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IA How do I sharpen my IA topic? -League of Nations causing WW2

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I haven't had a chance to talk to my teacher one-on-one yet, but I don't want to wait to revise or improve my topic. She graded it already, but all she wrote was "too broad" and I can't think of any other way to narrow it down more.

"To what extent was the League of Nations' inability to enforce the Treaty of Versailles to blame for the cause of World War II?"

Thanks a lot!

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I think that ".... for the cause of WWII" sounds too broad, and it already gives the examiner your point of view. And there are many factors that led to its beginning, too... just keep that in mind :)

I wish I could maybe come up with something to shape that part up, but I'm out of ideas :wacko:

Perhaps someone else who's better with words can help us out here :)

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"To what extent was the League of Nations' inability to enforce the Treaty of Versailles to blame for the cause of World War II?"

To me this question can lead to many factors.

History IA requires you to do a rather indepth research. It has to be argumentative, your research is to help provide you with different sides to the investigation.

Even though I haven't studied League of Nations yet, I know there are quite a lot of factors for its inability. It also has the factors of Manchurian Crisis, Rise of Hitler and Abyssinia Crisis. These three factors could enough for you to write a 2000 words essay with research. In addition, you still need to argue that what's League of Nations' inability, such as its assembly and structure. The Great Depression also played a part too.

In my opinion, you won't be able to achieve a argumentative, detailed essay in 2000 words.

If you have decided to do related topic on League of Nations, I would say investigating solely on one or two factors.

Correct me if I am wrong

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SHe's right, it is too broad. There are too many variables to consider when you talk about the League in general in the broader context of WW2. Besides the covenant of the League was added to the ToV and it was never explicitly mentioned that it was the League's responsibility to enforce the ToV to begin with. The LoN was just a supranational body created for the general maintenance of peace within the world.

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Thanks for all the replies.

The main focus I wanted to do with this was argue how the fact that the League of Nations didn't do anything in response to Hitler denouncing the terms of the Treaty of Versailles against Germany in 1933, how they again chose not to respond (appropriately) as Hitler further defied the terms of the ToV by building up Germany's military, maybe how the war never would have started (or maybe just postponed? multiple historiography views! :D) if the LoN did respond, and how all this led to World War I or at least the chain of events leading into it (Polish attack on Germany, Germany retaliates, Poland's allies join, etc.).

I'm guessing if I had to narrow my topic down to focus on these points, it would look something like "To what extent did the League of Nations' inability to enforce the Treaty of Versailles allow Adolf Hitler to spark World War II?"

and would it seem like I won't be able to have enough details, or that this kind of question could be answered quickly without that much research?

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I haven't had a chance to talk to my teacher one-on-one yet, but I don't want to wait to revise or improve my topic. She graded it already, but all she wrote was "too broad" and I can't think of any other way to narrow it down more.

"To what extent was the League of Nations' inability to enforce the Treaty of Versailles to blame for the cause of World War II?"

Thanks a lot!

Hmmm, it is a fairly broad topic and I agree with the comment about the bias in the question. While I see no reason to change your topic entirely as there is plenty of historiography, sources, etc. you can use, I do think that narrowing down some of your more broad, general terms is best. For example, you could explain how the League's inability to enforce the Treaty, or even the creation of the treaty, affected the conditions /sentiments in another country such as Germany or the US. You could also take a look at a particular country's involvement in the League and how that may have affected its actions. Thirdly, you could change your wording around to avoid having to analyze it in respect to the path to war as a whole by using words like "contribute" or "influence". That way you can focus on only the most important reasons without the pressure of having to prove that it is the most significant. The more you narrow down where, when, who, what and how, the easier it is to support your evidence and answer your question with quality analysis.

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I agree, the topic is too broad; I think if you found a certain aspect/policy/event within the LoN that wasn't successful and focused on that, it would improve it (such as the hypocrisy found in the LoN ie. the Anglo-German Naval Agreement; ineffectiveness of Stresa Front).

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Maybe you could look at "How effective was the League of Nations at enforcing the Treaty of Versailles (and maybe why)?" just to narrow the topic down, and get rid of the broadness associated with WWII? Just an idea!

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Honestly? I think your topic has several pitfalls:

- It is too broad in that the League had several functions and if you really want to delve into the historical consequences that amounted to its failure, you have to look into the position of general international law that governed the LoN's position and authority at the time.

a. Customary International Law regarding inter-state relationships at that time.

b. The impotence of the League charter in enforcement provisions and the complete prohibition on internationally recognised and acceptable Use of Force by the Council (something restrictively amended in the subsequent UN).

c. The League's position on the Treaty of Versailles because remember the Treaty was passed in 1917, and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties was passed way later in 1969. While you could claim that German actions were still in breach of international customary law so the PCIJ retained the authority to adomish them, the League was built toothless which was a fault of its creators.

- Then you would have to move into an extensive analysis of German actions and multiple League encounters:

a. GA resolutions and their lack of binding effects, and

b. subsequent international conventions (Locarno Pact and Munich Pact come to mind) conducted independent of the League.

What I find you are failing to realise is that Hitler's breach of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles is something not within the mandate of the LoN because the LoN was never empowered with international contract-binding authority unless specifically referred to by the parties.

There is in fact a deep-running argument in international contractual law that because of Hitler's breaches of the ToV, the covenant of the LoN attached to the ToV was rendered useless as the terms of the Treaty had been outrageously violated, resulting in the entirety of the League having questionable validity.

Unless you understand some of these complexities, you will be unable to write a good IA and as you can see with 5 minutes of brainstorming, I came up with all these ideas and holes in your argumentation. Maybe you should reconsider whether your teacher has a point and your topic is far, far too wide for an IA, or even an EE.

Beyond everything else in terms of logical fallacies, there is also the issue that your topic is so typical. For a good grade on an IA, you need to avoid being generic and be sui generis.

Hope that helps,

Arrowhead.

Edited by Arrowhead

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