Essays on the League of Nations

From the May 2023 IBDP HL History Paper 3 Exam:

“The League of Nations was an effective organisation in the 1920s.” To what extent do you agree with this statement? 

In the annals of international diplomacy, the League of Nations stands out as an audacious experiment in collective security and global cooperation. Conceived at the end of World War I, its purpose was to prevent such catastrophic conflict from reoccurring by fostering dialogue and mutual understanding amongst nations. Yet, its effectiveness has been a topic of enduring historical debate. This essay will explore the effectiveness of the League of Nations during the 1920s, examining both its successes and failures in this period. It will draw on the perspectives of various historians, integrating their arguments and offering critical evaluation of their conclusions.
In assessing the effectiveness of the League of Nations, it is important to remember its context. In the wake of the Great War, there was a palpable desire for peace and stability; in this context, the League's creation was an important signal of intent. According to historian Zara Steiner, the League was a "reflection of the idealistic spirit of the time" which was bent on "building a new world order founded on peace and cooperation" (Steiner, 2005). The League's establishment in 1920 was followed by a number of successful arbitrations, notably resolving conflicts in the Åland Islands, Upper Silesia, and between Greece and Bulgaria. These early successes enhanced its credibility and demonstrated its potential as a vehicle for peaceful conflict resolution.
However, for every successful arbitration, there were glaring omissions in the League's portfolio. One such omission was the United States. As historian Margaret MacMillan notes, "the absence of the United States, one of the world's foremost powers, undermined the League's authority from the outset" (MacMillan, 2003). The League's inability to secure American membership was a significant failure. Its Charter called for collective security, yet it lacked the participation of the country with arguably the greatest potential to contribute to global security. Moreover, the League's reliance on unanimous decisions often led to inertia. Several high-profile disputes, like the Italian Corfu crisis of 1923, exposed these limitations.
Despite such shortcomings, proponents of the League's effectiveness often point to its contributions in non-political spheres. Historian Patricia Clavin argues that the League's work in areas like health, labour rights, and refugee support are "often overshadowed by its political failures" (Clavin, 2013). Indeed, the League facilitated significant cooperation amongst its member states in these domains. For example, the Health Organisation of the League of Nations coordinated responses to epidemics, and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), though technically separate from the League, was an integral part of the broader cooperative framework the League represented. The ILO set labour standards, enhanced social dialogue, and promoted decent work, thereby demonstrating the League's effectiveness in fostering international cooperation beyond the realm of security and conflict resolution.
Yet even as the League contributed to various non-political spheres, its inherent structural and institutional weaknesses undercut its effectiveness. As historian Susan Pedersen highlights, the League was "a body that depended on the agreement and commitment of its member states" (Pedersen, 2007). Without a mechanism to enforce its resolutions, the League often found itself unable to translate its ideals into reality. Furthermore, the League was inherently Eurocentric; most of its member states and its entire secretariat were European, limiting its global legitimacy. This Eurocentrism, combined with its inability to enforce decisions, culminated in the Manchurian Crisis of 1931-33, a debacle that would herald the beginning of the end for the League.
In conclusion, the assertion that the League of Nations was an effective organisation in the 1920s is a nuanced one. While it did experience some success, particularly in non-political realms, it was plagued by significant shortcomings. The absence of the United States, the requirement for unanimity, and the lack of enforcement mechanisms often rendered the League impotent in the face of geopolitical realities. While historians like Steiner and Clavin highlight its successful arbitrations and contributions to areas like health and labour rights, MacMillan and Pedersen remind us of the institutional weaknesses that ultimately undermined the League. Therefore, while the League of Nations made some strides towards fostering international cooperation, its overall effectiveness during the 1920s was, unfortunately, limited.

 From the May 2018 History paper 3 exam

Discuss the reasons for the failure of the League of Nations by 1938\

From the May 2006 IBDP History Paper 2 Exam
  “Peace and cooperation was an ideal that proved impossible to achieve through international organisations in the twentieth century.” To what extent do you agree with this judgement?

    The twentieth century was a period of unprecedented global interaction, marked by the formation of various international organisations. These organisations were established with the primary aim of fostering peace and cooperation among nations. However, the extent to which they achieved this ideal has been a subject of intense debate. This essay will critically analyse the effectiveness of these organisations in achieving their stated objectives, focusing on the League of Nations, the United Nations, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. 
    The League of Nations, established in the aftermath of World War I, was the first significant attempt at creating an international organisation that could maintain global peace. However, Carr argues that the League was fundamentally flawed, as it was unable to prevent the aggressive expansionist policies of Germany, Italy, and Japan in the 1930s. Carr's critique is based on the League's inability to enforce its resolutions, which led to its eventual dissolution and the outbreak of World War II. The United Nations, formed after World War II, was designed to rectify the shortcomings of the League of Nations. It was given more power and resources to enforce its resolutions. However, Kennedy contends that the UN has been marred by the conflicting interests of its member states, particularly the permanent members of the Security Council. This has often led to deadlock and inaction in the face of crises, undermining the UN's ability to maintain international peace and cooperation. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, on the other hand, was a regional organisation that sought to maintain peace and cooperation among its member states during the Cold War. However, Gaddis argues that NATO's effectiveness was limited by its narrow focus on the containment of the Soviet Union, which often led to the neglect of broader issues of global peace and cooperation. In light of these arguments, it appears that international organisations in the twentieth century faced significant challenges in achieving their ideal of peace and cooperation. However, it is important to note that these organisations also had notable successes, which will be discussed in the following paragraphs.
    Whilst the aforementioned criticisms are valid, it is also necessary to consider the successes of these organisations. Despite their limitations, they have played a crucial role in promoting dialogue and negotiation among nations, thereby preventing conflicts and fostering cooperation on various global issues. The League of Nations, despite its ultimate failure, set a precedent for international cooperation. It established the principle of collective security and provided a forum for nations to resolve their disputes peacefully. This was a significant step towards the ideal of global peace and cooperation. The United Nations, despite its shortcomings, has had notable successes in peacekeeping and conflict resolution. It has also played a crucial role in promoting cooperation on global issues such as poverty reduction, human rights, and environmental protection. These achievements should not be overlooked when assessing the effectiveness of international organisations in the twentieth century. Similarly, NATO, despite its narrow focus, was successful in maintaining peace among its member states during the Cold War. It also adapted to the post-Cold War era by taking on new roles in peacekeeping and conflict resolution, demonstrating its ability to evolve in response to changing global circumstances. 
    In conclusion, while international organisations in the twentieth century faced significant challenges in achieving their ideal of peace and cooperation, they also had notable successes. The effectiveness of these organisations should be assessed not only in terms of their failures but also their achievements. This balanced assessment will provide a more nuanced understanding of the role of international organisations in the twentieth century.

Why Was the League of Nations Founded in 1920?

"We regard it as the keynote of the whole, which expressed our purposes and ideals in this war and which the associated nations have accepted as the basis of a settlement,”[1] said Wilson in order to emphasise the necessity of the League of Nations to the Paris Peace Conference on 25 January 1919. The Paris Peace Conference accepted to create the League of Nations on 25 January 1919 and it was founded in 1920 with the members of 32 Allied powers and 12 neutral states but ironically USA was not one of the members because the US senates refused to join when Wilson went back to his country. Nevertheless, the three main aims of the League of Nations that led to the foundation of it were mostly from Woodrow Wilson’s ideas: Stopping war through dialogue to gain international peace, creating self-determination and improving the living conditions of people. 

The first main reason why the League was founded in 1920 was to prevent war, which they who? thought was a significant method to achieve international peace. The League of Nations intervened in several disputes to prevent war and give resolutions. For example in 1921, the League solved a dispute between Finland and Sweden over Åaland Islands. Almost all of the citizens were Swedish-speakers, so they wanted the islands to belong to Sweden but as Finland was the one to have its sovereignty, it did not want to give the islands to Sweden. The League of Nations, asked for helping Sweden, finally decided to let Finland still have the islands but guaranteed its autonomy to satisfy both countries, Finland by maintaining its territory and Sweden by protecting the Swedish culture in Åaland Islands. This case was one of the successful decisions that the League made to prevent war but on the other hand, it was not successful in the Corfu Incident (August 27 – September, 1923). In 1923, an Italian General, Enrico Tellini, was killed by the Greeks in Corfu, and Mussolini, who took the power of government, sent an ultimatum to Greece on August 29[2], requiring the reparation and the execution of the assassins. As the Greek government could not find out the assassins, it provided a good excuse for Mussolini to invade and Greece appealed to the League. As the League blamed Italy and told Mussolini to leave, the Greeks had to pay for it but due to Mussolini’s refusal, so the Conference of Ambassadors made Greece to pay reparation and apologise to Italy, then Mussolini left Corfu. Although the dispute between two countries did not develop into a war, the resolution was quite condemnable because it did not protect a small country but rather supported a powerful country which acted on the offensive and could trigger a war, showing injustice of the decision. The League of Nations was formed to prevent wars and it was achieving this aim by intervening in disputes between countries before it enters the stage of poignancy. However, the decisions made by the League were not always considered to be justified or satisfy all the people involved in the conflicts.

Self-determination, the right of people to rule themselves or to choose their own government, which was the 10th point of Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points Speech, acted as another incentive of the foundation of the League of Nations. The Treaty of Versailles had gave the rights for people in Upper Silesia to decide whether the country should belong to Germany or Poland by ordering them a referendum on 20 March 1921[3] and with close result, in which Germany was chosen with approximately 56.9%[4] of the votes, it led to a series of uprisings in Upper Silesia, the Silesian Uprisings (1919-1921). In 1922, the League of Nations had a six-week investigation[5], after which it came up with the partition of the district between Germany and Poland. This satisfied Germany and Poland as they both could have territorial gains and the citizens of Upper Silesia, who could choose their own government, showing an aspect of self-determination in the League’s decision. Furthermore, as there was a minority of Germans in the area gained by Poland and minority of Polish and the area gained by Germany in Upper Silesia, the delegates from both countries were to have an economic regulation and protection of these minorities for 15 years.[6] Memel, a port in Lithuania, was one of the “territories of international concern” like Åaland Islands above. Memel was created by the Treaty of Versailles in 1920 and though was controlled by the Council of Ambassadors[7], it was occupied by French troops on 2 February 1920[8]. As it was in Lithuania, the government thought Memel should be ruled by Lithuania and its troop invaded the port on January 10th 1923, a day after the leaders claimed to take control of Lithuania, using the opportunity from the Ruhr Crisis which had agitated the French[9]. The League gave Lithuania the rights to govern Memel, by making Lithuania sign the Memel Statue in December 1923 with France, Britain, Italy and Japan[10] but still was to be an “international zone”[11]. This has shown the League’s attempt to create self-determination of the small countries, such as Lithuania in this case, and it was also successful as the intervention of the League not only helped the Lithuanians to rule the port in their country but also solved the issue without producing a war between the French and Lithuanians. However, it also seemed to be a failure because Memel firstly was taken by Lithuania due to its offensive on the French in the Memel Revolt in January 1923 and the League listened to the country which took an aggressive attitude in taking power, in contradiction to the covenant of the League pledged to ‘take action against any member regarded as an aggressor.’[12] As self-determination was what the League aimed for, it made conclusions on the basis of self-determination but in some cases, like the Memel Crisis, it produced a failure as it could not achieve another aim, opposing against any aggressor using force, though succeeded in creating self-determination.

 The last reason for founding the League of Nations was to improve living conditions of people in the world. The Refugees Committee, Health Committee, and Slavery Commission in its agencies and commissions were all created to improve people’s lives by solving social crises that were being obstacles in their living environment. When the League of Nations failed to stop the Greco-Turkish War (1919-22), which resulted in Greece returning to its pre-war borders with a great loss of territories, Greece and Turkey had a period of time of national reconstruction with their population exchange, having a number of refugees from both sides, 80% of whom were women and children, suffering from such diseases like typhoid and cholera. Source??? The Refugees Committee in the League therefore set up refugee camps in Turkey in 1922 to provide food supplies for the refugees and spent £10,000,000 for building farms and houses[13]. Not only was the Refugees Committee engaged in the aids of these homeless refugees but also the Health Committee intervened to investigate and help eradicate diseases. The League of Nations also tried to ameliorate the world by abolishing the slavery. It signed the Slavery Convention on 25 September 1926, revealing its rooted antipathy to the slave trade in article 2, “To prevent and suppress the slave trade; to bring about, progressively and as soon as possible, the complete abolition of slavery in all its forms.”[14] The League freed 200,000 slaves in Sierra Leone and Burma, and it helped African countries such as Liberia and Ethiopia to exterminate slavery in the 1930s[15] and the Slavery Commission even reduced the death rate of workers from 55% to $4 by building the Tanganyika railway.[16] Also it did investigations periodically on the slavery. However, the countries that did not get any help from the League were still suffering with the slavery. For instance, Korea though had abolished its slavery in Gap-o Reform (1894) still had a forced prostitution and slavery in 1930s under the Japanese and Saudi Arabia still had a legality of slavery until 1960s.[17] Despite the League’s several failures on political aspect, it was prominently succeeded in social aspect by improving people’s lives by helping the refugees and slaves who were the human sacrifice? at that time. The League’s active investigations on refugees and the slavery improved its quality of assistance to other countries as it showed the fact that the League is taking it as its obligations, not a reluctant help. Though the League of Nations could help many European countries and some African countries, still it had limit in its extension of aid, as it’s shown in Korea and Saudi Arabia, which probably could be seen unfair to some countries that were not able to get any help. 

Prevention of wars, creation of self-determination and the improvement of the living environment of people were the three main factors required for the achievement of international peace and thus motivated the other countries to form the League of Nations. Disputes between countries were solved to avert the inflammation of further wars, self-determination was fortified by giving nationals of the countries to have rights to choose their governments, and the assistance to refugees and the abrogation of slavery made the League to succeed in improving the society of the world. Although many countries joined the League of Nations with the expectation of extreme successes by achieving its main aims, the League’s intervention in international affairs could not always result in successes nor satisfy all the countries.
[12] Frank McDonough, Conflict, Communism and Fascism, Europe (1890-1945), pg. 60

What were the aims of the League of Nations? 

In 1919 Woodrow Wilson stated, “I can predict with absolute certainty that within another generation there will be another world war if the nations of the world do not work together to prevent it.” The League of Nations was Wilson’s idea in keeping the world at peace and it had four main aims: to stop war, to disarm, to improve people’s lives and jobs and to enforce the Treaty of Versailles. Even though the aims of the League are presently clearly historians still argue that the real aims of the League are not what they appear to be.
The League believed in keeping peace all around the world, showing shown clearly through its name the League of Nations. However, historians claim “The League of Nations, the unhappy forerunner of the UN, should have been designated the League of Imperial Nations, given that most of the world at the time was occupied or controlled by imperial powers.” The League claimed that it would help countries with any matter, and yet when dealing with imperial nations or nations of the Security Council, it was the smaller countries that suffered. In the Corfu Incident, Mussolini invaded and it was Greece that had to back down in order for Mussolini to stop. Clearly this does not meet the aim of improving people’s lives. True, it did prevent war, but it also laid groundwork for the Greek invasion of Bulgaria in 1925. Similar to the Corfu incident, Greek officials were killed, but the Greeks did not gain the same result as the Italians. True, the League settled the dispute and prevented outbreak of war, but clearly shown through the two situations, countries that were more powerful and more significant in the League were treated better. Other nations were not benefiting the same way, which clearly emphasises historians that claim it should be the “League of Imperial Nations.” These were the countries that obtained power. Also seen in when the French and the British invaded the Ruhr for reparations. France and Britain were not condemned, and it resulted in hyperinflation for Germany. The League was run by Imperialist countries and they were free to do what they pleased. They were known as the world policemen, and they themselves were not following their rules. They didn’t disarm, but forced down the military size of Germany. They wanted to stop war and all violence, but they invaded for reparations. Also, in the Hoare-Laval Pact of 1935, not only was Abyssinia given to Italy, it was also done under a secret treaty , breaking Wilson’s Fourteen Points. Once again it showed that imperialist countries are the ones that are benefiting from the aims. However, historians do argue that by signing this pact, the League was trying to fulfil its original aims. A. J. P Taylor said the pact “‘was a perfectly sensible plan, in line with the League's previous acts of conciliation from Corfu to Manchuria’ which would have ‘ended the war; satisfied Italy; and left Abyssinia with a more workable, national territory.’” He believes that Abyssinia was in better conditions and it prevented war. Military historian Correlli Barnett also believed the Pact was a wide method. He believed that if the League were to condemn or ignore Italy then Italy, “"would be a potential enemy astride England's main line of imperial communication at a time when she was already under threat from two existing potential enemies at opposite ends of the line [Germany and Japan]. If – worse – Italy were to fight in a future war as an ally of Germany or Japan, or both, the British would be forced to abandon the Mediterranean for the first time since 1798" and that provoking Italy would be a "highly dangerous nonsense to provoke Italy" due to Britain's military and naval weakness and that therefore the Pact was a sensible option.” It prevented war, which was an aim of the League, but it was for the benefit of Britain, which reiterates the fact that it should have been the League of Imperialist Nations. Historians and other actions of the League clearly demonstrates non-imperialist countries are discriminated against, which is not making the world peaceful and a better place.
The League of Nations is to improve the living conditions of the people in the world. They successfully achieved this by closing down four Swiss pharmaceuticals, it created the International Labour Organization to enforce the 48-hour work week, it help refugees in Turkey and the prisoners of war from World War One, freed slaves in Africa and sent economic experts to help Austria and Hungary etc. All of these successes show that the League did want to improve the lives of people and they attempted to do so. But, all the actions that they took were in Europe or in colonies of Europe countries, since many African nations were still under European control and influence. Countries outside of the European influence did not get the same amount of help. In Manchurian Incident, the Japanese were told leave and that was the end of the League’s help when China had asked for it. The League gained the report of the incident a year after Japan had invaded. Then in 1932 Japan left and Manchuria became Manchukuo and the League did nothing about it. From this one failure it is again seen that the leaders of the League had no concerns except for Europe and themselves. Historians claim that Britain needed to keep a mutual relationship with Japan because of the treaty that they had signed in the early 1900’s. Britain needed Japan to keep their colonies in Asia safe. Other than not caring about non-European countries, the League didn’t care for Germany as well. The invasion of France in 1923 caused Germany to go into a state of hyperinflation. This was not making the world a better place. Firstly, it was against the League to invade and France did not disarm. Secondly, the world policeman was worsening the living conditions in Germany rather than improving it, as seen as an aim of the organization. True, they were enforcing the Treaty of Versailles because Germany needed to pay reparations, but simultaneously they were contradicting another aim. By not caring for European countries as well as non-European countries, the League’s aims are directed towards Europe and the benefits of the Security Council.
Enforcing the Treaty of Versailles was another aim of the League of Nations. The Treaty of Versailles was directed towards the punishment of Germany. The League managed this one well. They forced Germany to pay, meeting Article 232, the reparation clause. They made sure that Germany was suppressed and could not become powerful. However, the League sought out for disarmament and only Germany’s military power was suppressed to 100,000 men. When the French invaded it was clear that they had not disarmed. Also, the appeasement when Hitler took power clearly went against the Treaty of Versailles. Germany’s land and people were split according to the Treaty, but Hitler united the German territories with an agreement Chamberlain. Historians claim that there was appeasement was because Britain and France didn’t want a war and neither of them could fight Germany alone. True, they prevented and stopped war for a certain time period, but completely disregarded the League’s aims for their own intentions and purposes. Because the world policemen couldn’t afford a war and didn’t want a war they let Hitler act as he wished. The aim of enforcing the Treaty contradicts with the aim of improving living conditions for people. Because they wanted to enforce the Treaty, Germans suffered. They were not guaranteed self-determination, they had to disarm and they suffered from hyperinflation. When the League broke the aim of enforcing the Treaty they then reached the aim of stopping war, even if it was only temporary. Enforcing the treaty was a clear and obvious aim, but it was for the Imperialist countries and when they broke the aim, it was for the same reasons.
The aims of the League of Nations are clear. However, they were more for the benefits of the European Imperialist countries, rather than for the nations of the world. The aims were said to be for the world, and yet they focused more on the benefits of Europe and the Security council members.

“The pursuit of national interests hindered the work of the League of Nations and prevented success between 1919 and 1936.” Do you agree?

 As A.J.P Taylor said, the League was a “useless fraud.” They League of Nations was established in order to maintain global peace. However, countries within the League of Nations ignored the rules and regulations decided by themselves and pursued their own selfish interests. The countries weren’t willing to sacrifice little for the greater good of the world. They wouldn’t give up their desires as many countries were still expansionist. You could even argue that the Articles of the League of Nation’s Covenant were useless. As Benito Mussolini stated: “The League is very well when sparrows shout, but no good at all when eagles fall out,”[1] is in fact very true. Most countries that followed their own interests and actually accomplished them were main members of the League of Nations and these led to the downfall of the League. So the statement “The pursuit of national interest…between 1919 and 1936” is very valid as it can be proven from three major events involving the main members the League of Nations: The Occupation of Ruhr, the Abyssinian Crisis and Mukden Incident.

The Occupation of the Ruhr occurred between 1923 and 1924, and was carried forth by the French and Belgium military. This was a direct response to Germany’s inability to paying the reparations for World War One. So on January 11, 1923, the invasion of Ruhr commenced under the certification of French Prime Minister Raymond Poincare.[2] Belgium and French aims were to occupy this region where Germany’s production of coal, iron and steel is most prosperous and furthermore cripple the German economy. But could this also understood as a French attempt to quickly get back on its feet. With the invasion German heartland, its industry did come to a halt. During the process 150,000 Germans were deported, 400 were killed and 2,000 wounded. The French were aggressive and ruthless and being a major member of the League of Nations it had defied its own rules of for maintaining peace. Britain being an ally also didn’t do anything to prevent the invasion of Ruhr Ally. They disobeyed Article Eleven of the League of Nations covenant: “Any war is a matter of concern to the whole League and the League shall take action that may safe guard peace.”[3] Britain didn’t go to defend Germany as it had promised in Article Eleven and didn’t apply Sanctions or utilize any of the four powers of the League against France. This would be the first example of pursuance of national interest. In this case, France a major member of the League of Nations violating the League’s rules in order to weaken Germany and attain the reparations. The Occupation of Ruhr Valley marked the downfall of the League of Nations as even France; a member of the Security Council would act with such inconsideration for other countries. Who knows what other members of the League of would do? Even though the French did leave the Ruhr region on August 25, 1925, the consequences of the Occupation of Ruhr were devastating. Leading to economic collapse, hyper inflation and high unemployment, resulting in a state of emergency. [4] This was one of the early events which hindered the work of the League of Nations and marked a failure because of national interests.

The Mukden Incident, also known as the Manchurian Incident, between 1931 and 1933 is also a good example which demonstrates the pursuit of national interest.[5] In this case it is also a member of the Security Council, Japan, a more powerful nation invading a weaker country. Their intensions were to place the blame of sabotaging of a section of Japan’s South Manchuria Railway in an area near Liutiao Lake, in order to gaining an excuse for invasion of the country. The Japanese occupied the whole region of Manchuria and renamed it Manchukuo.[6] In 1932, the Japanese air force and navy bombarded Shanghai and a short war was initiated on the 28th of January. The Chinese Government called to the League of Nations for help and in response an investigation set off. The Lytton Report was created and it declared that Manchuria was to be returned to China. When the assembly voted, Japanese was the only one to vote against the Lytton Report and it withdrew from the League on March 27, 1933.[7] As the Occupation of Ruhr, nothing happened to Japan. No sanctions were opposed and there was no assembling of an army to fight Japan. This would more likely be due to Britain and France self interest as well as those of other countries in the League.. For France and Britain, they were occupied by maintaining control over their colonies. France occupied with keeping control over Syria as it has in past years used militant strength to do so. As in July, 1920, French authorities disbanded nationalist organisations in Damascus and sentenced the leaders to death. As for Britain they had to deal with their own colonies such as Palestine which is extremely nationalistic. For example, during the Great Revolt, Britain sent 20,000 troops into Palestine to keep order. [8] Britain and France in dealing with their own self interests has lost concern for China and other nations. As for Japan, it has followed its own interests in annexing Manchuria. Because of Japans invasion of Manchuria, and the withdrawal of them from the League, it has further deteriorated the League of Nations power. It had lessened the League’s capability to control and enforce peace and order between countries which have disputes. In other words this event which is a clear demonstration of national interests has weakened the League of Nations and foreshadowed its future collapse.

A third and perhaps most infamous event which demonstrates selfishness and inconsideration for other countries would be the Italian invasion of Abyssinia, 1935 to 1936. In other words, this event shows how both the League of Nations as well as the aggressor, Italy, pursues their own interests in a case as such. In October 1935, Mussolini ordered General Pietro Badoglio and 400,000 troops to invade Abyssinia.[9] The Abyssinian army was easily defeated and they called to the League for help. In November 1935, the League of Nations imposed sanctions, but this was ineffective. So in December 1935, Britain Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Samuel Hoare and French Prime Minister came up with the Hoare-Laval Pact which consisted of dividing Abyssinia into two sectors. However the information had leaked out and their was protest in Britain and France. Hoare and Laval lost their jobs and Italy added Ethiopia into their ‘collection’ of colonies. [10]This was a major failure of the League of Nations but it also shows their egotistic nature. They weren’t willing to protect Abyssinia against Italy. Between 1923 and 1924 France sent troops to invade Germany because Germany was unable to pay the reparations. Britain during the Great Revolt sent 20,000 troops to Palestine. But here the French didn’t send troops to Abyssinia; same for Britain. It is understandable why they wouldn’t send troops to Manchuria because it is on the other side of the world. But here British and French actions are simply incomprehensible. And from the Hoare-Laval Pact we see how Britain and France had no consideration for what happened to Abyssinia, it wasn’t of their interests. On the other hand, Italy was expansionist and their aim was to conquer Abyssinia. They weren’t willing to turn back and sacrifice little for the bettering of the situation. From this event we can notice selfishness of Italy as well as France and Britain as they all had their own interests and had no concern for other countries but themselves.

By reviewing these three events carefully we can notice that in fact all major leaders of the League of Nations were disobeying their promises to maintain peace and security. If the members of the Security Council were pursuing their own interests, the League was bound to fail. So without doubt the national interests did hinder the work of the League and prevented success between 1919 and 1936. If the ‘programmers’ of the League were disobeying their own rules, what is their to be said about other countries of the world.

Why was the League of Nations founded in 1920?

“It is not enough just to win the war. We must win it in such a way as to keep the future peace of the world”[1] as President Wilson stated in 1919. He longed for the creation of the League of Nations to fulfil his ambitions of global peace. At the Paris Peace Conference in 1919-1920, the League of Nations, an international organization was established.[2] This organization was founded primarily on the basis of Woodrow Wilson’s fourteen points. They aimed towards promoting international cooperation and improving of global welfare. The League of Nations provided a place where disputes between nations could be settled through negotiation and if necessary, the four powers of the League: the Covenant, Condemnation, Arbitration and Sanctions. The League of Nations was created in order to maintain peace and security, to improve social conditions of the world and finally because of Britain and France’s self-interests.

As Article Eleven of the League of Nation’s Covenant stated,: “Any war of threat of war is a matter of concern to the whole League and the League shall take action that may safe guard peace.” [3]The League of Nations was designed to maintain global security and peace, in addition to improving international relations. They tried to stop war and minimize the consequences of disputes between countries through diplomacy. An example where the League of Nations successfully handled a conflict which could have escalated into war would be in 1925 at Petrich. On the 22nd of October 1915, a Greek soldier crossed the border and was subsequently shot by a Bulgarian sentry. This issue escalated into an invasion and temporary occupying of the town Petrich and killing of around fifty Bulgarian citizens. The League of Nations was swift to act and with the Power of Condemnation halted the invasion and ordered the withdrawal of Greek forces. Furthermore, fining Greece of 45,000 as compensation to Bulgaria. [4] This event demonstrates not the might of the League of Nations but their efficiency and evenhandedness. Their successfulness in dealing with disputes between countries of lesser diplomatic power. Overall, it shows that the League of Nations is trying to maintain peace and security. Another event which shows the League’s capability in handling international conflicts would be the dispute between Iraq and Turkey in 1926. Turkey and Iraq battled for the control over a former Ottoman province by the name of Mosul. Iraq claimed that it belonged to them whilst the Turkey said the province was “part of its historic heartland.”[5] By the League’s Power of Arbitration a third party was sent in to study the case in 1924 and in 1925, Mosul was said to belong to Iraq. On the 16th of December, 1925 Mosul was given to Iraq. This was a decision made by the League of Nations, based on the adjudication of a third party. From both the events above we understand that the League of Nations through negotiation has secured peace. On the other hand, if the League of Nations didn’t exist, the likelihood for war would be much greater. This was one aim of the League of Nations and a reason for why it was created. The League was there to ensure cooperation between countries and maintain peace and security.
Improving social conditions and dealing with societal problems on a global scale was also a primary reason for the creation of the League of Nations. The League of Nations supervised the Permanent Court of International justice and organized many different agencies which dealt with dissimilar crises of the world. These agencies included Commission for Refugees, Health Commission, Slavery Commission, and International Labour Organization and so on. One of the first humanitarian acts carried out by the League of Nations was the repatriation of the prisoners of war. During spring of 1920, led by Fridtjof Nansen,[6] the commission repatriated around 400,000 ex-prisoners of war and refugees of twenty-seven nationalities. Welfare camps were also set up in Turkey, 1922 which was meant to solve the refugee problem and deal with disease and hunger. The Nansen passport was also created to identify stateless people. [7] Slavery was also a big issue which the League of Nations Slavery Commission fought against. They desired the abolishment of slavery, salve trading and prostitution. In Sierra Leone 200,000 slaves were liberated and raids against slave masters were arranged in the means of forcefully stopping slave labour in Africa. The Slavery commission was also very successful in at the Tanganyika railway, as it lowered the death rates of workers from 55% to 4%. The League of Nations Health Committee also significantly improved global welfare. Where are your sources for this information? It was created in 1921 under Article 23 of the Covenant. This organization attempted at getting rid of diseases such as leprosy, malaria and yellow fever. They initiated an international mosquito extermination campaign to further eradicate diseases and prevented an epidemic of typhus from spreading throughout Europe. These are only three of the many agencies formed which attempted to better the lives of people; dealt with societal problems of the world.

How did the Corfu incident affect the outbreak of World War II?
The Corfu incident was an event that took place from August to September 1923. On August 27, an Italian general Enrico Tellini and his four staff members were assassinated at the Greek-Albanian frontier while attempting to delimit the frontier border. The Italian dictator Benito Mussolini sent a harsh ultimatum to Greece that demanded the Greek government to pay reparation for the casualties and execute the assassins that were unknown and were unable to locate, but the Greek government failed to accomplish the two demands, especially the second one. Mussolini used Greek's failure to accomplish his demands as a pretext and sent Italian navies to invade and conquer Corfu, an island between Greece and Albania, on August 31,1923. Greece asked the League of Nations to judge the case; the League used its mighty power of condemnation to condemn Italy's actions after Greece promised to pay the League some reparations that was for Italy after the assassins were discovered, but Mussolini completely ignored the pointless condemns and continued Italy's occupation in Corfu. After the failure of condemnation, the main powers of the League had a conference for the case and came up with an conclusion of making Greece promise to apologize and pay Italy 50,000,000 lira worth of reparation for general Tellini and his four staff's death - Italy's men evacuate from Corfu under the League's pressure on September 27 1923 after Greece's apology and reparation.
The Corfu incident described above was considered as a success for the League of Nations; it was a conflict they prevented from amplifying into a war, it was a success made by the League from the peacekeeping point of view. But this incident also revealed one of the League's greatest weakness- the League is weak and useless against aggressive actions made by strong countries or countries that are significant for the League; Greece was assaulted and shamed for an assassination that was not significant enough to have a piece of land taken, then they had to apologize and pay reparation to get their lost land back in their control, and the reason for this unfair treatment to occur would be Italy's significance of being one of the four main members of the League, the case might be completely different if Italy was replaced by a country that had the same level of power and significance as Greece.
According to many sources, the reason Italy withdrew their forces from Corfu was because they were under great pressure from many powers including the League of Nations, but the pressure was applied to Italy after Greece apologized and paid their reparations to them, all the League did before was giving Italy pointless condemns. The situation described above requires comparison with the Bulgaria incident in 1925; a Greek captain and two Greek soldiers were murdered in Bulgaria, the Greek dictator Theodoros Pangalos used the incident as an excuse to invade the Bulgarian land, but they were forced to halt their action and pay reparation for the harms of the invasion by the League of Nations, the Bulgarians did the same act as the Greeks did two years ago when they appealed the League, and there was no bribing involved in this incident. The Bulgarian incident is an example of the League's method of dealing with a weak country or a country that is not really significant for them; the League did not use their power of condemnation on the Greeks when they were attacking Bulgaria- great pressure was applied to the Greeks directly without Bulgaria sacrificing in any form (Greece sacrificed pride and wealth when they appealed the League).
The Corfu incident was the first incident that revealed the significant weakness of the League of Nations, it was the start of a series of invasion and conquering committed by the Fascist countries during 1920~1939.
After the partially successful invasion in Corfu, Italy attempted to expand its land vigorously; they officially took control of a free port named Fiume by signing a legal treaty with Yugoslavia in 1924, they invaded and conquered an African country named Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) from 1935~1936, then they annexed Albania in 1939. During the expansion of Italian land, the League of Nation's primary, non-Fascist powers Britain and France did not perform any attempts to stop Mussolini, they even provided assistance to Italy during the invasion on Abyssinia by allowing Italy to pass through the Sues canal without any interference and secretly signing the Hoare-Laval pact with Italy which gave them the permission to keep 60% of Abyssinia's land.
The reactions of the League of Nations towards Italy's aggressive actions greatly influenced the other powerful Fascist countries- Germany and Japan. The Manchuria incident best describes how Japan was influenced by Italy's situations; Japan claimed that the Chinese blew up their railway in south Manchuria and used the claim as an excuse to invade the innocent land on September 18, 1931(the railway was actually destroyed by the Japanese themselves with a well-planned scheme). After the complete conquer of Manchuria in February 1932, the League of Nations sent a group of experts to investigate the situation, the crew arrived Manchuria in September 1932 and suggested that it was Japan's foul; the League then condemned Japan to depart from Manchuria but ended up being ignored completely. The Manchuria incident was another version of the Corfu incident; the invasion were all started by an excuse, the offended country both appealed to the League of Nations but only got the power of condemnation as a response of justice. This routine of invasion appeared frequently during the period of time when the Fascist countries were expanding their land.
The Corfu incident directly affected the outbreak of World War II by influencing Germany's action. Germany's desire for power and land became extremely aggressive after Hitler came to power, he clearly understood the League of Nation's weak attitude towards strong countries after observing many previous events and began his savage actions when he took absolute control of Germany in August 1934; he announce the rearming of his army to the world in March 1935 and took control of Rhineland exactly one year later, then he seized the control of Austria and Czechoslovakia in March 1938 and March 1939. Every time Hitler seizes a piece of land, the tension in Europe amplifies considerably; the last invasion Germany stroke was towards Poland on September 1, 1939, the invasion was also known as the outbreak of World War II. Britain and France declared war on Germany two days after the invasion, the situation between the Fascist countries and the main powers of the League that occurred first in the incident of Corfu finally varied after a decade and six years, the repetition of the situation that first occurred in Corfu came to a halt at last.
The Corfu incident was only significant for its time of occurrence; it should actually be considered as a small event for its short persistence and narrow affecting range, but it was also the event that greatly influenced the other Fascist countries that caused other significant events afterwards- the Corfu incident can be described as the origin of the whole series of invasion and occupation committed by the Fascists.
Values of two sources.
The information provided by that described the incident of Corfu was extremely detailed; the information on this site provided detailed facts that is not mentioned in the textbook or in the notes, the site mentioned that the general that was assassinated was called Enrico Tellini, and the assassination did not only cause one casualty, general Tellini's four staff member were also assassinated, the fact may be insignificant for some people, but it made my view for the incident a bit different (Italy's action seemed a bit more reasonable since they lost five men in Greece, and the casualty was caused by working for the League of Nations, so it would be more reasonable for Italy to launch a small-scaled offence, but occupying Corfu was too much). The origin of the site's information is from The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition with Peter N. Stearns as general editor, the exact address of the information is The information is most valuable for its simplicity; the paragraph that described the Corfu incidence was only seven lines, but it provided all the necessary information of the incident, and the language of the paragraph is simple and easy to understand, it is an ideal source for a student's research. The only limitation this information includes is the access of World Wide Web; the information can only be browsed if Internet access is available.
The information provided by about the Corfu incident is more shocking than the others; it mentioned some of the actions the League performed that is not mentioned in many other sites, the fact that the League actually had the thought of holding Greece's reparation is not mentioned in the other sources, it amplifies the League's unfairness. The origin of this site's information are from Ben Walsh's Modern World History, The Essential facts about the League of Nations published in Geneva, and George Gill's The League of Nations from 1929 to 1946, the direct link to this website is The greatest value of this site is its overwhelming amount of information; the site contains two paragraphs about the Corfu incident, and it also introduced the background of the incident with simple language, the site is ideal for students that need a wider view of the incident. The limitation of this source is the access of Internet; it cannot be obtained without the access of Internet.

An evaluation into the League of Nations' efforts in the 1920s.

The League of Nations was set up to stop war and to bring peace among countries. It believed in discussing the problems and solving them without the usage of the military. In the invasions of Corfu and Bulgaria by Greece and Bulgaria, the League of Nations settled the disputes before the out break of war. However, their actions affected their reputation in many ways.
The incident in Corfu started because an Italian officer was killed because he was doing work for the L of N. This caused the leader of Italy, Mussolini to become very upset and so he attacked and occupied Corfu. Since Greece is part of the League they quickly turned to them for help, but the final solution that they came up with was very surprising. They first ordered Mussolini to leave, but he did not. After, they came up with the solution that Greece had to apologize and pay Italy and the Italians left when the Greeks did as the League ordered. They didn't severely punish Italy because one, they were in the Security Council, two; they were a major trading partner. Yes, the League achieved their purpose for their start; they prevented war from breaking out between Greece and Italy. If one simply just considers the outcome, then the League of Nations would have a fairly high reputation, but when the process of coming to this result is included, one may otherwise. It was Italy that had taken over Corfu without the permission of Greece, and yet they seemed to have the right reason. Greece, on the other hand, was the victim and instead, they had to apologize. Some people would see this as an act that would deeply lower the League's reputation instead of raising it. It was also deeply troubling because the League CHANGED ITS MIND.
A similar situation occurred in Bulgaria, but the League of Nations treated it the complete opposite way. The Greeks, like the Italians, found an excuse to invade Bulgaria, and Bulgaria turned to the League for help. The League condemned Greece and ordered them to leave. The Greeks did so. The Greeks were not a major trading partner and they couldn't afford to be like the Italians and have a war. This action greatly improved the reputation of the League of Nations. It also showed the world that it only respected and rewarded strong, powerful countries. Greece said that there were as a result TWO laws- one for big countries and another for small ones. Greece after all did the same as Italy but in both case was punished. Not only did they stop a war from breaking out, they also punished the "naughty" country. In this situation the League did what was right and what was best. When one views this action if the League, their impression of them would be very high. But when compared with the Corfu incident, one may doubt the if the League if fair or not.
In both of the incidents the problems were settled, but in different ways. For Corfu, the guilty was not punished but rewarded. In Bulgaria the culprit was warned and effectively driven out. The Bulgarian incident would have boosted the reputation of the League when not compared to Corfu. The incident in Corfu would definitely lower their reputation regardless of the fact that they stopped war. Each incident would have some input on raising their reputation, but more of it lowered it.

Did the actions in Corfu and Bulgaria add or diminish the League of Nations over time?

The League of Nations was created in 1920 to help countries settle down between them , become peacekeepers and solve problems overcoming the population. The major problems were drug control, Refugee work, famine relief and diseases which seemed one of its biggest successes for the League of Nations .The League of Nations was meant to help countries stay settled with each other ,instead it induced quarrels between countries. The League of Nations didn't always succeed in stopping those quarrels. Tension between countries became greater. Examples of those quarrels would be Corfu and Bulgaria. They indeed increased and a diminished the reputation of towards the League of Nations because they joined the defence towards important and bigger countries giving unfair punishments to countries less important , succeeded in averting war in the border disputes between Bulgaria and Greece and set a dangerous example to other countries becoming not effective peacekeepers.
The League of Nations on the 31st August 1923 condemned Mussolini of its invasion of the Greek island of Corfu and gave Greece a small sanction to pay for killing the Italian general Enrico Tellini until the killers were found and prosecuted. Mussolini at first accepted the terms as he then slowly entered the Conference of Ambassadors . The league of Nations was convinced of Italy's innocence as Mussolini slowly overdrew closer and closer to the League of Nations. The League then changed its mind and made Greece apologize and made them pay the compensation , while Mussolini was able to leave Corfu with no problem. The Corfu incident shows a diminish towards the League of Nations and an unfair favored treatment towards Greece. The League of Nations not only didn't solve the conflict between Italy and Greece but it sustained the country which for them was most powerful and most useful later on. Corfu was just an island for them while Italy was part of the League of Nations, there was also the problem that other parts of Greece were taken and Corfu would have caused the other part of Greece to rebel for their freedom so the League best thought to blame Greece and let Italy go. I would also mention that it showed that the League could change its mind from one day to the next.
In 1925 Greek soldiers were killed on the Greek-Bulgarian border which caused the Greeks to invade Bulgaria . Bulgaria than asked the League for help. Bulgaria's government told its soldiers not fight back and the League told the Greek's to leave. They obeyed and left. This shows an add of the Bulgarian actions towards the League of Nations as it succeed in averting the war in the border disputes between Bulgaria and Greece ,though , it still showed that their power wasn't strong, as things could have gone otherwise . Bulgaria could have fought the Greek and the League would have condemned Greece once more as in the Corfu incident , going along with the stronger , more powerful and bigger state. They proved that they could succeed but that wasn't for too long.
The Corfu and Bulgarian accidents were being evaluated and watched far away from other countries as they were learning the weakness of the League of Nations. One of the main person people was Adolf Hitler which had remained quite after all the blame which fell on Germany and the huge sanctions they had to pay and couldn't afford. The League did set a dangerous example to other countries causing more deaths and pain , though the League wasn't all failure as they helped most of the population to face and solve the problems of health, labour, slavery, refugees and famine. Their mistakes and failures from stopping previous wars were fatal for allot of countries.
The League's fall as well as other influences was the immediate cause of the outbreak of WW II . It caused all their previous work to fall down again and get even worse. The ones which feel those breakdowns are the populations which are the ones most fragile and weak. The League did for sure have both an add and a diminish from the actions of those quarrels which kept the world safe from another world war for a few years , giving people the opportunity to start over building family , homes , jobs and regain health.

Did the Pursuit of National Interests Hinder the Work and Success of the League of Nations between 1919 and 1936?

“One day it was a powerful body imposing sanctions, the next day it was a useless fraud.” AJP Taylor, an eminent British historian, being controversial at the same time, had a negative view of the League of Nations. The League was formed in January 1920, consisting of 42 members including France, Britain, Japan and Italy as the major powers, with its main aim of preventing wars in order to maintain the world peace. Due to the continuous pursuit of national interests in many great powers and imperialism in addition, the League seemed to be deteriorating with being neglected by countries, thus having incredibility in the other nations’ perspectives as seen to be malfunctioning, while on the other hand, was still able to accomplish some exploits for the peace.

The outset of the national interests hindering the efforts of the League was created by the US, the first country that had proposed the formation of the League of Nations but did not join with its consideration of national advantages. The US Senate was quite anxious about their sovereignty in taking actions because they were possible to be limited by the League if the US was joining. Another reason for the refusal of joining the League was that the country had adopted the policy of isolationism, which was clearly shown in the fact that Woodrow Wilson was the first US president to visit Europe[1] and as many Americans had supportive opinions with Monroe Doctrine (1823) which stated that European countries should not interfere with American affairs and so the US did not have a necessity to intervene in European affairs[2]. The businessmen were also opposing to join the League because they had to pay taxes which would be used for the League and their trades could be lost once the sanctions were taken on them. Also almost all of the Americans had antipathy towards Britain since the United States of America was formed by American Revolution (1775-1783), after which 13 countries ruled by the British Empire finally became free and united to create a country,[3] so they had to cooperate with Britain if they decided to be the member of the League. You mean they were still angry at the UK for that? As the US had 117,000 soldiers[4] who died in World War I, simply by fighting for the European powers, the Allies, this experience made Americans to predict that they again will have a loss of people, who do not actually have to die if the US did not join. All of these points preventing the US from joining the League of Nations showed that the country made a decision not to become part of the League due to its consideration of national advantages, not world peace. It gave this international organization an untrustworthy quality because the US was the first country to suggest forming League of Nations and in fact it was not even joining. Furthermore, the US has grown rapidly into an economically dominant country since many major European powers were damaged in all the aspects including military and economy by the World War I and many of them had borrowed money from the US. The League could have gained much more credibility if the US joined but as it didn’t, it negatively influenced the other nations’ view on the League of Nations.
The deficiency of France and Britain in taking sanctions was another case showing how the pursuit of national interests could act as an obstacle to the work of the League. The Great Depression began in 1929 has stimulated two permanent members of the League, Japan and Italy to be desiring of their expansion in empire. There was an agitation in China, which was suffering from the Chinese Civil War (1927-1950) between the Kuomingtang and the Chinese Communist Party.[5] Using this as an opportunity, Japan invaded Manchuria and set up Manchukuo with its ‘puppet ruler’, Henry P’ui. Even though the League set up a commission led by Lord Lytton in December 1931[6] to investigate the situation in Manchuria when China appealed to the League, the report of commission took almost a year and two other major members of the League, Britain and France, did not impose any trade sanction nor sent any troop to prevent Japan because they did not want to lose their soldiers by intervening in an affair in Asia, and Japan could invade Jehol, next to Manchuria, in 1933[7] after quitting the League. It meant that a country could do as it wanted to if it ignored the League and the League was even giving a way to an aggressive country. Similarly, when Italy was going to invade Abyssinia with the ambition of reviving the glories of Rome, Samuel Hoare, the British foreign minister, and Pierre Laval, the French foreign minister secretly signed the Hoare-Laval Pact to give Abyssinia to Italy in December 1935.[8] Mussolini could easily invade Abyssinia and these two countries even tried to annul the sanction after the League put sanctions on rubber and metal[9]. Though Japan and Italy were the permanent members of the League, they were only caring about their countries and their territorial acquisitions with strong imperialism, and the situation got worse by the other two permanent members, Britain and France, ignoring the power of sanction and being regardless of their roles as the members of the League but to secure their safety and not intervene other disputes that might harm them. Moreover, in 1926, Britain was having a dispute with Turkey over Mosul, a region in Iraq that has plentiful oil deposits, insisting to give it to Iraq, not Turkey, because Iraq might give Mosul to Britain due to its supportive help in saving Mosul from Turkey, which would expand the British sovereignty over the country.[10] The selfishness of all these four major members of the League was being hindrance for the League to proceed as a peace-keeping organization. Japan and Italy were still eager to invade other countries for their own expansion, and France and Britain were not putting enough efforts as a means of preventing wars but to give ways for them, making other nations to find it unjustified, and the incompetence of the League was reinforced with its slow commission report and failures in solving the disputes due to its avaricious major powers. Lots of facts, bt minimal attention placed on the work.
On the other hand EXCELLENT!, the League was regarded to be successful with some feats it had accomplished which boosted the improvement of the world. Slavery commission of the League distributed to the extermination of slavery in the world and finally set 200,000 slaves in Sierra Leone free[11]. In addition, it reduced the death rate of workers who constructed the Tanganyika railway in the West African territory from 55% to 4%[12], showing a big difference, and this could be down by the Commissions investigation and records on slavery and forced prostitution which were active, on the contrary to the slow reports done by the commissions in the Manchurian Crisis and the Abyssinian Crisis. After the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922), there were a number of refugees from both countries, who more became to be an issue since 80% of them were women and children[13]. They were helped by the refugee camps established in Turkey in 1922 by the Commission[14] and their diseases were also being cured by the health committee, which tried to stop spreading and get rid of diseases such as malaria and leprosy. Not only with the welfare service, but also with economic assistance to Austria and Hungary, the League was quite successful. Because of the Treaty of St.Germaine in 1919, Austria had to pay for the war reparations and had its lands shared between Czechoslovakia, Italy, Yugoslavia, Poland and Romania.[15] Another country created by splitting the Hapsburg Empire, Hungary, also had a great loss, especially in its territory, losing 61% of arable land and 83% of pig iron output[16] and part of the former Kingdom of Hungarys finance was under the control of Romania, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, the 3 nations that formed the Little Entente in 1920. These two treaties made Austria and Hungary to be suffering quite much economic damage with their losses of territories and finance. The League sent economic experts to these countries who worked for the financial recovery of these countries and some others such as Greece and Bulgaria.[17] The committees of the League proved its success by social aid, such as freeing slaves and refugees, curing diseases for them, and the League also showed its success by giving economic assistance to the other countries such as Austria and Hungary.
By the U.S not joining the League and four major powers, Japan, Italy, France and Britain, of the League making their roles meaningless, two of them being ambitious about expanding territories and the other two countries not trying to firm sanctions nor prevent the war, were the two reasons supporting the idea that the pursuit of national interests interfered the work and success of the League of Nations. The U.S.’s refusal to join the League lowered the credibility of the League and the misbehaviours of the four permanent members of it were perturbing the stability of it. Even though the League had these obstacles that thwarted its effectiveness, the League’s achievement in improving the world with social and economic assistance, for instance, helping slaves, refugees and less economically developed countries still showed that the League was not absolutely without any worthiness.

The League of Nations: Strengths and Weaknesses

Some may argue that the League of Nations was a success while other would say it was a total failure, but, failure or not, the concept was far ahead of its time. But nonetheless, the organisation had various flaws that contributed to its downfall. The League was created simply because Woodrow Wilson demanded it, in 1919 after the end of World War I. It was to promote international peace and righteousness. Wilson wanted countries to talk out their problems instead of resorting to violence and war. It was made of forty-two countries and by the 1930s, the number rose to sixty. There were various flaws in the League, but it still achieved many things in its short life. The League of Nations had four main functions: to stop war from ever happening again, disarmament, to make the world a better place by improving people's lives, and to enforce the Treaty of Versailles.
The League did not stop war from ever happening again; it is possible that it helped cause World War II, but the League did successfully settle two cases that could have resulted in war. In Corfu, the League managed to get Italy to leave Greece. In 1925, they also settled disagreements between Greece and Bulgaria. They also persuaded Yugoslavia to leave Albania and stop the dispute over the Aaland Islands. In attempting to settle these disputes, the League forced the Greeks to pay Italy money and apologize even though Mussolini was the one who invaded Greece. Again, in Bulgaria, the League condemned the Greeks and forced them to leave. It appeared as if the League sided mostly with rich and powerful countries. The League could not afford to displease any wealthy countries. It was as if there was one law for the powerful and one for the weak. In the few wars the League managed to stop, they were mostly in favour of the powerful countries.
As for disarmament, I would say this was one of the factors that led to the downfall of the League. The motives behind this action are honourable but if disputes happened, the League had no way of dealing with them. The Kellogg-Briand Pact in 1928 which was signed by sixty-five countries and outlawed war, was completely ignored. In the 30's, the League's disarmament talks came to a halt. Germany refused to agree because they wanted quality with Great Britain and France. The League had four powers, The Power of the Covenant which kindly reminded countries that they had promised to obey the League's rules. The Power of Condemnation which said if any countries broke a rule, the league had the power to shake their head and frown disapprovingly. The Power of Arbitration made the League into councillors who would listen to angry countries and help settle their problems. Lastly, with the Power of Sanctions, the League could stop other countries from trading with it. This was their most influential power but it was absolutely useless. When Japan was being "naughty", the League applied the Power of Sanctions which would have devastated Japan because they have had no natural resources and that would have stopped them. However, countries continued to trade with Japan because their economies was dependent on the Japanese. Again, when Hitler came into power and began invading small, weak countries formed from self-determination; the League didn't have the power to protect them.
The League did, however, manage to make the world a better place. They did not abolish slavery completely but they freed 200,000 slaves in Africa and Burma. The League significantly cut down on leprosy and malaria which could have killed millions of people. They housed, fed and dealt with over a million Prisoners of war. Made drugs illegal and shut down four large pharmaceutical companies in Switzerland. The League helped Austria and Hungary with their struggling economy.
To enforce the Treaty of Versailles, the League forced Germany to pay reparations and made sure they followed the rules. Great Britain, France and Belgium invaded and forced Germany to pay. In 1923, Germany stopped paying. Britain and Belgium did not invade and only France went in. The League of Nations gave the Germans no reason to respect and agree with them. The League took control of Saar and demilitarised Rhineland which made the German's very vulnerable. In the beginning, the League didn't even allow Germany to join.
Representation was often a problem among the League. The idea was to encompass all the nations of the world but most of them never joined. The League was mainly made up of European countries. The main powers were France, Great Britain, Italy and Japan. The General Assembly which included all countries, only met once a year. Almost all decisions were left in the hands of the four major powers. The greatest weakness of the League, was it's lack of the United Sates of America. This took away most of the League's potential power. At that time, the United States was one of the leading countries in economy and wealth. Since the United States refused to join the League, the two most important members were UK and France who often disagreed with one another. The League was made up of mostly members from the Alliance whom all had biases towards the Axis. This bias caused many Axis to struggle in trying to rebuild their countries. One of the most important weaknesses, was that the four powers acted in ways that their countries could benefit. Most of them acted in their own nations interests and very few were committed to the goals of the League. Even though there were four powers, UK and France were the key figures. To pass anything in the League, it needed unamity and all countries had to agree. This made it difficult for them to achieve anything. The league was often indecisive and required unanimous votes. This made reaction to problems slow, inconclusive and not very effective. Sometimes, impossible.
In conclusion, the League of Nations had it's strong points and weaknesses. Though they did not achieve much during their short life, the idea alone should have been an achievement. The concept of countries working together to achieve world peace was inconceivable. The League did not have its own power but was mainly dependent on the contributions of other countries. The dependency on countries caused some decisions to be unfair and bias. Though the League of Nations was destroyed during World War II, it gave birth to the United Nations which today, still helps keep world peace.

What hurt the League more, the Manchurian Crisis or Abyssinian Crisis?

 The Wall Street Crisis occurred in New York in 1929 extremely depressed the state of the world. People lost their jobs and businesses went bankrupt. Many countries became selfish in order to recover their economies. The world was losing its order; fascism grew and a crisis ensued. The Manchurian crisis and Abyssinian crisis were the two of the most important crises happened during those ages, which consequently made the League of Nations to lose the power.    

The Manchuria crisis which happened in 1931, was about China invaded by Japan. Japanese sent the army to China in order to get out of the depression. They took Manchuria, which was in the northeast of China, and renamed it as Manchukou. The League of Nations sent Lytton Commission, trying to make sure what was happening between Japan and China. However this took almost a year to finish investigating. After the League of Nations received Lytton Report, the League finally started to condemn Japan, asking it to give Manchuria back to China. But Japan refused this and left the League in 1933.

This apparently showed the how weak the League of Nations was. The League tried to take sanction against Japan. But it was useless. Japan's major trading partner was the U.S., which was not belonged to the League. In addition, Some European countries, such as Britain, didn't want to charge sanction to Japan because they wanted to sell their goods. Economic sanction was the harshest punishment that the League of Nations had. Furthermore, Britain and France didn't want to fight a war against Japan. Eventually the League of Nations lost its honor because they even couldn't stop a small Asian country invading the other.

 Another infamous crisis that humiliated the League of Nations was Abyssinian crisis. In 1935 Italy let by Mussolini sent 400,000 troops to Abyssinia, trying to take it over. Italy harshly used modern weapons, such as poison gas to invade Abyssinia with poor army. Apparently, the League of Nations should stop Italy, but what they did was just talking with Mussolini. Furthermore the League just decided to give a part of Abyssinia to Italy. This act disappointed the world. How come the one who should stop the war helped the one who invaded the other?

Unfortunately, Italy wasn't satisfied with what the League told it, so they invaded Abyssinia. Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie asked the League for help. The League, however seemed not to take it seriously. For example, it imposed sanctions on Italy, but they still kept selling petrol to Italy. In addition, Britain owned the Suez Canal, so actually it could have easily stopped Italy from invading Abyssinia had it so wished. What is more, Britain and France secretly signed the Hoare-Laval Pact, the aim of which was to end the war between Italy and Abyssinia by actually giving most of Abyssinia to Italy. So, eventually, the League of Nations helped Italy to conquer Abyssinia. After this crisis the League lost all of its trust.

Both Manchurian Crisis and Abyssinian Crisis were fatal incidents for the League of Nations. Manchurian one shamed the League by showing that the League couldn't act swiftly and effectively against a small country. But in my opinion the Abyssinian crisis was more important. The League betrayed Abyssinia by give it to Italy. This showed people that the League was after all self-centred, and didn't keep its promises. Thus, it made people unable to trust the League any more. In contrast, the Manchurian crisis made people belittle the League by comparing loss of trust and being belittled, I think the Abyssinian crisis hurt the League of Nations more.

To what Extent was the League of Nations successful in the 1920s?

"The League had no means of enforcing its decisions other than the effect of world opinion. If a power chose to be defiant, there was nothing effective that the League could do." S Reed Brett wrote this in the book, European History 1900-1960, in 1967. This quote exactly described the situation and the conditions of the League of Nations in the 1920s. They were successful in preventing minor conflicts between countries and improving the living conditions of citizens in the world, but whenever a country decided to be defiant or noncompliant, the League of Nations was useless because they were not capable of enforcing their decisions. The League of Nations had 4 main aims and they were to establish self-determination, disarm nations, stop wars, and improve the world. The League of Nations was approximately 50% successful in the 1920s because their aim of improving the world resulted in nearly 100% completion, their aim of disarmament resulted in 50% agreement, their aim of preventing wars resulted in 50% completion, and their aim of self-determination resulted in nearly 0% success, and the average of the success of the League of Nations would be 50%.

The League of Nations was 50% successful in the 1920s because their aim of improving the world was extremely successful and it nearly achieved 100% of their objectives. Although the International Labour Organisation failed in winning the support the nations for a 48-hour workweek, the League of Nations oversaw numerous organisations that were successful in other areas. During the 1920s, the League freed over 200,000 slaves in Sierra Leone and formulated attacks to prevent the practice of forced labour in Africa. It even reduced the death rate of workers in Tanganyika from 55% to 4%. The Health Organisation worked to prevent diseases such as malaria and leprosy from infecting and killing civilians and it even prevented an epidemic of typhus from dispersing through Europe by intervening the early stages of the problem in the Soviet Union. The Commission of Refugees resettled 400,000 prisoners of wars and wars that primarily came from Russia and it established refugee camps in Turkey in 1922 and a Nansen passport as a form of identification for homeless people. The League of Nations even sent economic experts to Austria and Hungary to advance the economic circumstances. Despite numerous obstacles after 4 years of world war, the League of Nations oversaw organizations that attempted to ameliorate the living standards of citizens, and the efforts prospered in numerous locations. Although chaos filled numerous countries, these organizations significantly eliminated poverty and brought freedom to slaves and prisoners of wars. The League of Nations was nearly 100% successful in the 1920s of achieving their aim of improving the world in nearly every possible aspect in the society.

The League of Nations was 50% successful in the 1920s because their aim of disarmament was 50% successful. The Kellog-Briand Pact, conceptualized by Aristide Briand, was introduced to prevent the emergence of German military aggression and America eventually proposed a multilateral treaty. The League of Nations assisted the progress of this pact and 15 major powers signed unto it in August 1928. On page 61 of the book Conflict, Communism, and Fascism: Europe 1890-1945, it also states:
However, the League of Nations did promote a greater level of international co-operation than had ever existed before. This climate encouraged the signing by Britain, Japan, France, Italy and USA of the Washington Naval Agreement in 1922, which set limits on naval shipbuilding.
However, Britain did not sign a 1923 disarmament treaty and nations such as Germany and the Soviet Union did not dramatically disarm in the 1920s since they were not supervised by the League of Nations. The league achieved 50% in their aim of disarmament in the 1920s because they encouraged and were involved in several disarmament treaties that were signed by many nations, yet other nations did not comply with these treaties and some even expanded their military forces because of the lack of observance of the abiding of the laws.
The League of Nations was 50% successful in the 1920s because they prevented 50% of wars or conflicts from taking place while ignoring or unable to prevent the other 50% of wars from occurring. Sweden and Finland almost fought a war for the Aland Islands, but the League intervened after Sweden raised the issue in 1921 and the crisis was solved peacefully. Albania and Yugoslavia quarreled about the borders, and Yugoslav forces occupied Albanian territories even after the Paris Peace Conference. The Yugoslav forces invaded Albania after encounters with Albanian tribesmen, and the league sent representatives to resolve this dilemma, and war was prevented again. The League also had successes with the prevention of wars between Greece and Bulgaria and between Iraq and Turkey. However, the League failed in other incidents. France and Belgium invaded Ruhr in 1923 since Germany was unable to pay the reparations in 1922. This action was clearly in opposition of the policies of the League, but the League did not act upon the incident since Britain did not want to oppose France. On August 31st of 1923, Italy invaded the island of Corfu because Greece did not pay the reparations for the murders of Italian general Enrico Tellini and his men. The League condemned the occupation, but it was eventually forced to compromise on the terms of Mussolini. The Polish-Lithuanian War happened from August 1920 to October 7 of 1920 due to the disagreements about the control of Vilnius. The League of Nations could have terminated the war, but Britain and France, due to their reliance upon Poland as a future ally against Germany, ignored the war and accepted the Lithuanian capital as a Polish city. The League nevertheless was successful in preventing numerous conflicts from ascending into a full-scale war. Many countries sought for the intervention of the league into the conflicts and these countries obeyed the decisions of the League. However, it also failed in preventing wars because France and Britain, the leaders of the League, positioned their national interests in front of the policies of the League. Numerous defiant nations ignored the decisions of the League and many mistrusted the league because of their unreasonable judgements. The League was 50% successful in the 1920s because they were 50% successful and 50% unsuccessful in achieving the aim of preventing wars.

The League of Nations was 50% successful in the 1920s because the outcomes of their results of the establishment of self-determination were absolutely horrible and ended in 0% success. The League of Nations only saw the deliverance of self-determination to small European countries, yet nations such as Iraq, Libya, and Palestine became mandates for nations such as France and Britain. Even colonies such as Australia and New Zealand received their respective mandates like New Guinea and Nauru. As for former colonies such as India and nearly all the African nations, they were completely ignored about the reception of self-determination. Poland received self-determination when it gained its independence on Nov. 9, 1918, and they received numerous territories like the Polish Corridor from Germany. However, they were not satisfied and they invaded Russia in 1920 and drove the Russians back from Warsaw. Czechoslovakia also received self-determination from the Paris Peace Conference, yet numerous ethnic problems existed in the newly formed nations because the German and the Slovaks were displeased with the industrial and economic condition of the nation. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was another example of a new nation that received self-determination, yet their relations with nations like Hungary and Romania were bitter. All these former Hapsburg Empire's nations were unstable, politically divided, agriculturally inadequate, and industrially receded. Hardly any of these nations were in improved conditions and many were eventually overtaken by dictatorships and oppressions of the public. To make the situation worse, regional and international peace and prosperity were further threatened by self-determination. The League of Nations saw complete failures in their original aims of instituting stability in Europe through self-determination.  The League of Nations faced numerous obstacles during the 1920s, and it overcame them in some situations, but it failed in others. Overall, they met their aims fairly well. The League of Nations was approximately 50% successful in the 1920s because of the average percentage of the success of each aim. The League was nearly 100% successful in improving the world, 50% in disarming and in preventing wars, and 0% in delivering self-determination.