The L of N was set up
because Wilson wanted
it more than anything
He wanted the League
to be a ‘world
nations could sort out
He wanted to make the
world a better place.
Enforce the Treaty of
The United States did
not join the League.
The cartoon suggests
that the Senate rejected
the Treaty because it
had been left out of
Americans did not want
to get dragged into
joined the League at
In the 1930’s about 60
This made the League
The most powerful
countries in the world
were not members.
The USA did not want to
The Russians refused to
join they were
Germany was not
allowed to join.
This weakened the
Britain and France
were the main
Italy and Japan were
These were the most
Covenant – all members
had promised to keep
the peace (Article X)
Condemnation – the
League could tell a
country it was doing
Arbitration – the
League could offer to
decide between two
Sanctions – stopping
The League could use
its four powers to make
countries do as it
league was allowed to
use military force.
The League did not
have an army of its
If a country ignored it,
there was nothing the
League could do.
The absence of the US
The US was the
wealthiest nation in the
world and had the
greatest potential to
intervene in the interest
of maintaining peace.
The absence of the USA
meant that challenges to
the status quo
established at Versailles,
would meet limited
The concept of
The absence of the
three great powers
effectiveness of the
League’s reaction in a
The Treaty of Rapallo
demonstrated how the
League had no recourse.
It also illustrated that
the disarmament clause
of the T of V was dead
in the water.
weapons which could
not be seen by League
inspectors, they also
trained large numbers
(organized by the US!)
The Locarno Treaty
between France and
peace. (Germany was
not a member of the
The absence of the
meant that the League
was a league of
victors enforcing the T
problem was the fact
that a number of
dropped out between
1919 and 1939.
The different parts of
the League were
supposed to work
In a crisis no-one
Assembly – the main
meeting of the League
met once a year.
Its main problem was
that decisions had to be
unanimous, which was
very difficult to achieve.
Council – a small group
of the more important
nations – Britain,
France, Italy and Japan
plus some other
countries met 4-5 times
Agencies (committees of
Court of International
Justice – for small disputes
Health (to improve world
Organization (to try to get
Slavery (to end slavery)
Secretariat – was
supposed to organize the
League but failed
This was the C.S. is a more abstract
cornerstone of the L of concept.
N. It does not specify
Article X – all nations where threats come
would protect the from.
other members It assumes that all
against aggression. nations will see each
No more alliance challenge in the same
systems or to defend light.
one’s own self-
Not all nations see It failed because it
every crisis in the asked nations to give
same way. up their freedom of
It failed as a concept action.
because it ignored It also asked nations
reality. to enforce policies
It required a level of they disagreed with.
altruism that humans Or intervene against
had not yet been countries they were
capable of. friends with.
The league could not be
collective if three of the
largest nations were not
members of the League.
The UK and France
could not agree on their
treatment of Germany.
It was likely they would
not agree on any major
Community of Power
The cartoon is from
1936 and it is entitled
What was it saying
about the League?
The weakness of It would have called on
collective security was nations to support the
demonstrated by the victims of aggression as
fact that it was determined by the
necessary to reinforce League.
the obligation of the The same thing
league members to happened with the
resist aggression. Geneva Protocol for the
Draft treaty of Mutual Pacific settlement of
Assistance in 1923 – International Disputes.
supported by France This would have
but rejected by the UK enforced compulsory
and its dominions. arbitration in all
Few members of the There was widespread
League were willing to opposition to using
take on the open-ended military force to resolve
commitments that other countries
collective security disputes.
entailed. Especially if the
The main reason being aggressor was a large
Also after WW1 the This was true of the
prospect of armed Corfu dispute in 1923.
intervention would not This was led by
gain support from the Mussolini and members
population of any of the League took no
An Italian general was It told Greece to give
killed while he was some money to the
doing some work for League.
the League in Greece. Mussolini refused.
Mussolini was angry The League changed its
with the Greeks and decision told Greece to
invaded Corfu. apologize and pay
The Greeks asked the money to Italy.
League to help. The Greeks did as the
The Council met and League said and then
told Mussolini to leave Mussolini gave Corfu
Corfu. back to Greece.
It was a concept that However, if there was
attracted great to be collective
popular support but security then the
nothing of a concrete collective has to
It was an illusion in The world in the
which desperate 1920’s and 30’s was
populations wanted far from agreement on
to believe. many fronts.
In the early years of Success: The Aaland
the league it was Islands, Upper Silesia
called on to intervene and the Greco-
in a number of Bulgarian War of
Its record of success is Failures: The Seizure
mixed. It allows us to of Fiume, Vilna, the
understand the Russo-Polish War, the
strengths and Corfu incident and
weaknesses of the the Ruhr invasion.
League and collective
Greek soldiers were It condemned the
killed in a fight on the Greeks and told them
border between to leave Bulgaria.
Greece and Bulgaria. The Bulgarian govt
The Greeks were sent orders for their
angry. soldiers not to fight
Bulgaria asked the back.
League to help. The Greeks did as the
The Council of the League said and left
League met. Bulgaria.
Greece and Bulgaria are
fighting like Tweedle-
dum and Tweedle –dee.
The League, like the
dove of peace stops the
‘Just then came down a
monstrous dove whose
force was purely moral,
Which tuned the heroes
hearts to love and made
them drop their quarrel.
The antagonists were
small or medium
These powers were
usually unwilling to
resort to violence.
This allowed the
League to negotiate
and enforce a
settlement which both
parties would accept.
The dispute involved a Italy was a major power
major power that refused and when she resorted to
to submit to the League. violence the league could
Countries decided to do nothing.
resort to violence and not This was the case when a
seek peaceful solutions. major power pursued a
The Corfu incident was a policy in contravention of
major indicator of the the League.
problems the league faced. Peacekeeping would only
Greece complained that prevail in the disputes of
there seemed to be one set smaller countries
of rules for small countries provided that the stronger
and a different set of rules members could agree on a
for big countries. course of action.
In the absence of the US In the dispute between
it was vital that the Turkey and Greece
remaining powers were 1920-23, GB and France
in agreement on major took opposite sides.
issues. France supported
This was not the case. Poland in Russia and
The British govts of the Silesia, GB did not.
1920’s did not really GB also had major
support European problems in Ireland and
settlements. the Empire so it did not
focus on upholding the
interests of the League.
The Dutch did not Poland did not accept
give up the Kaiser. her frontiers.
Germany did not Italian troops did not
surrender war evacuate Fiume.
criminals. Turkey did not accept
She did not disarm or the Treaty of Sevres.
meet reparations Nothing much
Austria could not and The will to enforce the
did not pay treaties was lacking or
reparations. at best divided.