The League of Nations originatedthrough the devastation which associates to First World War. Formed at ParisPeace Conference, the League’s Covenant was embedded in the text of theVersailles Treaty created by the United States of America President WoodrowWilson. The revolution of heavy Machinery for example submarines, tanks hasprompted the formation of League of Nations on the 10 January 1920 to maintainpeace and security. The American President Woodrow Wilson who urged that”what the world need was not a balance of power, but a community of power,not organized rivalries, but an organized common peace” (Jeffrey H, PeterH, Shahin M, Lloyd P, World Politics p49). The League failure to prevent SecondWorld War did not destroy the hope of creating an international organization,but a chance to learn mistake from the past hence the creation of UnitedNations.
This essay, we would explain why the League of Nations failed and alsohow they succeeded. President Woodrow Wilson fourteen points was a combination of domesticand international interest for example free trade, democracy and prevent warthrough diplomacy, collective security and improves welfare. The collectiveprotection of the League of Nations sought to preserve the “territorialstatus quo as it existed when the League of Nations was established in1919” (Hans J, 1993 p291). Those Nations that were defeated during theFirst World War opposed the status quo, making it very difficult for the Leagueof Nations to function. Russia (Soviet Union) and the United States had adifferent opinion regarding the status quo.
France and its allies thatbenefited mostly the status quo meant the League of Nations collective securityis not fair and doomed to fail. League of Nations failed because Russia andUnited States were not members, as well as Britain and France who were notstrong enough to impose a sanction on aggressive Nations or collectivesecurity. If collective security is to work, then the regulation of sanction mustbe credible to warring Nations. That is, for example, the League Nations mustpunish those blatant acts of aggressors collectively.
Collective security neverbecomes effective. The other reason why the League failed is that Japan invaded part ofChinese territory called Manchuria in 1931. No League member condemned theaction Japan took or perhaps stopped the invasion. It was one of thesignificant obstacles the League had to deal with because Japan is highlyrespected regarding power. “The League’s systems of discussion,arbitration and guarantees were at too great a distance from the realities ofpower politics” ( Jeffrey H, Peter H, Shahin M, Lloyd P, World Politicsp50).
All the members of the League had one vote each, and they could havevoted against the invasion of Japan, but they did not, which lead to the answerof the question why the League of Nation failed. In 1935, Mussolini’s Italyinvasion of Ethiopia was the only unsuccessful collective security action theLeague of Nations took. “The League lack teeth, the League failed because itbecame troublingly clear that it was not having the desired effect”. (Lynn H,1990 p48). Mussolini was not being told to follow the law by the League ofNations, instead carried on with his illegal activities that were a failure tothe League of Nations. Mussolini decided to increase power in invading westernAbyssinia, although “in 1928, Italy concluded a treaty of constant peace andperpetual friendship with Abyssinia binding the two signatories not to engageunder any pretext” (Henig R 2010 p159). But this did not stop his wishes ofinvading the Abyssinia. Hundred Abyssinia and thirty Italian militaries werekilled.
Abyssinia requested the League of Nations for help. It took nine monthsfor the League member to respond and by then Italian force was in and aroundthe Abyssinia. Some League members supported in favour of economic sanctionwhile others military sanction. For example, Britain supported collectiveaction against Italy, while France wants peacefully since they believe “thatMussolini could contain Germany expansion” (Henig R 2010 p159).
This lack ofcooperation among the League members when dealing with security has limited thefunction of League of Nation, thus failure. Another reason the League of Nations failed was the inability to reducethe armament of its members. Many scholars believed that “arms build-upbefore 1914 had been one of the prime causes of the First World War”. (HenigR.2010 p109).
The spread of new technology that led to fear and insecurity suchas rapid-firing guns, heavy artillery, and aircraft had caused much civiliandeath. ‘The uses of poison gas reinforced the fear of a new kind of warfare inthe future’ whereby citizens could be the first target of any kind of theattack. “The fourth of Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points had called foradequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced tothe lowest point consistent with domestic safety” (Henig R 2010 p110). Germanywho had a massive military technology was ordered to limit its arsenal andarmed force to 100,000. They were also forbidden from the Rhineland and lostterritorial in France and Belgium as well as overseas colonies. “Exile GermanyKaiser declared that the war to end wars has resulted in peace to end peace”(Charles w. Kegley Jr. Shannon L, 2012 p92).
These humiliation treaties by theAllied toward Germany has resulted from Germany not to support the League ofNations hence leading its failure and the causes of Second World War Two. In addition to that, the League of Nations failed because of theunwillingness of some Nation to give up of sovereignty in exchange tocollective security and United States refusal to join its creation of theLeague of Nation. “The American Senate refused to approve the Treaty ofVersailles” (Joseph S. Nye, Jr. and David A. Welch, 2011 p115). Thesemeans that collective security cannot function without its most significantcontributors, and that is why the League failed. The United States of Americadid not have the appetite to get involved in the international affairsespecially in Europe.
Many scholars believed that disagreement betweenPresident Woodrow Wilson and his opponent are a sign of in between idealism andrealism. United State of American Senate’s refusal to support the League seenas a balance of power in Europe, and they should not get involved in anyactivities. They lost many civilian casualties in the war and had littleinterest in joining the League. They did not have support from British, Frenchor the Treaty of Versailles and as a result, the League could not functionwithout Powerful Nations. Political idealists and liberals could even point to some success of theLeague. For example, the League of Nations helped Austria and Hungary from thebrink of bankruptcy. “Austria was provided desperate needed financial supportin 1922 followed by Hungry a year later” (Ruth Henig e-book p181). Theycollected loans from member states to help both Nations.
As a result, bothNations recovered their bankruptcy. Secondly, the league resolved a disputebetween Bulgaria and Greece in 1925. They share borders, where Bulgaria soldierkilled one Greek soldier. Therefore the Greek Military invaded Bulgaria.Bulgaria requested the League of Nations for help where the dispute wasresolved.
“It began a process of disarmament negotiations” (Joseph S.Nye, Jr. and David A. Welch, 2011 p118).
The League did give birth to humanright law, right of asylum for individual and right of national minorities forexample, “Austro-Hungary and Turkish Ottoman empire such as Iraq”.( Jeffrey H,Peter H, Shahin M, Lloyd P, World Politics p303). The league was successful inresolving the dispute between Finland and Sweden their Aaland Island.
Althoughit belongs to Finland, the Swedish reject their claims. “The Leaguedecision was that they should remain with Finland, but that no weapon should bekept their”(http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/modern-world-history-1918-to-1980/league-of-nations-successes/. In conclusion, the Leaguehad several failures compare to the success. They provided financial assistanceto a nation like Austria and Hungry from being declared bankrupt.
They offeredloans which uplifted their much-needed economy to grow. The League of Nationalso resolved a dispute between Bulgaria and Greece in 1925, Finland and Swedenin Aaland Island. But on the other hand, the League had much-unresolvedevidence which leads to failure. Some point to Second World War. Japan invasionof Manchuria in 1931 which was part of Chinese territory.
The Members of theLeague of Nations were so scared and afraid to speak to Japan because of itsmilitary power that they could not stop or take action against Japan invasion,which ultimately leads to League of Nation failure. The Italian invasion ofAbyssinia (Ethiopia) was another failure which the League could not resolve.Mussolini wanted to expand its territory to Abyssinia. Finally, United Statesinability to support League they started had contributed its failure too. Theydid not want to get involved in any European affairs since they lost manycivilians in the war and thus, resulting the League of Nation to fail.