formed at Paris
Peace Conference, the League’s Covenant was embedded in the text of the
Versailles Treaty created by the United States of America President Woodrow
Wilson. The revolution of heavy Machinery for example submarines, tanks has
prompted the formation of League of Nations on the 10 January 1920 to maintain
peace and security. The American President Woodrow Wilson who urged that
“what the world need was not a balance of power, but a community of power,
not organized rivalries, but an organized common peace” (Jeffrey H, Peter
H, Shahin M, Lloyd P, World Politics p49). The League failure to prevent Second
World War did not destroy the hope of creating an international organization,
but a chance to learn mistake from the past hence the creation of United
Nations. This essay, we would explain why the League of Nations failed and also
how they succeeded.

 
President Woodrow Wilson fourteen points was a combination of domestic
and international interest for example free trade, democracy and prevent war
through diplomacy, collective security and improves welfare. The collective
protection of the League of Nations sought to preserve the “territorial
status quo as it existed when the League of Nations was established in
1919” (Hans J, 1993 p291). Those Nations that were defeated during the
First World War opposed the status quo, making it very difficult for the League
of Nations to function. Russia (Soviet Union) and the United States had a
different opinion regarding the status quo. France and its allies that
benefited mostly the status quo meant the League of Nations collective security
is not fair and doomed to fail. League of Nations failed because Russia and
United States were not members, as well as Britain and France who were not
strong enough to impose a sanction on aggressive Nations or collective
security. If collective security is to work, then the regulation of sanction must
be credible to warring Nations. That is, for example, the League Nations must
punish those blatant acts of aggressors collectively. Collective security never
becomes effective.

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The other reason why the League failed is that Japan invaded part of
Chinese territory called Manchuria in 1931. No League member condemned the
action Japan took or perhaps stopped the invasion. It was one of the
significant obstacles the League had to deal with because Japan is highly
respected regarding power. “The League’s systems of discussion,
arbitration and guarantees were at too great a distance from the realities of
power politics” ( Jeffrey H, Peter H, Shahin M, Lloyd P, World Politics
p50). All the members of the League had one vote each, and they could have
voted against the invasion of Japan, but they did not, which lead to the answer
of the question why the League of Nation failed. In 1935, Mussolini’s Italy
invasion of Ethiopia was the only unsuccessful collective security action the
League of Nations took. “The League lack teeth, the League failed because it
became troublingly clear that it was not having the desired effect”. (Lynn H,
1990 p48). Mussolini was not being told to follow the law by the League of
Nations, instead carried on with his illegal activities that were a failure to
the League of Nations. Mussolini decided to increase power in invading western
Abyssinia, although “in 1928, Italy concluded a treaty of constant peace and
perpetual friendship with Abyssinia binding the two signatories not to engage
under any pretext” (Henig R 2010 p159). But this did not stop his wishes of
invading the Abyssinia. Hundred Abyssinia and thirty Italian militaries were
killed. Abyssinia requested the League of Nations for help. It took nine months
for the League member to respond and by then Italian force was in and around
the Abyssinia. Some League members supported in favour of economic sanction
while others military sanction. For example, Britain supported collective
action against Italy, while France wants peacefully since they believe “that
Mussolini could contain Germany expansion” (Henig R 2010 p159). This lack of
cooperation among the League members when dealing with security has limited the
function of League of Nation, thus failure.

 
Another reason the League of Nations failed was the inability to reduce
the armament of its members. Many scholars believed that “arms build-up
before 1914 had been one of the prime causes of the First World War”. (Henig
R.2010 p109). The spread of new technology that led to fear and insecurity such
as rapid-firing guns, heavy artillery, and aircraft had caused much civilian
death. ‘The uses of poison gas reinforced the fear of a new kind of warfare in
the future’ whereby citizens could be the first target of any kind of the
attack. “The fourth of Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points had called for
adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to
the lowest point consistent with domestic safety” (Henig R 2010 p110). Germany
who had a massive military technology was ordered to limit its arsenal and
armed force to 100,000. They were also forbidden from the Rhineland and lost
territorial in France and Belgium as well as overseas colonies. “Exile Germany
Kaiser declared that the war to end wars has resulted in peace to end peace”
(Charles w. Kegley Jr. Shannon L, 2012 p92). These humiliation treaties by the
Allied toward Germany has resulted from Germany not to support the League of
Nations hence leading its failure and the causes of Second World War Two.

 
In addition to that, the League of Nations failed because of the
unwillingness of some Nation to give up of sovereignty in exchange to
collective security and United States refusal to join its creation of the
League of Nation. “The American Senate refused to approve the Treaty of
Versailles” (Joseph S. Nye, Jr. and David A. Welch, 2011 p115). These
means that collective security cannot function without its most significant
contributors, and that is why the League failed. The United States of America
did not have the appetite to get involved in the international affairs
especially in Europe. Many scholars believed that disagreement between
President Woodrow Wilson and his opponent are a sign of in between idealism and
realism. United State of American Senate’s refusal to support the League seen
as a balance of power in Europe, and they should not get involved in any
activities. They lost many civilian casualties in the war and had little
interest in joining the League. They did not have support from British, French
or the Treaty of Versailles and as a result, the League could not function
without Powerful Nations.

 
Political idealists and liberals could even point to some success of the
League. For example, the League of Nations helped Austria and Hungary from the
brink of bankruptcy. “Austria was provided desperate needed financial support
in 1922 followed by Hungry a year later” (Ruth Henig e-book p181). They
collected loans from member states to help both Nations. As a result, both
Nations recovered their bankruptcy. Secondly, the league resolved a dispute
between Bulgaria and Greece in 1925. They share borders, where Bulgaria soldier
killed one Greek soldier. Therefore the Greek Military invaded Bulgaria.
Bulgaria requested the League of Nations for help where the dispute was
resolved. “It began a process of disarmament negotiations” (Joseph S.
Nye, Jr. and David A. Welch, 2011 p118). The League did give birth to human
right law, right of asylum for individual and right of national minorities for
example, “Austro-Hungary and Turkish Ottoman empire such as Iraq”.( Jeffrey H,
Peter H, Shahin M, Lloyd P, World Politics p303). The league was successful in
resolving the dispute between Finland and Sweden their Aaland Island. Although
it belongs to Finland, the Swedish reject their claims. “The League
decision was that they should remain with Finland, but that no weapon should be
kept their”
(http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/modern-world-history-1918-to-1980/league-of-nations-successes/.

  In conclusion, the League
had several failures compare to the success. They provided financial assistance
to a nation like Austria and Hungry from being declared bankrupt. They offered
loans which uplifted their much-needed economy to grow. The League of Nation
also resolved a dispute between Bulgaria and Greece in 1925, Finland and Sweden
in Aaland Island. But on the other hand, the League had much-unresolved
evidence which leads to failure. Some point to Second World War. Japan invasion
of Manchuria in 1931 which was part of Chinese territory. The Members of the
League of Nations were so scared and afraid to speak to Japan because of its
military power that they could not stop or take action against Japan invasion,
which ultimately leads to League of Nation failure. The Italian invasion of
Abyssinia (Ethiopia) was another failure which the League could not resolve.
Mussolini wanted to expand its territory to Abyssinia. Finally, United States
inability to support League they started had contributed its failure too. They
did not want to get involved in any European affairs since they lost many
civilians in the war and thus, resulting the League of Nation to fail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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