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The Consequences Of The Failure Of The League In The 1930s

1659 words - 7 pages

The Consequences of the Failure of the League in the 1930s

The league was, overall, a failure. There were numerous reasons for
why the league failed in the 1930s. These included the self-interest
of leading members, economic sanctions did not work, America and other
important countries were absent, the league had to cope with a lack of
troops, the treaties it had to uphold were seen as unfair and also,
the decisions that the league made were slow.

The first major test for the League came when the Japanese invaded
Manchuria in 1931. Japan, like many other countries around the world,
was suffering due to the Depression caused by the Wall Street Crash in
...view middle of the document...

It was obvious who was the aggressor. China
had appealed to the league but had waited a long frustrating period of
a full year to receive a response. The league was reluctant to take
any action against Japan and forbid them to continue invading. During
this period the league was looking even worse as it went on. The more
influential members of the league saw how they could manipulate the
system and use their position in the league to their advantage. In
February 1933, instead of withdrawing, Japan announced that they would
invade more of China. The only countries that had a definite force to
beat the Japanese were the USSR and USA. Yet they weren't even
members. Countries such as Britain and France thought only of their
own self-interest by keeping peace with these growing powers and the
League would also make the excuse that Manchuria was too far away for
action to be taken. The league's report was approved by 42 votes
against Japan's single vote. Yet the league took no action, as they
were afraid of losing a powerful member as well as the fact that
Britain and France remained reluctant to use military force as they
were looking out for themselves and their self-interest was
prioritised above the requirements of League of Nation's work. On 27
Match 1933, Japan left the League and the next week they invaded
Jehol. They discussed economic sanctions but without America, Japan's
main trading partner, they would be meaningless. They even discussed
banning arms sales to Japan, but they could not even agree on that.
The League was unconfident and did not have faith in itself, and was
afraid that Japan may retaliate and the war would escalate. Back in
Europe, Mussolini and Hitler observed with interest. They had seen how
the league would react if such an event was to occur again. Within
three years they would both follow Japan's example.

One of Wilson's 14 points was "DISARMAMENT"- all countries must begin
disarming. As the strictest treaty at the time was the Treaty of
Versailles on Germany, all rules had to be applied. In 1932 Germany
had realised that they were the only nation that had disarmed after
the First World War. They became angry and retaliated by openly
rearming again. In February 1932 a Disarmament Conference was
underway. It had proposed the principle of equality, which had failed.
They also retaliated by walking out of the League of Nations within
the same year. The League was losing believers, respect and members,
whilst it was gaining humiliation and embarrassment. In January 1933
Germany had announced their return to the league after domestic
pressure. This became good news for the League as they felt they were
now going to begin re-gaining its respect again. In May 1933, Hitler
promised not to rearm Germany if 'in five years all other nations
destroyed their arms'....

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