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The L of N was set up because Wilson wanted it more than anything else. He wanted the League to be a ‘world parliament’ where nations could sort out arguments. He wanted to make the world a better place. Stop wars. Improve people’s lives. Disarmament. Enforce the Treaty of Versailles. The United States did not join the League. The cartoon suggests that the Senate rejected the Treaty because it had been left out of negotiations. Americans did not want to get dragged into other countries’ problems. Forty-two countries joined the League at the start. In the 1930’s about 60 countries were member. This made the League appear strong. The most powerful countries in the world were not members. The USA did not want to join. The Russians refused to join they were Communists!! Germany was not allowed to join. This weakened the League. Britain and France were the main members. Italy and Japan were also members. These were the most powerful countries. Covenant – all members had promised to keep the peace (Article X) Condemnation – the League could tell a country it was doing wrong. Arbitration – the League could offer to decide between two countries. Sanctions – stopping trade The League could use its four powers to make countries do as it wanted. Theoretically, the league was allowed to use military force. The League did not have an army of its own. If a country ignored it, there was nothing the League could do. The absence of the US was catastrophic. 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 resistance. The concept of collective security depended on collective action. The absence of the three great powers limited the effectiveness of the League’s reaction in a crisis. 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. Germany developed weapons which could not be seen by League inspectors, they also trained large numbers of personnel. The disarmament conference in Washington. (organized by the US!) The Locarno Treaty between France and Germany which promised lasting peace. (Germany was not a member of the League!) The absence of the defeated countries meant that the League was a league of victors enforcing the T of V. Another serious problem was the fact that a number of important countries dropped out between 1919 and 1939. The different parts of the League were supposed to work together. In a crisis no-one could agree. 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 a year. Agencies (committees of the League): Court of International Justice – for small disputes Health (to improve world health) International Labor Organization (to try to get fair wages) Slavery (to end slavery) Refugees 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- interest. 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 considered very 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 issues. Collective Security Moral Persuasion Community of Power The cartoon is from 1936 and it is entitled “Moral Persuasion” 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 disputes. 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 self-interest. country. 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 nation. action. 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 nature. agree. 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 disputes. 1925. 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 security. 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 fight. ‘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 powers. 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 quotas. happened. Austria could not and The will to enforce the did not pay treaties was lacking or reparations. at best divided.
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