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IB 20 League of Nations

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Lee Brentnell

on 6 May 2012

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Transcript of IB 20 League of Nations

The League of Nations
What was the League of Nations?
An idea of American President Woodrow Wilson following the first world war
An international police force made up of representatives of many countries
An organization that would allow disputes to be settled without resorting to war, based in Geneva (neutral country).
Differing views on how the League should operate:
France’s idea of a strong League would mean it could be an effective force, the League was meant to be centred on peace. Potentially, its own army could provoke another war
Britain’s simpler idea would mean that the League would merely dealing with emergencies rather than working on preventing them from of occurring in the first place
America’s version of the League would be expensive
and complicated to organize, although it might have
been the most effective version in terms of keeping peace
joining the League was not popular with all Americans…
Many felt TOV unfair & as LON was attached they had serious misgivings about its intentions
Isolationism was high as many wanted
to avoid further foreign wars
Republicans felt potential costs
associated with LON too great
Anti-French/British sentiments high as anti-imperialist fear LON a tool of their agenda
Wilson’s party lost the election in 1919. His opponents promised to follow a policy of isolationism (staying out of international affairs). And so America did not join the League of Nations…
Aims of the League
Discourage aggression from any country

Encourage co-operation in business and trade

Encourage disarmament

Improve working and living conditions for people across the world
When it opened, some countries were not members of the League:
America:- had become isolationist

Germany:- As a defeated country who was blamed for starting the Great War, Germany was not invited to join

Russia:- Were not invited to join the League, mainly due to their Communist government
The Structure of the League of Nations
League of Nations operations in the 1920's
With the League’s help over 400 000 prisoners of war were returned home

The slavery Commission brought about the freeing of over 200 000 slaves in British-owned Sierra-Leone and organised raids against slave owners and traders in Burma

The Health Committee worked hard to defeat leprosy and malaria. It later became the World Health Organisation (WHO)
Sweden accepted the League’s decision to give the Aaland islands to Finland. The two countries thereby avoided going to war for them

The League divided Upper Silesia between Germany and Poland after a plebiscite showed a clear divide. Both countries accepted this decision.
1929 Wall Street Crash!
This is MAJOR turning point for the league:

*Many members of the League were now focused on solving domestic problems.

*The crash created a depression in Europe causing unemployment and poverty. Dictators rose to power as they promised a solution to problems. These were new problems for the League to face.

*Had a major effect on Japan who relied heavily on international trade. This failure of world trade would contribute towards the invasion of Manchuria
The 1930’s…
Were BAD for the League:

*The 1930’s are always seen as bad for the league by comparison with the 1920’s.

*There were three huge failures for the League in the 1930’s:
The Japanese invasion of Manchuria
The failure of the disarmament conference
The invasion of Abyssinia by Italy
Failure #1: Manchuria
There was an explosion on the Manchurian railway that ran though China. The Japanese depended on this railway to transport goods into their country, whose natural resources and agriculture were limited by their mountainous terrain.

The Japanese invaded China on the grounds that it needed to safeguard its railway. However, they later also bombed Shanghai
China appealed to the League for help and the League ruled that the Japanese should return Manchuria to Chinese rule.

But Japan continued to invade new areas of China

The League discussed sanctions but its member were not prepared to send troops to enforce its decision.
Why did it fail?
*Japan was too far away

*The League were worried about offending Japan who was an important member of the League

*Britain and France were more concerned about the problems resulting from the depression in their own countries

*Russia, the only country with troops and resources enough to combat the problem quickly in the region, was not a member of the League
Failure 2: The Disarmament conference 1932-3
In February 1932, the League of Nations held a disarmament conference.

It produced rules to limit the size of artillery and tanks, ban the bombing of civilians and chemical warfare. HOWEVER, nothing was agreed upon as to how they would enforce these limits.

They were also unsure as to what to do about Germany- should all countries disarm to her level or should Germany be allowed to re-arm to the new universal lower level as the T. of V. had been too harsh?
Failure 3: Mussolini’s invasion of Abyssinia 1935
The light grey areas were Italian territory in eastern Africa.

You can see why Italy, who wanted to expand her empire, would choose this area of land.

Italy also wanted revenge after an embarassing failed attempt to take Abyssinia in 1896
The background
Like Japan, Italy was an important member of the League
Like Japan, Italy wanted to expand its empire

Unlike Japan, Italy was right on the League’s doorstep
Unlike Japan, Abyssinia had borders with British colonies

UNLIKE Japan, the League could not claim the problem was too far away to deal with.

This would be a very real test for the League!
So what did the League do?
Very little…

*The League was anxious to keep Italy on side. Italy was their best ally against Hitler.

*Britain and France signed an agreement with Mussolini about standing united against Germany and the problem in Abyssinia was not even discussed

*There was much talking and negotiating but nothing was actually done to discourage Mussolini

*Eventually a committee reported to the League that neither side was responsible for the conflict at the oasis. The League put forward a plan that would give Italy some of Abyssinia. But Mussolini rejected it.
The events
1934 There was a dispute between Italian and Ethiopian soldiers at an oasis 8oKM inside Abyssinia.

Mussolini began preparing an army for an invasion

Mussolini claimed this was Italian territory

The Abyssinian emperor appealed to the League
The situation worsens…
October 1935 A full-scale Italian invasion of Abyssinia commenced
It was a clear sign of aggression and the League’s set of guidelines made it clear that sanctions (no trade rules) should be imposed.
It banned sales of arms, rubber, metals and loans to Italy.
However, these sanctions caused economic problems e.g. British coal-workers lost jobs because of ban of exports to Italy
And Britain and France were making secret plans behind the League’s back, offering Mussolini more of Abyssinia in return for stopping his invasion
Eventually, Hitler’s invasion of the Rhineland made many countries unwilling to upset Italy any further, as their support against Hitler seemed crucial.
The League watched helplessly. Mussolini annexed the whole country. The League had failed.
What were the reasons for the League of Nations’ failures during the 1930s?
Leave us alone!
We have our own problems!
Open the Google Form link and
complete the questions for each source
America has two options
The "German" option
The "Keynesian" option
Complete the following survey on the above chart
Complete the following survey on the operations of the LON in the 1920's
Google Doc Review questions
Copy of the assignment http://db.tt/axnu9zD8
Full transcript