League of Nations

The League of Nations was established at the end of the First World War and it is claimed that it was the Wilson's dream for creating new world order. The primary goal of The League was to abolish wars and keep the world in peace but unfortunatelly the laudable dream of Wilson lay in ruins. The League was set up by the Treaty of Versailles in 1918. The main aims were to avoid wars, improve people's work conditions and health care in a simply case of making the world a better place to live. It consisted of an assembly, a council which considered crises, a Court of International Justice and a number of comittees such as the Health comittee.

As a matter of fact, the League of Nations had its strenghts and weaknesses. The main strenght was the fact that the League was established by the Treaty of Versailles which was signed by every nation and by the 1930s it had almost 60 nations as members. It could impose its will by offering arbitration or applying trade sanctions. The main strenght occured to be as well the main weakness because of the fact that the Treaty of Versailles was hated by nations. The aims of League were definitely too ambitious and it had no army.

The facts that Germany, USA and Russia (the most powerful countries) were not members and the decisions had to be unanimous are also signed as the weaknesses. In its begginings, the League of Nations achieved some successes. It effectively resolved the quarell over Aaland Islands between Sweden and Finland in 1920. The Islands were under Finland sovereignty in the 1900s but they were Swedish-speaking mostly. After 1917 the residents wanted the Islands to become Sweden property but obviously Finland did not wish to cede the Islands.

In 1921 Sweden raised the issue with the League which decided that the islands should remain a part of Finland but be under an autonomious goverment. The Islands were given to Finland. The League intervened successfully when Yugoslavian forces occupied part of the Albanian property in the matter of the border between these two countries remainded in dispute after the Paris Peace Conference (1919). The Leaugue sent representations of various powers to the land and as the result the war was prevented. The 1920s seemed to be succesfull, but the 1930s appeared as a failure because of the situation in Manchuria (1931) and Abyssinia (1935).

Japan started to build an empire even though the world was overcome by an economic crisis. In 1932 the Japanese army occupied the region of Manchuria, deportated Chinese and arranged their own goverment there. China asked the League fot help and it sent officials to examine the situation. Japan resigned the membership in the League of Nations because it did not have any intentions of giving up Manchuria. Facing the fact that neither Britain nor France wanted to start war, the League could not impose any sanctions. Japan stayed in Manchuria – the League failed.

In the Abyssinia case, Abyssinia asked the League for help when Mussolini had appeared to be ready to attack that region. The Leauges' effort was abortive and Mussolinis' army invaded the region. Trying to negociate with him, the League offered a part of Abyssinia, but Mussolini simply ignored the organization. The sanctions did not help as well. Britain and France agreed to give the region to Italy but it was kept as a secret. The League failures again. Because of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles Germany could not posses any military force in the region of Rhineland. Hitlers defense strategy included reoccupying that area.

When it happened the League of Nations did nothing: it had not impose any economic or military sanctions and any army was sent. The further action of German agression was the annexation of Austria in 1938. The Prime Minister of Austria had been forced to resigne and a Nazi Prime Minister was appointed. Austria was annexed to the Reich which was called Anschluss and the League failed not doing anything. In September 1938 Hitler threatened war to incorporate the western area of Czechoslovakia. He took over the lands and at the same time Memel town which was a German speaking one was seized from Lithuania.

This occupations and annexions were a definitive denials of the Treaty of Versailles but the League did not use its power in these cases. Agreements such as The British Naval Pact with Germany signed without consulting with the members were creating a nervous and tense atmosphere. The League was not having any impact on the events which were without leading to the Second World War. What was also getting the situation worse was one of the main weaknesses of the LON which was the fact that the most powerful countries were not members of the League.

The very important thing to consider is were there organizations that could prevent leaders like Mussolini or Hitler commiting the acts of aggressions. As a matter of fact if anyone had done more radical and certain actions the history would went the other path. One of the greatest opportunities to stop the invasion of Hitler occured as he started to occupy the Rhineland. He admitted himself that his forces hadn't been strong enough to prevent the attack from British or French armies.

To sum up, it will not be fair to claim that the League of Nations was an unmitigated failure. Its all concept based on goodwill could improved many of social problems as the health care (the Health Organization did researches on leprosy and delt with the Typhus fever in Russia), refugee case or the problem of territories obtained from the central powers. Still, what puts a shadow on the League is being silent on the situations that lead to the II World War. The fact that nothing was done in when it was really important to be done is the strongest to call the League a failure.