Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Why did the League Fail?

The League was perhaps the most exciting social and political experiment of ALL TIME, and its failure was a major setback in making the world a better place.

So why did it fail? The British politician Jack Straw, during a debate on whether Britain should go to war with Iraq (February, 2003), said he knew why:

  • The League (of Nations) failed because it could not create actions from its words. It could not back diplomacy with the credible threat and, where necessary, the use of force. So small evils went unchecked, tyrants became emboldened, then greater evils were unleashed. At each stage good men and women said 'not now - wait, the evil is not big enough to challenge'. Then, before their eyes, the evil became too big to challenge.

If you know anything about the events of the 1930s, you have to say that he has a point ... but then, he was saying this during a debate in which he was trying to convince MPs that they ought to go to war!

You will need to study the website - http://www.johndclare.net/league_of_nations8.htm,
and you may want to read - http://www.johndclare.net/league_of_nations1_Answer.htm - to get the views of different historians.


Why do YOU think the League failed?

Think about the different ideas, and consider the factual evidence which might be produced to support each one....

And then have your say here...

74 comments:

OWELER said...

I think that the league of nations failed because of a number of reasons, firstly the league didn't have America in it which was crucial because America was the biggest strongest country in the world and without them the league had no real power and was weak. The league also didn't have it's own army so it could not use force if it was needed, so the big countries weren't scared of the league but the league was scared of them this is also another weakness. During the Great Depression all of the countries in the league just thought about themselves and gaining more land than thinking about the league. The league was also too slow sometimes it took them just about 8 months to sort a simple problem out and by then it had already probably been sorted out, this made the league look like it was failing and the more the league failed the less people trusted the league and this made them pay less attention to the league and other countries would not ask it for help so th league had nothing to do, that is why i think the League of nations failed.

Aledle said...

I think the League of Nations failed because it didn't have a lot of power, and the power it did have was very weak. Sanctions, for example, had no successes at all. I think this was the League's strongest weakness. Linking to this, the strongest nation in the world, America, never joined. If it did, it would have had a lot more successes than it did. The structure of the League also let it down greatly - the secretariet was too small for all the work and could not cope. Also, it took too long for the League to take any action - in the Manchurian crisis, it took almost a year for the investigation to come through.

sean said...

i think the leauge failed because when ever there was a crisis the leauge would always take a year to decide on what they would do and the answer would be "get out of the country" the smaller countries would get out but the bigger ones would not the leauge were scared of the big countries because there was no big countrys in the leauge after japan left nearly all of the decisions made by the leauge were failures thank is why i think the leauge failed

amybal said...

Why it think the league failed.
The league of nations was a failure because i think didn't have an army and America wasn't with the league and America was claimed to be a greatest and most powerful country to the world.
in the 1930's when there was an economical depression, they were really selfish becasue during the manchurian crisis-it took them nearly a year for Lord Lytton to report on the situation of the Japaneese invasion. With the Abyssina crisis-they did nothing to help the struggling countries which were being invaded-they just thought of themselves and did nothing. People ignored the league and their trust was shaken in the league. Other countries were powerless when they couldn't ask the league for help becasue the league would do nothing for them.
That's why i think the league failed.

chaell said...

I think the leagues main reason of failing was because it was constantly threatened by powerful countries such as Japan and Italy. It began selling itself as a soft and vunerable target ' an easy push over'. It also failed because of its selfishness and individual greed all members wanted whats best for thir country and were only really bothered how it would affect them! Another reason was they hadnt the big powerful countrys such as America and Russia probably with theese the league would have been a sucess.

Anonymous said...

basically, the league failed because it was very weak. the league should have never been started. people took way to long to answer a problem.

adeel` said...

i think that the league of nation was a fantastic idea but there was something that when wrong bit by bit. the main reson why the league of nation failed was becuase the world most powerful country did not join who was U.S.A the main countrys that join where England and France then jappan join but it still was not a strong enough to make it powerful to take over and make world peace.

Anonymous said...

Well in fact the League maintained public support until the outbreak of World War II. The 1935 Peace Ballot showed that 97% of Britons wanted to stay in the League. while 95% supported the use of economic sanctions and 70& supported the use of military actions. So no the league wasnt forgot about. Also although the US never joined the League by the mid 1920s it had become informally connected and was involved in decision making.

Sangeeta said...

League was a very utopian and idealistic concept in the world where the war was basically fought to redivide the world and imperialism was strong. How could the strong member countries take fair decision when their interst will be at risk? Didnt the same happened with UNO in Korea, even when US was member.Could UN stop war in Vietnam? From the very inception the decisions were taken in favour of important and influential nations.Was the League really successful in Aaland?It becomes more clear when we read about Disarmament commission ? It was a good organaization to work as World health Organization.

Anonymous said...

I think the league failed for a number of reasons such as America not joining which made countries suspicious as to why if it was their idea, also the organisation of the league was poor also the membership meant countries could come and go as they pleased.

martin said...

I think that the league of nations failed because of a number of reasons, firstly the league didn't have America in it which was crucial because America was the biggest strongest country in the world and without them the league had no real power and was weak. The league also didn't have it's own army so it could not use force if it was needed, so the big countries weren't scared of the league but the league was scared of them this is also another weakness. During the Great Depression all of the countries in the league just thought about themselves and gaining more land than thinking about the league. The league was also too slow sometimes it took them just about 8 months to sort a simple problem out and by then it had already probably been sorted out, this made the league look like it was failing and the more the league failed the less people trusted the league and this made them pay less attention to the league and other countries would not ask it for help so th league had nothing to do, that is why i think the League of nations failed.

Adam said...

I think that the league of nations failed because of a number of reasons, firstly the league didn't have America in it which was crucial because America was the biggest strongest country in the world and without them the league had no real power and was weak. The league also didn't have it's own army so it could not use force if it was needed, so the big countries weren't scared of the league but the league was scared of them this is also another weakness. During the Great Depression all of the countries in the league just thought about themselves and gaining more land than thinking about the league. The league was also too slow sometimes it took them just about 8 months to sort a simple problem out and by then it had already probably been sorted out, this made the league look like it was failing and the more the league failed the less people trusted the league and this made them pay less attention to the league and other countries would not ask it for help so th league had nothing to do, that is why i think the League of nations failed.

Anonymous said...

i think some reasons the league failed are:
groups were leaving (italy for example) and important big countries like Russia came and left the league, also because of the league requiring an army from another country, and no one would want to due to venerability to attack from another country

someoneudontknow said...

Italy left the League in 1937. Few other countries left the League, but all of them realised that it had failed - instead they began to re-arm as fast as possible

j.louis said...

It was due to the Abyssinian crisis that the league lost all its credibility. From 1919 till 1929, the League was highly successful. In 1920 it solved a dispute between Sweden and Finland. In 1921 it successfully organized the division fo Silesia between Poland and Germany. It also solved a number of issues in Latin-America. Granted, there were numerous failures throughout the 1920s, but especially if you take into account the International Labour Organization and the other work that the League was doing, they were fulfilling many of the goals set out in its foundation. This shows that its shaky and idealistic origins from the Treaty of Versailles and, more importantly, Wilson's Fourteen Points, did not directly cause its failure. It was due to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, and a couple of years later the Italian colonial conquest of Abyssinia that caused the eventual failure of the league. After these two events, it is clear to everyone that the league can be ignored and that it has no authority on a global stage.
These two events caused the failure of the league, but the events themselves were not so much caused by the weak design of the league. They were caused by the fact that its important members were not willing to act decisively to follow up the decisions of the league. America had not joined, and the economic crisis made England and France reluctant to intervene, especially in Italy, with whom England was trading large amounts of oil.

The UN would not have done any better.

Anonymous said...

I think...
The League failed because it
WAS DUMB
That is to say:
Weak-no army
America never joined-trade sanctions became meaningless
Structure, which was confusing, and everyone disagreed and decisions had to be unanimous, so nothing was ever done
Depression made countries more likely to want power and land for money (like Japan)
Unsucsessful because every time it failed, it lost respect
Members were more interested in looking out for themselves than others, and finally
Big bullies like Mussolini and Hitler with aggressive foreign policies that were too strong for the league

Anonymous said...

I believe the league of nations failed due to the nature of people, that is to say self interest, greed and fear. this can be seen in the abyssinian crises where after Hitlers stationing of troops in the rhine land causing france to go into a panic leading them to abandon abyssinia to try and keep mussolini on side against hitler. This prooved that given the choice between themselves and others then they would of course protect themselves, this can also be seen in the reluctance of the britishto commit to any serious problem in the fear of losing the empire. Niether france or britain had the resources htat were needed to support the league and its sanctions because both needed trade and so the trade sanctions would not be imposed, even if imposed such as in the case of Abyssinia and the stopping of oil supplies the U.S.A could ignore sanctions and as with Italy they made it possible to continue their invasion. eventually it was through this self interest that led to the policy of appeasement and that was disastrous with Britain and france placating Hitler and eventually meaning he had the confidence to invade Poland.

Anonymous said...

I think that the league was worth having because it sorted out minor disputes that could have escalated into war. It also improved the world with commissions, health etc. However the league stuggled and failed with larger disputes, like corfu, because it did not have a definite and confident army (only the remains of britain's and france's)which therfore made it less intimidating to more powerful nations so they would dissmiss the league and do what they want

Anonymous said...

Congratulations u all read the o level text book but consider this how can you have a league of NATIONS when certain people do not consider others as humans and can humans be a nation. No. And why should something that if for the good of world peace have snooty rules on who is allowed in and who is not. Sure we would all like world peace but so would every miss America since 1920 so we cannot blame people for wanting this peace is just like any organization in the world. Based on good will. Any organization no matter how well run or ruled can be defeated by a determined aggressor or insufficient enforcement how can you blame people for not being on a 'team' that claims you must get involved in other people's disputes even if you have nothing to do with them ? This is just a rant. By the way letting off steam at something I have absolutely no strong feelings about :) hah that felt goooooood :)

Mr John D Clare said...

Anonymous - that was BRILLIANT and amusing! Can I make two less amusing points in reponse. Firstly, to say that you are absolutely right - to say that we want peace and will exert 'moral pressure' to achieve it is no different to Miss Worlds calling for peace, and thus we see why the League was unable to stop such as Hitler. But secondly, when you say that you don't really care that much, one realises why peace so often fails - because huge numbers of ordinary people just donlt care enough!

Anonymous said...

because few countries really wanted peace, and those who did were to scared to enforce it.

reyes said...

In my Oppinion, the League of Nations was a great idea however, the American president Wodroow Wilson was too idealistic and did not know how to implement it.

Also the strogest country, the USA was missing and was the key to the success of the organisation. The, in some way, bosses in the League were Britain and France. However, these two countries were very weakened by the Great War and cared more about their own economic problems than the rest of Europe's. Specially Britain, whose empire was large and needed greater protection.A good example of these was Italy; Britain wanted to keep in good terms with Italy because it was her main trading partner in oil.
Britain and France had no power to intimidate big countries and was probably the reason why it only functioned with small conflicts such as the Aaland Islands in 1921. However, when it came to stroguer countries such as Italy or Japan, it did nothing to avoid war.
Also the structure that formed the league was so muddled that action taken by the League was too slow. By then, most of the countries had already invaded or attacked the land seized and the League's popularity decended.
Also, the main members of the League were not a good example for the other countries. France and Britain betrayed it and Japan and Italy left.
Furthermore, disarmament was a fiasco because the only country that completely disarmed was Germany. Thishad no consequences at the time but Hitler used it later on to justify his rearmament. This failure particularly damaged the League's reputation in many countries, specially Germany.

On the other hand, the League succeded economically, making use of the Dawes Plan and fighting poverty, disease and injustice all over the world.It also improved working conditions and just like planned from the birth of the organisation.

Anonymous said...

the league of nations failed due to many factors but the organisation of the league and missing link of america meant that the league of nations was never going to work. America was the one who started and came up with league of nations but as soon as it came in tact, it didn't join and america was the strongest country in the world at that time.

Chay said...

I think league failed because of many different reasons. Such as, Britain and France having self interest. The league also suffered from weak powers such as not having an army. In addition, poor organisation meant the assembly only met once a year and was therefore ineffective. Others argue that the membership was too weak to be effective as the USA and other major powers were absent. Also the great depression made countries less cooperative and made countries try to get more land and power, the league also faced aggressive military fascist powers.

Amy said...

I think the league failed because of many reasons. One of these, Britain and France having self interest and doing things behind the leagues back. The league also suffered from weak powers such as not having an army also its sanctions weren't strong enough and inefficient. In addition, poor organisation meant the assembly only met once a year and was therefore ineffective. Others argue that the membership was too weak to have control as America,Germany and USSR were absent. Another point, the great depression (1929/1930)equalled countries into being less co-operative and made countries desperate into trying to get more land and power, the league also faced aggressive military and fascist powers.

Ryan H said...

I think the League of Nations failed due to many reasons; some of these were due to its poor organisational skills. This was because of its secretariat being too small and always in a muddle. Another reason why it failed was because of the Wall Street Crash. This made all the countries desperate. This was a problem and to make it worse the leagues members were turning hostile. An example of this was when Japan invaded Manchuria. China asked the League for help so they sent a delegation with Lord Layton. However it took 1 year to report back. When it did it showed Japan to be blamed. So the League had a vote and every one bare Japan voted for them to withdraw. But Japan did not like this and walk out of the League. This was a problem for the League as it was a president which meant since Japan got away with it other countries might think they can get away with doing the same thing. So in conclusion I think the League was doomed to fail because of its poor organisational skills and the untimely arrival of the world depression.

Anonymous said...

i think that the league of nations was doomed to fail from the start for many reasons,the first reason was because of America not being a member which lead to them loosing out of a lot of possible powers they may have had, these weak powers include the league of nations having no army so if any country e.g japan wanted to start a war with the league they would have been ruined as they as they would have not been able to defend them selves. Another reason why the leAgue was doomed to fail- was because the league took place during the great depression meaning that countries were going to he paying no attention to each other and not co-operating,this also was going to lead to self determination.
To conclude my opinion is still that the league was doomed to fail although it had 60 members,it had more reasons as to why it would fail like I have stated above. J.J

alice said...

I think the league of nations failed for many reasons. First of all it was weak because of the membership, it didn't have America as a country and it didn't have Germany either until later on. America was a very powerful country and without it, the league looked weak. However the league did have Britain and France in it.

The league of Nations had many failures such as the Abyssinian crisis and not stopping Japan from taking over Manchuria this gave it a bad reputation. Also there was no real leaders so Britain and France had self interest issues and sanctions could not be put in place.

The league was slow to make decisions and very unorganised, the council only met 4-5 times a year and they only held an assembly once year. The lack of power meant that the League could not enforce its decisions.

Luke G said...

I think that the league failed because of the memberships although the league at the start had 42 members it did not have the key member america.America was the most powerful and economicaly built out of all the big three Woodrow Wilson was the main driving force behind the league of nations he totally supported the idea but the US senate disagreed with the idea of sanctions thus america did not join the league of nations.America would have been the main country to sort out world affairs. without america joining the league did not have the strength to stand on its own.

andrew n said...

i think that the league failed for many reasons, it was set up the completely wrong time due to the upraise of communism and fascist military powers. second of all America wasn't a member of the league even though it was President Woodrowe Wilson idea and was part of his 14 points at the treaty of Versailles. At the time America was the most powerful country in the world and without them in the league Britain and France could not provide as much power by there selves. the only powers that the league had were very weak, this is probably because of the league not having a army. Sanctions that were enforced by the league were often ignored and there was nothing that the league really could do. the leagues organisation was a muddle and they could not do anything in time ect; when the league sent lord layton to china during the manchurian crisis it took a year to get him there!

andrew n said...

i think that the league failed for many reasons, it was set up the completely wrong time due to the upraise of communism and fascist military powers. second of all America wasn't a member of the league even though it was President Woodrowe Wilson idea and was part of his 14 points at the treaty of Versailles. At the time America was the most powerful country in the world and without them in the league Britain and France could not provide as much power by there selves. the only powers that the league had were very weak, this is probably because of the league not having a army. Sanctions that were enforced by the league were often ignored and there was nothing that the league really could do. the leagues organisation was a muddle and they could not do anything in time ect; when the league sent lord layton to china during the manchurian crisis it took a year to get him there!

sbresnen said...

well although their were a number of reasons and causes of the league of nations failing,but i think that the biggest cause and posibly the most important reason for the failure was because of america not being a member of the league.
i have came to this conclusion because although at the start of the creation of the league they did have 42 countries enlisted including 2 very powerful countries at its head (britain and france)although they had a lot of power and influence throughout the world they werent anywhere near as respected as the superpower america.furthermore america's president "woodrow wilson" was the founder of the treaty of versailes and the league of nations, many countries did not join the league in its baby stages as they were either not allowed to join such as the war blammed germany or the communist russia or simply did not want to be apart of britain and frances affairs. if the league did have its keystone in the bridge then i beleive america would have easily joined the countries of the world together and the league might have actully forfilled its goal as a peace keeping organization

CSJ said...

I think the League of Nations failed because of its organisation being flawed such as the secreteriat being too small, the League not having enough power, as it did not have an army and the League of Nations needed American support for sanctions and key countries in the League such as Italy and Japan betrying it. Mainly though I think it was unforseeable events such as the Great Deperession which gave rise to aggresive, militiristic and fascist goverments which caused the Leagues downfall.

Matty said...

The league failed to act from the start through self intrest and membership. Britain and France had strong self-intrests mainly in money and trade because of the great depression. Its membership was not the best because of the absense of USA. Economic sanctions never worked as when the league stopped trading with a country the counrty started trading with the USA. When Italy attacked and conqured Abyssinia the league did nothing to act and because of this the League of nations failed as a whole.

Ben s tanfield said...

I think the league failed for three reasons,one was the self interest of Britain and France.two was the lack of power of the league as it had no standing army and member countries would not invest soldiers.three the organisation of the league as they only met once every year. the league was run by its 4 permanent members all were self interested.

Ben s tanfield said...

I think the league failed for three reasons,one was the self interest of Britain and France.two was the lack of power of the league as it had no standing army and member countries would not invest soldiers.three the organisation of the league as they only met once every year. the league was run by its 4 permanent members all were self interested.

Darren said...

I think that the leauge of nations failed because it was poorly organised especily in the council because. It was led by mainly 3 countrys britain and france and italy these countrys are all selfintrested the leauge of nations also had no standing army so they had no strengh and couldnt up hold a milatery sanction if it came to that

Rhianna A said...

I think the League of Nations failed for several reasons, but the main one was the fact it was run by people who cared, not for the good of others, but what was best for them. Self-interest played a key part in the failure, along with VERY poor organization and power. There was also the membership, which lacked key members such as the USA and the USSR.

Britain and France were concerned for themselves and their own wellbeing from the beginning, which meant that they would not act if it harmed themselves. The organization was also important, as, at one point, it took the League 17 MONTHS to make a report. The power comes next, as, because the League didn't have a standing army to enforce the final sanction, military. It wasn't likely that Britain, France, Italy or Japan would donate any of their forces to it, after all.

Membership also played a key part, as the League lacked important members such as the USA and the USSR. In one image, by David Low, the USA was depicted as the 'keystone' of the League, and the USSR was not part of it due to the fear of communism spreading.

Lara said...

i think that the league failed because of many reasons, one of which being the usa were not a part of them and they were a necessary part the league needed as they were powerful and with out them the league weren't very powerful. Another reason being they had poor organization as their assembly only met once a year and there sanctions were never agreed on as they hardly ever worked, as they had no standing army to enforce military sanctions, the offending country could trade with the USA as that was not a member and had good trade industries. Also the depression made sure that the other countries were more interested in getting more land and power and finally the majority of the leagues members were VERY self interested, only thinking about their own well being and not looking out for the league.

Lara said...

i think that the league failed because of many reasons, one of which being the usa were not a part of them and they were a necessary part the league needed as they were powerful and with out them the league weren't very powerful. Another reason being they had poor organization as their assembly only met once a year and there sanctions were never agreed on as they hardly ever worked, as they had no standing army to enforce military sanctions, the offending country could trade with the USA as that was not a member and had good trade industries. Also the depression made sure that the other countries were more interested in getting more land and power and finally the majority of the leagues members were VERY self interested, only thinking about their own well being and not looking out for the league.

Jenny said...

the League was a fail because it had poor organisation and its members only cared about their own interests.

It didnt use the right sanctions and was to slow in making decisions so it wasnt very well run.

But it did some god stuff to.

Jenny said...

its meant to say good stuff

Ross L said...

The leauge failed because of a few reasons. 1st reason was because membership.USA wasent in the league even though woodrow wilson came up with the idea in his 14 points. 2nd reason was self interset. Britan and France where making deal with italy about Abyssinia behind the leagues back.3rd reason organisation.The league only met once a year and when it did all votes had to be unanimous.4th the league had no army to help if they needed it.

This is why i think the league failed in the 1930's

Michal said...

I personally think that the League of Nations has failed because of multiple reasons.The fact that the USA didn't join the league was a major blow to the leagues authority amongst other nations.It was also not as damaging for a country if economic sanctions were enfoced by the league as it could still trade we the USA who was a large trading partner for most nations.Another problem with the leagues sanctions was that even though the league could place a millitary sanction on a country they had no standing army to enforce it.Finally i think there was a flaw in the league organisation because the council and the assembly didn't meet often enough to talk about constantly arising issues.Another reason why i think the leagues organisation was flawed is because all of the leagues decisions had to be uanonymous which made it hard to pas aany meaningful law as therfe was always one nationbound to disagree.In conclusion i think the league could have worked out if it didnt have as many as many things wrong with it.

LissyHart said...

I think the League failed because the USA was not was involved in it and they were the strongest nation in the world. Britain was afraid of Germany because Germany still had plans.

Ricky vine said...

I think that the league of nations failed for a number of reasons:
America wasnt part of the league, and this caused problems such as the desisions that were being made, especially because countries thought about the desisions that they were making after thinking about themselves first.
Mainly during the great depression, all of the countries thought of themselves before anyone else.
The leagues desisions took time, 8 months at times, just to sort simple problems out.
They couldnt use any military sanctions as they didnt even have a army to enforce.
The membership wasnt organised well as countries could leave and join as they please. this meant that if a country did something wrong they could just leave whenever they wanted to.
Overall, the league wasnt very useful and was always doomed to fail.

KieranN said...

I think the league failed because they only acted in self interest and failed to retain key members in the league. Also, the treaty of versailles was very harsh and persuaded germanys allies in the league to doubt some of the leagues decisions.

Rachel G said...

In my opinion the main reason the league failed was because of Britain and France's self first policies, self first policies were mainly lead by Britain and France this ment when country's such as Manchuria and Abysinnia were in danger Britain and France were mor concerned about their empire surrounding the endangered country. This is in my opinion the main reason that the League of Nations failed.

Lauraa. said...

I think the league of nations was doomed to fail because woodrow willson created the league and decided that america wouldnt join. This was a bad thing for the league because america was the most strongest and powefulest country. The league didnt come up with alot of ideas but they came up with sanctions wich were moral,economic and militray. The league didnt have an army so it couldnt attack if any thing happend. The league was doomed to fail from the very beginging. All the countires left in the end accept Britian and France

KieranN said...

I think that the league failed because it acted in self interest and failed to persuade important countries into the league like the usa and germany.

Anonymous said...

I believe the leage failed because of a number of reasons, one of these reasons was the lack of ability to properly inforce sanctions, Britain refused to issue economic sanctions against Japan because of self-interest.
The leage also did not include the USA which was the biggest and by far the strongest nation, the league also did not include Germany or Russian until later on, these two nation both left, Russia left in 1939 and Germany in 1933.

Gwendolyn said...

The league of nations failed because by definition the league was already a walking contradiction. I mean, do you seriously expect countries to compromise the interests of their own nations for other people? Personally, I would never waste the lives on my soldiers on other people's problems. Those delegates and governments at the conferences are all selfish and just looking out for their own under a thin political veil of fancy words, formalities, and social etiquette.
Secondly, I don't think the effectiveness of trade sanctions are worth discussing to begin with because, especially during the Great Depression, in the end trade sanctions only harm the countries that impose them (so they're always imposed halfheartedly) and the people of the nation they are imposed on. And since most aggressive states trade sanctions are used on are dictatorships, dictators really don't care about the wellbeing of their people and as long as the sanctions don't affect them personally who cares? A dictator can increase taxes or seize property or do whatever they want in order to maintain their cushy luxurious lives as supreme overlords so the sanctions are useless and the victims are the innocent civilians. Just look at Burma!

marwat said...

I am surpised as to why US President Woodrow Wilson proposed to set up a League of Nations when he himself did not join it...I believe that it failed right from its birth when Wilson refused to join it..!

Mr John D Clare said...

That's an error, marwat. wilson did not refuse to join the League. Lodge, Borah and the other refused to join the League (at least on Wilson's terms), and Wilson worked very hard (worked himself,literally to death) to try to persuade the Americans to join. This webpage - http://www.johndclare.net/America2.htm - tells you all about it.

Alyssa Monjardin said...

Hello, my name is Alyssa Monjardin, and I am from Yuma Arizona in the united states of america. I go to Kofa high school and I am a freshman. We have been using your website in my world history class to study WW1,the league of nations, and much more. This website is very helpful and it helped me better under stand how the league failed. Thank you for your time(;

Anonymous said...

In my opinion i think that there were a lot of factors that led to the failure of the League of Nations.
It aims were to improve people's lives, enforce the treaties and the biggest of all, disarmament. However for any of this to have been achieved without the military power of the USSR and the boycott trading power of America was merely impossible. One of its main issues was the fact that the league had no army. Britain believed that this was a good thing to some extent as it gave the right image for the league - a peace loving union. However, France thought that having an army of its own would have only benefited the league in imposing more threatening sanctions. Clemenceau is proven right when the failure of the league occurs as it fails to act efficiently against the Abyssinian Crisis in 1936. The league's only power is to enforce sanctions against Italy but even then it was not accomplished to its full potential since America was not part of the league and it was the only country big and powerful enough to cause the crippling of any nations economy. It could also be suggested that Britain and France were more interested in their own economies than in the welfare of other nations'. For instance, Britain delayed its sanctions of oil supplies to Italy when it realized that this would in effect cause around 30,000 men in its oil factories to be unemployed. This proves how much little focus the main countries had on the issues that arose in the League of Nation. Consequently, Mussolini invaded Abyssinia and so the leagues' motto of 'protecting all nations big and small' was never fully achieved. It could be considered that this was deeply affected by the fact that the league only met once a year which meant that it was not able to resolve emergency issues because all sanctions had to be passed unanimously.
There was significant times when the importance of the League was to the test. The Hoare and Laval Pact had tarnished the League's image. The British and French foreign ministers went behind the League's back and tried to appease Mussolini by agreeing to give 2/3 of Abyssinia without consulting the other league members or the independent country itself. This in many ways shows how insignificant the league had turned out to be that even its main members were acting against it.

Lydia said...

The League of Nations as a unit was not a strong one, for example without defence mechanisms in the form of an army they had no way to actually enforce what they were trying to do so working with small nations the League worked fine but faced major issues when dealing with large countries such as Italy. Large nations began to simply say no to the League because the League had no way that they could intervene. As soon as countries started to refuse the league everyone recognised how powerless the League of nations actually was. THe League's strongest period was in the 1920s and the reason for this was that moral levels were high but as times passed into the 1930s during the period of economic downfall because of the Wall Street Crash and the slump in World trade which eventually led into the depression. Obviously, at the this time the moral was not high and there was a tense atmosphere of looming conflict. When people were not as prepared to be messed around with by the League they didn't cope quite as well. The Abyssinian crisis was the final blow that the League took though in which the League talked to Mussolini but he used the time to send an army to Africa. The league suggested a plan to give part of Abyssinia to Italy. Mussolini ignored the league and invaded Abyssinia. The Abyssinian emperor Haile Selasssie went to the league to appeal for help but it did nothing else. In fact Britain and france secretly agreed to give Abyssinia to Italy within the Hoare-Laval pact. Italy conquered Abyssinia and the league failed. Later in 1946, the League met in Geneva and formally abolished itself. The British delegate, Robert Cecil said;"The League is dead. Long live the United Nations".

Rhubarb said...

The Wall Street Crash, and the resulting economic pitfalls. This caused the selfishness of the countries all over the World, and led to both of the Crises of the 30s. Also, it may have helped Adolf Hitler in his rise to power.

Anonymous said...

I am looking at why the league failed in my history class, mainly concerning Mussolini's invasion of Abyssinia. I am studying the cartoon by David Low titled "The New Member", published in The Star newspaper on the 11th of Sept 1923, but i need to find out what the main message is and it's quite complicated. Please can you help? Thank you.

Mr John D Clare said...

The date is Sept 1923 - France had invaded the Ruhr in January, and in August the Corfu crisis occurred. the cartoon is simply saying that the League was having to cope with a new issue ... the possibility of war.
If you ever have problems like this, your best solution is to join the History Help forum at http://www.schoolhistory.co.uk/studentforum//

mr blogger said...

the league of nations failed because of many reasons. firstly i dint have much power as USA was not part of the league. secondly the league failed becuase it failed to stand up against big superpowers such as italy in the corfu incident, puls it was more interested in the problems back in their countrys to get involved. if the league had been more aggressive from the start some of the main failures would have been avoided.

Anonymous said...

i think THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS DID PRETTY GOOD....

Ladnereuropa said...

The League of Nations failed for multiple reasons. First of all the country that created it (AMERICA) was not even part of it. Second, They were extremely slow at responding to conflict in other countries which was clearly portrayed by the lack of a response in Italy around the 20's. Now the League of Nations was a fantastic idea that was not executed correctly.

waseem chhadat said...

i think the league failed because they were not strong enough and had too many conditions and also they didnt have america this would have been a great asset to the league because america had lots of money and power

Anonymous said...

A lot of people say that one of the main reasons the League failed was that the U.S. did not join. However, according to Margaret McMillan, in her book Paris:1919, the U.S. wasn't a superpower at the time. At best, it was equal to European nations. Going with that view would implicate other strong nations that didn't join for the failure of the League of Nations, like Russia or even Germany.

Matthew Kandemwa said...

i think the league failed because when they judged they used favour. they looked at the country were they had economic or social interests and would give a light judgement on that particular country so that they would not upset the country

Anonymous said...

The failure of the league of Nations did not rely on one problem- a number of factors led to the league being seen as a hopeless attempt to 'maintain peace' and 'unite al nations'. The established aims of the League of Nations for starters, were disarmament and the prevention of any conflict or war between nations. Due to the unfortunate time of the economic depression that had a knock on effect to all nations, many aggressors obviously choose this time- when their country was suffering- to increase and expand their empires. It was inevitable that not nation was going to try and increase its economy, and just because of the existence of the League saying how peace can be kept, it did not ensure that this was going to be followed by all members. Any country was able to go against the league, it was an organisation without an army, the aggressors such as Mussolini who were increasing their countries empire should have been the ones who were scared of what the league could do to them by the policy of collective security- acting as a whole nation against one aggressor. However this was not the case, in fact the league felt intimidated by the aggressor, they could not control the aggressor because they did not have an army, they could not impose economic sanctions and the absence of the USA made the league less intimidating to stop. There was no threat towards each of the aggressors that would of made them want to stop invading the other countries. Whereas if the USA was in the League this would have been a different story; the USA being the most powerful country in the world would have intimidated the aggressors and been able to impose stronger economic sanctions which would of not created a big impact on their economy as much.
The League was an ineffective organisation that contained unrealistic aims, no country was going to put the benefits of others in front of their own; members were not giving the league the will it needed to succeed. For example the council which was the peace keeping role of the league contained the 4 main members; France, Britain, Italy and Japan, the Manchuria Crisis where Japan went against the rules of the league and invaded Manchuria and the Abyssinian crisis in 1936 which was Italy going behind the League and invading Abyssinia was a prime example how even 2 out of the 4 main roles at the beginning of the League did not see it as being successful in future. Also Britain were not enthusiastic enough during the League of Nation; despite the fact we played a key role in attempting to stop aggressors along with France; we were more interested in the wealth of our own country and put this first instead of what was best for the League. And for France their main intention within the League was to maintain a weak Germany, which still shows they did not want an outbreak of another war.

Anonymous said...

Anyone have any ideas why Japan might be the reason why the League failed help please??

Mr John D Clare said...

How Japan helped the League to fail?
See:
http://www.johndclare.net/league_of_nations8.htm
reason 7.

Rashida Uddin said...

Personally, I think that it was a chain of events and factors which ultimately built up to the League's failure. First and foremost, USA was not a member of the league. This should have been a forewarning to the other powers yet they still carried on, USA was an influential, powerful country at the time, without its membership, it had decreased the authority that the League had. Countries felt that it wasn't worth taking heed of what the league had to say, since it didn't really have much influence on the world.
Then came in the powers, well if you can call them powers... some of these powers were utterly useless, the moral condemnation? Except from hurting countries' egos, it did nothing. However some of these powers could have been effective, if they were thought out properly. The thing was with these powers, if you were not in the league you could do what you want essentially, you did not have to listen to the league. If it was made all inclusive, it would've meant that economical sanctions would've worked instead of setting sanctions but then having countries like USA still trading oil and coal to the aggressing countries, the sanctions having no effect on them whatsoever. The army could have also worked but the league had no army....
Britain and France (influential members of the league)'s self interest also played a big part in the League's failure. Some of their interests were to keep their own countries safe by sweetening up leader to ensure no war and them not agreeing to send their armies in times of crises because they had not wanted to spend money on other countries due to the Great Depression. If they carried out their roles properly, they could have salvaged the leagues reputation as what they did in order to maintain their interests, completely destroyed it.
The Great Depression, made quite a bit of an impact of countries' cooperation. People were wary that the sanctions would mean a further deterioration to all countries' economy. It also made America send out their own sanctions which made Japan want to expand causing the Manchurian crisis, it's a cause. An ignition to an inferno which the League could not put out.
The failure of the Manchurian crisis led to other world leaders thinking that they could get away with it too. The fast decrease of the League's powers started to occur now. The Abyssinian crisis happened as a result of Mussolini thinking that he could get away with it... and he did. See, the sanctions had not worked because of USA not being in the league, the British and French self interest issues also let them down, with the Hoare-Laval agreement, which destroyed the leagues remaining authority.
All of this happened because the League wasn't properly co-ordinated or directed, which could have been done if USA was a member, with Woodrow Wilson (the person coming up with the idea)being the brains of it all. With this the chain of failure has been completed, it shows that everything had played an equally significant role in the inevitable League's failure, and everything was linked to everything else making reasons entangle with each other, which must have made a really messed up chain...

Not Gustav Stressman said...

I think the death of Gustav Stressman (a hero) lead to the downfall of cooperation in Europe. He was the only man with the foresight to realise how important the League was.

Dhruv Raghu said...

I think the un needed more power like the peacekeeping force in the un. Also decisions were extremely slow as everyone had veto power. It showed equality but the league couldn't get to the point fast. Any argument against for example japan, japan could veto and the decisions would be put off. The league did make a rule that if a country didn't care about sanctions(the 2nd last option if any country endangered peace)the would take military action provided by all 59 countries but the countries were in argument about who will send army first. So summarizing all my points, the league didn't have the power to enforce decisions and every country had veto power(unlike the un- only the big 5 have veto).

Dhruv Raghu said...

just to add, if America had joint,the league would have been a bit more successful but not completely.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I think South Africa could have done more to prevent the failure of the League. If you think about the geographical location, and all the assets they had during the time period, they could have easily been the military force needed to enforce the League.