Sei sulla pagina 1di 19

CAUSES OF WW2:

LEAGUE OF NATIONS
CONTEXT:

WHY WAS IT CREATED? WHAT IS IT?


The League of Nations was created out of the The League of Nations was an international
horror of World War One. body tasked with facilitating greater
security and cooperation among nations.
The mass death on such a scale had not been
seen before and many countries’ governments Woodrow Wilson outlined to Congress a
and people wanted to avoid such atrocities in Fourteen Point Plan to enable an
the future. international body with the responsibility
and power to disarm international crises
Among the key aims, the League aimed to
and conflicts.
improve people’s working and living conditions
as it was generally believed that injustice and The seat of this international body would be
poverty were important causes of war. in Switzerland, a neutral nation, in the
hopes it would encourage discussion
instead of action

Woodrow Wilson’s address to Congress:

Where he called for a “general association of nations…formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual
guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.”
1.
DIFFERING VIEWS ON THE
OPERATION OF THE LEAGUE

authorize the League to take “any
action…to safeguard the peace”
HOW SHOULD IT OPERATE?

A world parliament
where A simple A strong League
representatives organisation that capable of enforcing
would meet regularly would meet during decisions with its
to decide on matter emergencies own army
which affected all of
them
THE PROS AND CONS OF EACH VERSION:

◆ Although France’s idea of a strong League would mean it could


be an effective force, the League was meant to be centred on
peace. Potentially, its own army could provoke another war.

◆ Britain’s simpler idea would mean that the League would merely
be dealing with emergencies rather than working on preventing
them from of occurring in the first place.

◆ The United States’ version of the League would be expensive and


complicated to organise; although it might have been the most
effective version in terms of keeping peace during the latter half
of the 1930s.
HOW WOULD IT FUNCTION

If one country were aggressive to another,


the League would force the aggressor to
back down by:
◆ Pressure of world opinion
◆ World trade ban (economic sanctions)
◆ Force if necessary (though the League
had no army)
Member states were to take ‘common
action’ to defend each other in the event of
an attack. This became known as ‘Collective
Security’.
2.
STRENGTHS OF THE LEAGUE
OF NATIONS
WHAT WORKED WELL?

◆ Most major powers joined the ◆ There was wide support for
League in the hopes of the idea of ‘collective
deterring another conflict, security’
totalling 58 nations by the ◆ Established committees to
1930s improve human rights
◆ To enforce its will, it could offer causes
arbitration through the Court of ◆ 4 powerful permanent
International Justice members
◆ The League could apply trade ◆ Equality of voting power
sanctions against countries and voice
that went to war
CASE STUDY: GREEK-BULGARIAN WAR 1925

THE PROBLEM LEAGUE ACTION RESULT


Fighting broke out on the The League Council ordered Both sides obeyed the
border between Greece and both sides to stop fighting League’s orders.
Bulgaria. and withdraw. Both Greece and Bulgaria
The Greek army invaded The League threatened accepted the League’s
Bulgaria. sanctions when the Greeks findings and followed the
Bulgaria appealed to the appeared reluctant to obey. required steps to ensure a
League to intervene. A League enquiry later found settled peace resume.
Greece to be at fault and
imposed a fine.
There were not many aspects of
the League of Nations that can
be considered “strengths” due
to its inevitable spectacular
failure.
3.
WEAKNESSES OF THE LEAGUE
OF NATIONS
WHY DID THE LEAGUE FAIL?

◆ Certain key nations did not join (e.g. USA) – ◆ Decision-making was slow because
others left (Germany, 1933; Russia joined in both the League Assembly and Council
1934, left 1939; Japan left 1932/3; Italy left required unanimous votes to take
1936) action – in some cases, aggressive
◆ No permanent military force countries had already been successful
◆ Economic sanctions (a staple of the League in their aims before the League could
response) were not highly effective without act
the support of the USA ◆ The United States and other key
◆ The League failed to achieve disarmament of states withheld their support/refused
all nations in the 1930s (one of the 4 principal to join
aims of the League) ◆ The League relied on goodwill and
◆ Key members (permanent members) of the persuasion to enforce its decisions
Council could veto action (e.g. Italy (1935-6 ◆ Many countries saw the League as a
(Abyssinia crisis)) and Japan (1931-2 ‘winners’ club (winners of World War
(Manchuria crisis)) to benefit themselves One)
◆ Over-ambitious aims
CASE STUDY: MANCHURIAN CRISIS 1931 - 1933

THE PROBLEM LEAGUE ACTION RESULT


Japan was a fledgling nation in the 1931: The League ordered the Japanese 1931: The Japanese government agreed. The
mid 1800s and was making great to withdraw their forces. Army refused. No withdrawal.
industrial strides. To fuel this 1932: The report outlined that the
1932: The League appointed the Lytton
industrial growth, they required VAST Commission to investigate. Japanese were guilty of illegally and
resources; more than they had in their forcibly seizing part of China’s territory and
territories. Across the Sea of Japan, that there was no Chinese support for the
China’s territory, ‘Manchuria’, was rich action. The report also suggested that
in minerals and had fertile land. Manchuria become a semi-independent
state.
Japan’s silk exports had collapsed due
to the Great Depression and needed to The League accepted the report Japan kept Manchuria.
create new revenue; farming. Japan and instructed its members to refuse
Manchuria as an effective buffer recognition of the Japanese territory
against communist USSR. ‘Manchuko’ and invited Japan to
return Manchuria to the Chinese. 1933: Japan left the League and
Japan saw ‘adding Manchuria to the
Empire’ as a means to an end and endured international isolation
annexed it in 1931. China appealed to until 1936.
the League for intervention.
SUPPORTING FACTORS

◆ The international community were hesitant to impose economic


sanctions in light of the Great Depression which had already
damaged world trade and any forms of economic sanctions
would deepen the wounds already created.
◆ The great powers of the world were unwilling to take military
actions for fear of repercussions. Examples of such inaction:
◆ Britain did not act for fear of revenge attacks on their
Pacific colony in Singapore.
◆ The U.S. was the most powerful country at the time, and as such
had economic ties to Japan and did not want to endanger their
interests in the region.
Mounting
international
tensions World
War Two League of
Nations
inability to
act and deter
conflict
The decline and ultimate failure of the League of
Nations in the 1930s reflected the unwillingness or
inability of Britain, France, and the United States to
oppose the increasingly nationalist-imperialist and
militaristic actions of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy,
and imperial Japan.