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The League of Nations. 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. S.I.D.E. Stop wars. Improve people’s lives. Disarmament.

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the league of nations
The League of Nations
  • 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.
s i d e
S.I.D.E.
  • Stop wars.
  • Improve people’s lives.
  • Disarmament.
  • Enforce the Treaty of Versailles.
america pulls out
America Pulls Out
  • 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.
strengths weaknesses
Strengths & Weaknesses
  • Forty-two countries joined the League at the start.
  • In the 1930’s about 60 countries were member.
  • This made the League appear strong.
absent countries
Absent Countries
  • 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.
who was in
Who was in?
  • Britain and France were the main members.
  • Italy and Japan were also members.
  • These were the most powerful countries.
four powers
FOUR POWERS
  • 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
force
Force?
  • 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.
absence of the great powers
Absence of the Great Powers
  • 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.
absence 3 great powers
Absence – 3 Great Powers
  • 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.
russia and germany
Russia and Germany
  • 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.
success without the league
Success without the League
  • 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!)
league of winners
League of Winners!!
  • 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.
biggest weakness
Biggest Weakness!
  • The different parts of the League were supposed to work together.
  • In a crisis no-one could agree.
organization
Organization
  • 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.
organization1
Organization
  • 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
collective security
Collective Security
  • This was the cornerstone of the L of N.
  • Article X – all nations would protect the other members against aggression.
  • No more alliance systems or to defend one’s own self-interest.
  • C.S. is a more abstract concept.
  • It does not specify where threats come from.
  • It assumes that all nations will see each challenge in the same light.
failure collective security
Failure – Collective Security
  • Not all nations see every crisis in the same way.
  • It failed as a concept because it ignored reality.
  • It required a level of altruism that humans had not yet been capable of.
  • It failed because it asked nations to give up their freedom of action.
  • It also asked nations to enforce policies they disagreed with.
  • Or intervene against countries they were friends with.
main problem
Main problem
  • 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.
influence other countries
Influence other countries
  • 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 lack of enforcement
The lack of enforcement
  • The weakness of collective security was demonstrated by the fact that it was necessary to reinforce the obligation of the league members to resist aggression.
  • Draft treaty of Mutual Assistance in 1923 – supported by France but rejected by the UK and its dominions.
  • It would have called on nations to support the victims of aggression as determined by the League.
  • The same thing happened with the Geneva Protocol for the Pacific settlement of International Disputes.
  • This would have enforced compulsory arbitration in all disputes.
lack of support
Lack of support
  • Few members of the League were willing to take on the open-ended commitments that collective security entailed.
  • The main reason being self-interest.
  • Also after WW1 the prospect of armed intervention would not gain support from the population of any nation.
  • There was widespread opposition to using military force to resolve other countries disputes.
  • Especially if the aggressor was a large country.
  • This was true of the Corfu dispute in 1923.
  • This was led by Mussolini and members of the League took no action.
corfu 1923 fail
Corfu, 1923 – FAIL!!!
  • An Italian general was killed while he was doing some work for the League in Greece.
  • Mussolini was angry with the Greeks and invaded Corfu.
  • The Greeks asked the League to help.
  • The Council met and told Mussolini to leave Corfu.
  • It told Greece to give some money to the League.
  • Mussolini refused.
  • The League changed its decision told Greece to apologize and pay money to Italy.
  • The Greeks did as the League said and then Mussolini gave Corfu back to Greece.
collective security1
Collective Security?
  • It was a concept that attracted great popular support but nothing of a concrete nature.
  • It was an illusion in which desperate populations wanted to believe.
  • However, if there was to be collective security then the collective has to agree.
  • The world in the 1920’s and 30’s was far from agreement on many fronts.
early attempts at peacekeeping 1920 5
Early attempts at peacekeeping 1920-5
  • In the early years of the league it was called on to intervene in a number of disputes.
  • Its record of success is mixed. It allows us to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the League and collective security.
  • Success: The Aaland Islands, Upper Silesia and the Greco-Bulgarian War of 1925.
  • Failures: The Seizure of Fiume, Vilna, the Russo-Polish War, the Corfu incident and the Ruhr invasion.
bulgaria 1925
Bulgaria, 1925
  • Greek soldiers were killed in a fight on the border between Greece and Bulgaria.
  • The Greeks were angry.
  • Bulgaria asked the League to help.
  • The Council of the League met.
  • It condemned the Greeks and told them to leave Bulgaria.
  • The Bulgarian govt sent orders for their soldiers not to fight back.
  • The Greeks did as the League said and left Bulgaria.
greece and bulgaria
Greece and 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.
common factors success
Common factors - Success
  • 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.
common factors failure
Common Factors - Failure
  • The dispute involved a major power that refused to submit to the League.
  • Countries decided to resort to violence and not seek peaceful solutions.
  • The Corfu incident was a major indicator of the problems the league faced.
  • Greece complained that there seemed to be one set of rules for small countries and a different set of rules for big countries.
  • Italy was a major power and when she resorted to violence the league could do nothing.
  • This was the case when a major power pursued a policy in contravention of the League.
  • Peacekeeping would only prevail in the disputes of smaller countries provided that the stronger members could agree on a course of action.
early problems for the league
Early problems for the League
  • In the absence of the US it was vital that the remaining powers were in agreement on major issues.
  • This was not the case.
  • The British govts of the 1920’s did not really support European settlements.
  • In the dispute between Turkey and Greece 1920-23, GB and France took opposite sides.
  • France supported Poland in Russia and Silesia, GB did not.
  • GB also had major problems in Ireland and the Empire so it did not focus on upholding the interests of the League.
enforcement of treaties
Enforcement of treaties
  • The Dutch did not give up the Kaiser.
  • Germany did not surrender war criminals.
  • She did not disarm or meet reparations quotas.
  • Austria could not and did not pay reparations.
  • Poland did not accept her frontiers.
  • Italian troops did not evacuate Fiume.
  • Turkey did not accept the Treaty of Sevres.
  • Nothing much happened.
  • The will to enforce the treaties was lacking or at best divided.
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