Flashcards in League Of Nations Deck (18):
What were the 4 main aims of the league?
Improve living and working conditions
What were the peacekeeping successes of the League in the 1920s?
1920 - Upper Siliesia, Germany v Poland, a plebiscite was helf and the territory was split - 2/3 to Germany, 1/3 to Poland
1921 - an argument was settled between Finland and Sweden about the Aland Islands, making a decision that Finland should gain control - this decision was accepted by all
1922 - the League sent in a team of experts to rescue the collapsing Austrian economy - they restructured Austria's finances and currency and averted an Austrian economic crash
1925 - the League sorted out a border dispute between Greece and Bulgaria - they ordered fighting to stop and threatened sanctions against Greece, investigated and found in favour of Bulgaria. Greece paid £45,000 compensation
What were the humanitarian successes of the League in the 1920s?
1) The Refugee Commission - helped resettle displaced people and prisoners after WW1, over 400,000 people were found homes
2) The Slavery Commission - working for the abolition of slavery around the globe - 200,000 slaves freed in Sierra Leone
3) World Health Organisation - helped to combat dangerous diseases with inoculation, education programmes and containing epidemic breakouts
4) The Drugs Commission - worked to combat the international trade in illegal substances - had some success in tightening up customs controls
What were the peacekeeping failures of the League in the 1920s?
1920 - Poland attacked Vilna, Lithuania plead for help - neither Britain or France wanted to send in troops so they did nothing
1923 - Italy seized the Greek island of Corfu and the League did not take any decisive action
1923 - French invasion of the Ruhr valley - the League was unable to sort out the dispute between Germany and France (who was a powerful member of the League) - this showed favouritism as the League wasn't going to act against Britain or France
Why did the USA not join the League?
- German immigrants hated the Treaty of Versailles
- They believed that it was Europe's problem and that it would be too expensive
- They didn't want to risk getting involved in another war
- Many people thought that all people should be free under democracy - they weren't willing to be dragged into wars to help countries like Britain and France keep undemocratic colonies
What were the inherent weaknesses of the League?
- The League had no armed forces of its own - Any military burden would largely fall on the UK and France and if the cost were too great or the action was not in their own interests they were unlikely e.g. Vilna dispute
- Economic sanctions were difficult to enforce - Member countries were reluctant to harm their own economy by ending trade. Also, not all nations were League members so 'sanctioned' countries could usually find new trading partners
- Did not have enough international power - USA and USSR weren't members and Germany and Japan left the League in 1933. Although it can be argued that Hitler and Mussolini were ruthless dictators who could not have been stopped by anyone
Why was the World Depression a reason for the failure of the League?
- The depression meant widespread poverty which meant that people were more likely to support extremist right-wing leaders in the hope that they would improve their governments and economies - e.g. the Nazis were elected in Germany in 1933, and Germany then left the League in 1933, making the League weaker
- International conflict - the depression was one of the main causes of the Manchuria Crisis in 1931 and also meant that countries like Britain and France were less likely to get involved in international conflict as they were concentrating on domestic issues, such as unemployment. This made the League a less effective peace-keeping body as they didn't have armies willing to sort out disputes
How did the Manchuria Crisis in 1931 weaken the League?
- Made the League look weak to dictators like Mussolini and Hitler, making them less scared to invade other countries e.g. leading to Mussolini's invasion of Abyssinia in 1935
- Japan left the League in 1933
- Because the League had failed to stop Japan in Manchuria in 1931-1933, Japan continued and invaded China in 1937
- Anti-Comintern Pact 1937
How did Mussolini's invasion of Abyssinia in 1935 weaken the League?
- It caused the League to look weak as its reputation was completely ruined as the sanction they had imposed on Italy had been ineffective and Italy had succeeded over this attempted intervention
- This success caused Italy to become more confident and led to Mussolini making agreements with another fascist dictator, Hitler. They made the Rome-Berlin Axis in 1936 then joined Japan in the Anti-Comintern Pact in 1937 - these unions made opposition against the League stronger
How was the structure of the League a weakness?
1) League Assembly - this part of the League should have had more power because it included all member countries of the League
- however, the Assembly only met once a year and all decisions had to be unanimous - so it was very difficult to make and carry out decisions if countries were in disagreements
2) Permanent Court of Justice - this was where disputes were supposed to be settled however it was difficult for them to be carried out or impost them on countries
- this was because the League had no army itself so member countries were reluctant to give their troops to fight in a dispute that didn't involve them
- economic sanctions were also ineffective because the USA was not a member of the League so would just fill the trading gap
Why did Mussolini invade Abyssinia in 1935?
1) Italy had been defeated by Abyssinia in 1896 and the Italians wanted revenge
2) Abyssinia was well positioned for Italy to get land in Africa
3) Mussolini had seen Japan get away with the Manchuria invasion despite the League's threats - he dreamed of making Italy a great empire again
Describe what happened during the Invasion of Abyssinia
1) October 1935 - Mussolini sent troops with heavy artillery and tanks to invade
2) The Abyssinian leader appealed directly to the League for help
3) The League imposed economic sanctions but delayed banning oil exports incase the USA didn't support them
4) Britain and France didn't close the Suez Canal to Italian ships - so supplies got through despite the sanctions
5) By May 1936, Italy had conquered all of Abyssinia
What were the difficulties with disarmament?
The Washington Naval Conference 1921 secured some agreement to reduce the number of warships but efforts to reach agreement at disarmament conferences in 1926, 1930 and 1932-1934 all ended without any agreement - now League member was willing to be the first to disarm and be left vulnerable to attack
What were the Locarno and Kellogg-Briand agreements?
Locarno 1925 - Germany accepted its western borders and any future alteration to the East would not be resolved by war
The Kellogg-Briand Pact 1928 - 45 nations agreed never to go to war again but this pact had no way to enforce it - was just a promise
Why did disarmament fail in the 1930s?
1) Hitler was secretly rearming causing other countries to rearm too
2) Countries were looking after themselves and ignoring the League e.g. in 1935 Britain allowed Germany to build up a navy without consulting allies or the League (Anglo-German Naval Agreement)
3) Plans for disarmament did not have ways of being achieved e.g. the bombing of people was prohibited but plans to abolish planes capable of bombing were defeated
4) Germany were not treated equally in terms of disarmament because of the Treaty of Versailles - countries in the League were divided on this and public opinion was that it was unfair
Describe what happened in Manchuria
1) Japan had a large army and navy. Since 1905, it had controlled the territory of the South Manchurian Railway
2) September 1931 - it used the excuse of a disturbance to take Mukden and send its troops to overrun the rest of Manchuria
3) The Japanese pretended to give Manchuria independence. They put a weak leader called Puyi (who'd been the last emperor of China) on the throne so they could control him
What was the League's response to the Manchurian Crisis?
- 1932: The League sent Lord Lytton to assess the situation. He produced a report, which said the Japanese were guilty of aggression and recommended their withdrawal so that Manchuria could become a semi-independent state. Japan kept Manchuria and withdrew from the League in 1933
- No economic or trade sanctions: The League wanted to keep good relations with Japan and USA was their main trading partner so sanctions would be pointless as the USA was not in the League
- No banning of arms sales: The member countries in the League could not agree. They were scared that Japan would retaliate and war would escalate
- Britain and France would not risk their own armies or navies in war with Japan. Only the USA or USSR would be strong enough to remove Japan but neither were members of the League