Evaluating the Ineffectiveness of the League of Nations and the United Nations

After World War I, Woodrow Wilson presented his Fourteen Points to achieve world peace. Among these points was the suggestion of forming the League of Nations. This organization was to help member countries discuss with one another about pressing issues. At the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, the League of Nations was created. The organization is made up of the secretariat, council, and the assembly (League of Nations). The Disarmament Commission was by far the most important commission for peace. The League had a few successes but many more losses before its end when no members wished to meet any longer.

World War II began shortly after. The war was a great tragedy to all of the nations involved. A feeling of a need of peace, similar to that following World War I, consumed the world. An organization called the United Nations was formed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt went into effect on October 24, 1945 (United Nations, Eleanor). Its purpose was extremely similar to that of the League of Nations. The UN was to keep peace be acting as a “mediator” between the groups involved with the conflict (United Nations, Eleanor). Peacekeeping missions are very significant in the battle for world peace.

Both of these organizations had its successes and failures along its existence. The failures of the League of Nations and the United Nations seem extremely similar, and it is surprising how the problems of the League could not have been identified and corrected as the United Nations was formed. In hindsight, there are many reasons that could contribute to the idea that the League of Nations was never going to function properly. For one thing, the League of Nations did not own a military force to use at its dispense for peacekeeping missions and such.

Without an armed military base and means of force, there is no way that the League of Nations could have had an impact on situations. So naturally, there was a need to borrow troops for the member nations. Unfortunately, the members were hesitant to donate these troops. Without this armed force, the League was required to come up with another method to enforce its settlements. To solve this problem, the League decided to use economics to its advantage. The member nations would refuse to trade with the unruly nation in order to make an impact.

This was quite ineffective since the League of Nations failed to note that the nation it is trying to penalize has the full ability to trade with countries that are not part of the League. (League of Nations) France and Britain both felt as though their affairs should not get involved with the League of Nations. Being “Great Powers” and not being involved means a loss if impact for the League. France and Britain then fell to the method of appeasement as Adolf rose in power. (League of Nations). This policy differs from that needed to keep the League of Nations functioning at its full potential.

The greatest weakness of the League of Nations was the fact that the United States never joined, even though Woodrow Wilson was the architect of it. Without this power, success of the organization was inevitable. The United States held the keystone to the League’s destiny of success or collapse (The Gap In the Bridge). This major power would have provided the necessary root for the League of Nations to succeed and make a difference. During the 1930s, a few members began to leave the League, which most obviously decrease its power. Japan decided to leave when it felt as though the League of Nations was “euro-centric”.

Italy also left in 1937. When came to power, Germany was removed. The Soviet Union was forced out of the League due to aggression with Finland (League of Nations). With the exit of all of these powers, it was impossible for the League to have enough influence to actually have an impact. Another huge weakness of the League of Nations concerned its decision-making process. A unanimous vote was required in order to pass a resolution (League Of Nations). This caused great difficulty of passing anything due to the contrasting views of nations such as Germany and the Soviet Union.

There is no use of an organization that cannot come up with a resolution that could change the state of areas in concern. It was impossible for it to make a decision, thus giving the ability to label it as unproductive and unnecessary. Members of the League of Nations always wanted to “protect their own national interests” (League of Nations). Many events in history illustrated how the League of Nations was a failure. The conflict over the town of Cieszyn, between Poland and Czechoslovakia is a good example. The League made the mistake by giving the town to Poland but gives the suburbs to Czechoslovakia.

Within these suburbs were important coalmines. The dispute lasted for twenty years longer due to this mistake. (League of Nations). The League was unable to end the dispute for good, but let it continue on for twenty years more. An evaluation to decide which nation to give the city to was necessary. After WWI, Lithuania decided to name the city of Vilna its capital. Poland has a shared history with Lithuania, so Poland felt as though the city belonged to it. Poland then seized Vilna and incorporated it into Poland as Wilno Voivodship. The League asked Poland to recede, but the plea was unsuccessful.

Britain and France also decided to back off of this dispute, so the power behind the League of Nations lacked. To top it all off, the organization recognized Wilno. The League of Nations was not able to keep the peace between these two nations for the years until 1938. (League of Nations) In 1922, Germany could not pay its war reparations as instructed in the Treaty of Versailles. France and Belgium were discontented with this and decided to invade the Ruhr. This was an attempt to attack Germany’s industry. Britain was not going to counter this aggression due to fact that France is a major ally.

Through all of this, the League of Nations did nothing. (League of Nations). France obviously broke the rules of the League of Nations, and if there is the ability for a member nation to do such an act, it displays much weakness of protocol. The rules were put in place to keep order. A failure to have a structure is chaos and the organization could not possibly work. The League of Nations has completely lost its purpose by this point in time. The crisis in Manchuria of 1931 showed one of the greatest faults of the League of Nations. Manchuria, located in China, had a railroad running through it, which was controlled by the Japanese.

Japan felt as though Manchuria was the best area to accommodate the overflowing population (Manchuria). One day in the fall of 1931, an explosion occurred, damaging the railroad’s tracks in one area. The Japanese reacted by sending troops to South Manchuria. The League of Nations sent a warning to Japan, but it did not acknowledge. Economic sanctions would not be reasonable method, considering the depression that was setting in (Manchuria). A Japanese attack on Shanghai occurred on January 29, 1932, thousands of civilians. Japan and China were still sore towards each other for years to follow.

(The Manchurian Crisis). This crisis shows how the League of Nations was unable to restrain a major power such as Japan. Another event on the timeline of League failures is the Italian invasion of Abyssinia. Leader Benito Mussolini wanted to show how powerful Italy had become after the Abyssinians defeated them. The Italian army invaded Abyssinia after Mussolini accused it of assault in Wal Wal. The League of Nations responded by setting up economic sanctions once again. This became ineffective because three members did not comply and the sanctions did not involve oil, which was very important.

(Abyssinia). Enforcement was obviously a big issue when so many as three nations don’t even work to punish Japan. The League’s involvement with this crisis caused Italy to turn away from it and eventually led Mussolini to seek alliance with . (Abyssinia). Seeing that World War II began, it is obvious that the League of Nations did not fulfill its purpose of peacekeeping. So many conflicts erupted when there was supposed to be peace according to Wilson’s Fourteen Points. The biggest problem was unity. Not enough of the member nations chose to participate.

Without the contributions of the major powers, nothing would get accomplished, and thus, Wilson’s plan would not work. His ideas were very desirable in theory, but inevitable to be achieved in a world such as this. Naturally, each country looked after its own interests and is narrow-minded. After World War I, the willingness to accept any plan to attempt to preserve peace was high. The acceptance of the League of Nations was premature and not thought through as to how much it will actually benefit. The post-war mentality clouded their eyes before a sound decision could be made.

So as a result, time was wasted and money was spent on this useless organization. The United Nations, like the League of Nations, has many problems with the way it is set up and its member nations. These problems have created apparent weaknesses in the UN. It has been in controversy for years whether the means of the United Nations were valid. Allegations of infringing on national sovereignty are one of the greatest faults of the UN. When a country’s ability to govern itself without intervention is taken away, great discontent arises.

Naturally, an independent nation would not appreciate an intrusion, especially without permission. This issue is discussed repeatedly in every UN conference, no matter what the committee deals with. The United Nations has been accused on many occasions of attempting to remove current governments and replace it with a more suitable one. This, of course, would not be taken kindly to. The UN has stepped the boundary between “helpful assistance” and “brutal takeover. ” Possession plays a large part in this issue. Nations want to have their power, and nothing can change that.

The UN’s involvement in the Korean War was an unwise choice. Since the UN lacked an army like the League of Nations, troops were required to lend. The United Nations called the war the Korean Conflict in order to protect the United States from declaring war (Korean). In June of 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea and the U. S. and the UN intervened. The U. S. did so to prevent the spread of communism. The Chinese felt irritated by the United Nations being so close to the border (Kagan, 1047). This was a very big mistake for the UN because its presence caused even more disturbance than necessary.

Lives of UN peacekeepers, Chinese, Koreans, and U. S. soldiers could have been preserved if not for this “conflict. ” Roughly 2,500,000 people died in the Korean War and of the South Koreans, 85 percent were mere civilians (Korean). This is one instance where the UN crossed the point of being too involved. So in theory, the United Nations get involved at the wrong times and doesn’t get involved enough at the right times. Like the League of Nations, the UN also had the insecurities of the member nations. Without support from the nations, it is impossible for there to be

any noteworthy change in the world’s society. The United Nations doesn’t have any of its own armed forces to assist in disputes; it must borrow troops for the missions it wishes to carry out. The United Nations is completely based on reliance. This is not an efficient method since, after analytical studies of society, people tend to be more dishonest and trustless. And above all, nations always want to protect their own interests. If that meant to become devious and unwilling to obey to the rules of the United Nations, so be it. Unfortunately, this happens all too often in recent history.

All of this causes conflicts between nations, which entirely eradicates the original plan for peace. The United Nations’ failure to put a stop to the Israeli invasion on Lebanon was a great failure of the organizations. In 1978, Israel’s forces were removed from southern Lebanon and replaces with a task force called UNIFIL (Israeli). It was UNIFIL’s job to help Lebanon recuperate by maintaining peace and help restore the government. A group of ists slipped by the United Nations force and conflicts over the border of southern Lebanon and Israel continued (Israeli).

Many civilians died during the conflicts. Some feel as though the United Nations did not do enough to prevent these conflicts and much as a result. More really could have been done to prevent this. The UN could have ordered more troops into Lebanon, but cooperation is an issue. Nevertheless, the s have occurred and nothing can change that. The Oil-For-Food program, introduced in 1995, was originally designed to tend to Iraq’s food and medicine shortage by trading food for its oil (Oil-For-Food Programme). This was meant to help Iraq, which was suffering from an economic sanction imposed by the UN.

The government of Iraq began to increase the price of the oil to make a profit (Oil-For-Food Programme). This money was thought to be funding ists in Palestine and Iraq (Oil-For-Food: Facts). Many investigations were conducted after a suspicion was brought to attention. Food handouts were under par and were considered “unfit for human consumption” (Oil-For-Food Programme). The United Nations was not being conscientious about the dealings in Iraq. The organizations that had contracts with Iraq were completely confidential (Oil-For-Food Programme).

Also, the UN did not have the resources to prevent smuggling (Oil-For-Food: Facts). This entire Oil-For-Food scandal and the UN’s inept senses and unwillingness to get involved ultimately fueled the United State’s attack on Iraq. Another weakness of the United Nations is that a group of nations have to ability to form a tyrannical system. Countries that have the same government and economic views will often group together. And from these groups comes great power of the vote. Using this great force, the majority will always rule. The great powers consist of the U.

S. , USSR, China, Japan, Britain, and France. They possess a veto power, which can override any motion. This would allow them to cancel any motion that was against their views. When the United Nations was forming, the Soviet Union insisted on this veto power (Soviet). Since the powers are all from different backgrounds, coming to one decision is very difficult. For example, a communist nation and a capitalist nation would end up butting heads constantly due to their opposing views. This is obviously a weakness that cannot be avoided.

It can be concluded, following an analytical study of society, that nations always want to protect their own interests over the good of the entire group. Naturally, this would not coincide with the United Nations and its principles. Seeing that the League of Nations and the United Nations were so similar, it is a wonder how the UN still exists today. It is believed that there is far too much false hope of world peace and harmony. So many weaknesses can be identified by simply analyzing the events, which caused the organizations to fail.

Concerning the League of Nations, the conflict in Cieszyn proved that the League of Nations could not put a permanent end to a dispute, the disagreement of Vilna shows the incapability for the organizations to establish peace, the Manchurian Crisis presented the fact that the League of Nations could not prevent a large attack which killed many, the invasion of Abyssinia proved how the measures taken were not enough to keep Italy peaceful.

The United Nations failed to keep peace by rather demoting it when it caused China’s attacks during the Korean Conflict, failing to stop the Israeli invasion on Lebanon by not having enough force, creating a program to help humanity that gives the full ability of embezzlement, and having a system that can fuel the growth of tyrannical rule within it. After the failure of the League of Nations, note should have been taken of the weaknesses and avoided them once the United Nation was forming. This obviously did not happen. The United Nations continues to make resolutions that do not benefit or even cause more conflict. Changes need to be made to the system in order for the organization to be productive and achieve the goals set for it.