The league of nations was put up after the Treaty of Versailles in 1920, January 10. Its headquarters were in Geneva. The leagues membership was forty-one in 1919, then fifty by 1924 and sixty by 1934.
This league was the idea of the American president of the time Woodrow Wilson, even though they don’t join the League. The League of Nations aimed to establish institutions for international diplomacy and arbitration. In this essay I will argue whether it was clear that the league would fail from the beginning.
One of the problems that should have made clear that it would be difficult for the League to reach its aims was the fact that it needed as much power as possible and by two of the most powerful countries, America and USSR.
The whole structure of the league was a not very strong. It had 6 departments: Secretariat, Council, Assembly, Court of International Justice, International Labour Organization, and keeping order. At the assembly ( based in Geneva) all the countries had to take a vote and they had to vote on the members budget, at the International Labour Organization they aimed to improve the working conditions for the workers and they collected all the statistics. These two departments in the League only met up once a year which made the process of complaints and sorting out problems very long and time consuming.
They should have known from the beginning that meeting once every year was not enough and should have thought about how to make the League more stronger.
The world wide depression hit Japan hard and resulted with most of the population becoming unemployed, so many Japanese people believed that by invading a new area or territory was a way out of this economic disaster. This was reflected when Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931-1941.The Japanese blew up the Japanese railroad to blame China and to use this as an excuse to invade the city of Shenyang. By the end of 1931 they had fully occupied Manchuria and renamed it Manchuko.
The Chinese then made a complaint to the League of Nations. Due to the slow process of the League the report was finished a year after by Lytton, this lead to Japan not giving much attention to the report and invading Manchuria. So this goes to show that if the League of Nations got jobs done more quickly then it might have stopped the invasion of Manchuria and later on avoided what happened in Pearl Harbor.
The most serious failure of the League was in 1935 when Italy invaded Abyssinia because Italy wanted to expand its oversea colonies. The league condemned Italy and introduced economic sanctions which didn’t work and they completed the conquest of Abyssinia in 1936. This lead to Mussolini being annoyed by the sanctions and brought him and Hitler closer, so many small states lost faith in the League so Hitler then broke the Treaty of Versailles. Since 1935 no one took the League of Nations seriously.
I believe the League didn’t have much determination to solve the problems mainly because the leading countries like France and Britain had many problems of their own to deal with. Britain and France weren’t prepared to drop their own interests to uphold collective responsibility.