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    The League of Nations

    The League of Nations

    The League of Nations 29.5.4: The League of Nations

    The League of Nations was formed to prevent a repetition of the First World War, but within two decades this effort failed. Economic depression, renewed nationalism, weakened successor states, and feelings of humiliation (particularly in Germany) eventually contributed to World War II.

    LEARNING OBJECTIVE

    Explain the ideals that underpinned the forming of the League of Nations

    KEY POINTS

    The League of Nations was formed at the Paris Peace Conference to prevent another global conflict like World War I and maintain world peace. It was the first organization of its kind.

    Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration.

    Unlike former efforts at world peace such as the Concert of Europe, the League was an independent organization without an army of its own, and thus depended on the Great Powers to enforce its resolutions.

    The members were often hesitant to do so, leaving the League powerless to intervene in disputes and conflicts.

    The U.S. Congress, mainly led by Henry Cabot Lodge, was resistant to joining the League, as doing so would legally bind the U.S. to intervene in European conflicts. In the end, the U.S. did not join the League, despite being its main architects.

    The League failed to intervene in many conflicts leading up to World War II, including the Italian invasion of Abyssinia, the Spanish Civil War, and the Second Sino-Japanese War.

    KEY TERMS

    Henry Cabot Lodge

    An American Republican Senator and historian from Massachusetts best known for his positions on foreign policy, especially his battle with President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 over the Treaty of Versailles. He demanded Congressional control of declarations of war; Wilson refused and blocked his move to ratify the treaty with reservations. As a result, the United States never joined the League of Nations.

    League of Nations

    An intergovernmental organization founded on January 10, 1920, as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals as stated in its Covenant included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration.

    The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded on January 10, 1920, as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration. Other issues in this and related treaties included labor conditions, just treatment of native inhabitants, human and drug trafficking, the arms trade, global health, prisoners of war, and protection of minorities in Europe. At its greatest extent from September 28, 1934, to February 23, 1935, it had 58 members.

    The diplomatic philosophy behind the League represented a fundamental shift from the preceding hundred years. The League lacked its own armed force and depended on the Great Powers to enforce its resolutions, keep to its economic sanctions, and provide an army when needed. However, the Great Powers were often reluctant to do so. Sanctions could hurt League members, so they were reluctant to comply. During the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, when the League accused Italian soldiers of targeting Red Cross medical tents, Benito Mussolini responded that “the League is very well when sparrows shout, but no good at all when eagles fall out.”

    After a number of notable successes and some early failures in the 1920s, the League ultimately proved incapable of preventing aggression by the Axis powers in the 1930s. Germany withdrew from the League, as did Japan, Italy, Spain, and others. The onset of the Second World War showed that the League had failed its primary purpose to prevent any future world war. The League lasted for 26 years; the United Nations (UN) replaced it after the end of the Second World War in April 1946 and inherited a number of agencies and organizations founded by the League.

    Establishment Of The League Of Nations

    American President Woodrow Wilson instructed Edward M. House to draft a U.S. plan that reflected Wilson’s own idealistic views (first articulated in the Fourteen Points of January 1918), as well as the work of the Phillimore Committee. The outcome of House’s work and Wilson’s own first draft, proposed the termination of “unethical” state behavior, including forms of espionage and dishonesty. Methods of compulsion against recalcitrant states would include severe measures, such as “blockading and closing the frontiers of that power to commerce or intercourse with any part of the world and to use any force that may be necessary…”

    The two principal rchitects of the covenant of the League of Nations were Lord Robert Cecil (a lawyer and diplomat) and Jan Smuts (a Commonwealth statesman). Smuts’ proposals included the creation of a Council of the great powers as permanent members and a non-permanent selection of the minor states. He also proposed the creation of a mandate system for captured colonies of the Central Powers during the war. Cecil focused on the administrative side and proposed annual Council meetings and quadrennial meetings for the Assembly of all members. He also argued for a large and permanent secretariat to carry out the League’s administrative duties.

    Source : courses.lumenlearning.com

    The League of Nations Flashcards

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    The League of Nations could enact sanctions, which are best defined as

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    punishment.

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    How did US President Warren Harding step away from the League of Nations?

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    He announced his support for an isolationist policy.

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    Terms in this set (19)

    The League of Nations could enact sanctions, which are best defined as

    punishment.

    How did US President Warren Harding step away from the League of Nations?

    He announced his support for an isolationist policy.

    As part of the League of Nations' disarmament effort, members ________.

    destroyed weapons

    Arms reduction and settling border disputes contributed to the League of Nations' goal of

    preventing future warfare.

    During _______ in the 1930s, the League of Nations failed to stop aggressive countries from gaining power.

    the Abyssinian Crisis

    What happened when the League of Nations proved too weak?

    It was replaced by the United Nations.

    Which international social issues did the League of Nations address? Check all that apply.

    -creating clean sources of water

    -eliminating diseases

    -improving the status of women

    The League of Nations' goals included repatriation of thousands of people. Why did these people require repatriation?

    They were captured and held as prisoners during World War I.

    How did the League of Nations deal with offending nations? Check all that apply.

    -verbal warnings -economic sanctions -military force

    Based on this quote, why did Lodge oppose US involvement in the League of Nations?

    It would lead to unnecessary involvement in international affairs.

    What was one problem that undermined the League of Nations' effectiveness?

    It had no permanent army.

    What was one result of the League of Nations' perceived weakness?

    Many league members did not recognize the league's authority.

    Some Americans opposed US participation in the League of Nations because they

    felt the US might not have enough resources to solve its own problems.

    The overall goal of the League of Nations was to

    promote peace.

    The League of Nations' goals included repatriation of thousands of people. Why did these people require repatriation?

    They were captured and held as prisoners during World War I.

    Which best summarizes Wilson's vision of what the League of Nations should focus on?

    cooperation

    How does the cartoon illustrate one of the league's major problems?

    It shows that the league was weak because it lacked powerful member nations.

    Which is one reason why the United Nations was stronger than the League of Nations?

    It had a security council to respond to global crises.

    How did settling small border disputes, such as that between Sweden and Finland, help Europe as a whole?

    Nations that resolved border disputes were more likely to cooperate on larger issues.

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    League of Nations

    The third period of League history, the period of conflict, opened with the Mukden Incident, a sudden attack made on September 18, 1931, by the Japanese army on the Chinese authorities in Manchuria. This was clearly an act of war in violation of the Covenant. Japan declared at first that the troops would be withdrawn but later (February 1932) created a puppet state of Manchukuo, claiming that this removed any legal ground for League intervention. This was the first major test of the Covenant system, and no more difficult circumstances could be imagined. Many of the smaller members of the

    Third period (1931–36)

    Investigate devastation wrought by Japan on Manchuria and China during the Great Depression

    In September 1931 the Japanese Imperial Army invaded Manchuria, and refugees fled their burning cities. From “The Second World War: Prelude to Conflict” (1963), a documentary by Encyclopædia Britannica Educational Corporation.

    Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

    See all videos for this article

    The third period of League history, the period of conflict, opened with the Mukden Incident, a sudden attack made on September 18, 1931, by the Japanese army on the Chinese authorities in Manchuria. This was clearly an act of war in violation of the Covenant. Japan declared at first that the troops would be withdrawn but later (February 1932) created a puppet state of Manchukuo, claiming that this removed any legal ground for League intervention. This was the first major test of the Covenant system, and no more difficult circumstances could be imagined. Many of the smaller members of the League, and League supporters everywhere, called for the strict application of the Covenant and an economic boycott of Japan. The chief Council members were themselves in the grip of economic crisis, however, and the cooperation of the United States and the U.S.S.R. was certain to be refused. Economic sanctions were never seriously envisaged. After long negotiations, in which the United States did give its support, even permitting a U.S. delegate to sit with the Council through one session, a commission of inquiry was appointed. Reaching Manchuria in April 1932, the commission found the new state of Manchukuo already established. Nevertheless, the commission drew up a full report, concluding that Manchuria should be returned to Chinese sovereignty, with various safeguards for the rights and needs of Japan. The conclusions of this report were unanimously adopted by the Assembly (February 1933). Japan rejected them and a month later withdrew from the League.

    Mukden Incident

    Japanese troops gathering outside Mukden, Manchuria, September 1931.

    Heritage Image/AGE fotostock

    Thus the year 1933 saw the League’s failure to protect China against aggression, the breakdown of the disarmament conference, and the withdrawal of Japan and Germany. It saw also the collapse of another great enterprise, the World Economic Conference of June 1933. From the beginning the League had attached high importance to the work of its economic and financial organization. Its first major conference on the subject (Brussels, June 1920) had indeed preceded the first Assembly. Thereafter it had for several years followed an ascending curve. After taking a great share in restoring some stability to the European currencies, it had turned to the deeper economic problems. The first World Economic Conference, held in 1927, ended in a unanimous report describing the need for a freer and fuller flow of international commerce, the obstacles which impeded it, and the measures needed to achieve it. In the next two years much progress was made toward carrying out its recommendations. All this, however, foundered in the economic storm, as each country sought to protect its own economy by tariffs, quotas, and prohibitions. The plans and conventions drawn up in Geneva, including Briand’s plan for a United States of Europe, were swept away. The conference ended in speedy and almost total failure.

    Nevertheless, the normal activities of the League were neither interrupted nor reduced. The United States was now taking part in most of its work. The Soviet Union, which had obstructed and ridiculed the political work of the League, changed its attitude in 1934, as a result of fear of Germany and Japan. Its demand for admission met with some opposition and much misgiving, but the great majority of members refused to throw back into isolation a great power which now formally undertook to carry out all the obligations of the Covenant. In truth, the U.S.S.R. did give steady support to the League until shortly before the outbreak of World War II. Meanwhile, the admission of Mexico and Ecuador and the return of Argentina (absent since 1920, though it had not formally withdrawn) completed the Latin American membership. The League’s presence in the Middle East and Southwest Asia was extended by the entry of Turkey, Afghanistan, and Iraq. In Europe a dangerous crisis following the assassination of King Alexander of Yugoslavia (October 9, 1934) was settled by the good offices of the Council. Another critical moment, that of the Saar plebiscite (January 13, 1935), gave rise to the formation, for perhaps the first time in history, of a genuine international peacekeeping force—3,300 men from the armies of Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden—whose presence ensured that the plebiscite would take place without disorder. In South America the Council, though it could not settle the Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay (1932–35), was successful in ending hostilities between Colombia and Peru (1934) and accepted responsibility for administering for a time the disputed territory of Leticia.

    Source : www.britannica.com

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