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History: LoN's failure

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League of Nations was not the most successful post-war innovation. It relied on the fact that everyone would want to get involved in preserving the world peace. The ideal was beautiful, however, rather unrealistic and, as it turned out, the League failed at its most basic aim: preventing another war from breaking out.

But why?

  • Absence of major powers: Germany and USSR were not allowed to join (so it provided a possiblity of them plotting with each other as "outcast nations") and USA refused to join. Lack of USA was bad both economically and psychologically for the League - it lacked a strong nation that could have held it together.
  • Decisions had to be reached unanimously - it made it very difficult to reach any decision at all
  • It didn't have its own army - it had to rely on armies of the member states which would or would not like to send them when LoN asked for it
  • It didn't intervene in Abyssinia and Manchuria - it showed it was weak and people stopped believing in it completely
  • The Conference of Ambassadors - it sometimes made decisions which were against those made by the LoN, and thus undermining LoN's reputation
  • After the World Economic Crisis in the early 1930s, countries were weak financially and thus extremely reluctant (esp in the case of the democratic states which had to consider the opinion of the public) to invest money into conflicts they were not a part of. Thus, the very idea of the LoN - collective security - was made impossible through the means that it was supposed to be achieved through.

Exam tip:

When considering LoN's failures, don't be completely one sided, show its successes as well!

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League of Nations was not the most successful post-war innovation. It relied on the fact that everyone would want to get involved in preserving the world peace. The ideal was beautiful, however, rather unrealistic and, as it turned out, the League failed at its most basic aim: preventing another war from breaking out.

But why?

  • Absence of major powers: Germany and USSR were not allowed to join (so it provided a possiblity of them plotting with each other as "outcast nations") and USA refused to join. Lack of USA was bad both economically and psychologically for the League - it lacked a strong nation that could have held it together.
  • Decisions had to be reached unanimously - it made it very difficult to reach any decision at all
  • It didn't have its own army - it had to rely on armies of the member states which would or would not like to send them when LoN asked for it
  • It didn't intervene in Abyssinia and Manchuria - it showed it was weak and people stopped believing in it completely
  • The Conference of Ambassadors - it sometimes made decisions which were against those made by the LoN, and thus undermining LoN's reputation
  • After the World Economic Crisis in the early 1930s, countries were weak financially and thus extremely reluctant (esp in the case of the democratic states which had to consider the opinion of the public) to invest money into conflicts they were not a part of. Thus, the very idea of the LoN - collective security - was made impossible through the means that it was supposed to be achieved through.

Exam tip:

When considering LoN's failures, don't be completely one sided, show its successes as well!

What's an example of the Conference of Ambassadors making a decision against one made by the LoN?

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