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Why were there two armed camps in Europe in 1914?

Why did war break out in 1914?

How did the Treaty of Versailles establish peace?

Why did the League of Nations fail in its aim to keep peace?

How did Hitler challenge and exploit the Treaty of Versailles?

Why did Chamberlain's policy of Appeasement fail to prevent war from breaking out?

Why did the USA and USSR become rivals between 1945 and 1949?

How did the Cold War develop between 1949 and 1955?

How peaceful was Peaceful Co-existence?

How close to war was the world in the 1960's?

Why did Detente collapse in the 1970's and 1980's?

Why did Communism collapse in Central and Eastern Europe?

Why did the League of Nations fail in its aim to keep the peace?

The role of the League of Nations

Structure of the League of Nations

The work of the League of Nations in the 1920's

The League of Nations and the invasion of Manchuria

Article Four of the Treaty of Versailles called for the setting up an international organisation to prevent future wars. It was the brainchild of the American President Woodrow Wilson. The organisation and aims of the League were set out on a document called the Covenant.

A Summary of the Covenant of the League of Nations, 1919

ARTICLE 5 – All members must agree on any issue debated by the League

ARTICLE 8 – Disarmament declared to be necessary for future world peace

ARTICLE 9 – A permanent commission to be created to supervise international disarmament

ARTICLE 10 – all members to preserve the independence of states and their borders

ARTICLE 11 – any war concerns the whole League

ARTICLE 12 – member states agree not to fight each other, but to accept arbitration or the verdict of judges

ARTICLE 13 – member states will be bound by settlements made by the League, and will stop fighting any country that has complied with the League’s judgment

ARTICLE 14 – Court of International Justice created to judge all disputes between countries

ARTICLE 16 – a country that goes to war in spite of the League’s judgments will be at war with the entire League. All other member states must cease any form of trade or cultural connection with the aggressor country. If necessary, a member country may be expelled.

ARTICLE 18 – all treaties and alliances must be registered with the League


Member states will:

- ensure humane working conditions for men, women and children

- guarantee just treatment of the local inhabitants of territories under their control

- allow the League to enforce laws against the trafficking of women, children and drugs

- allow the League to regulate the arms trade

- allow free communications and travel

- take steps to prevent the spread of diseases

Membership of the League of Nations

42 members - by 1930’s 59
Defeated countries could not join e.g. Germany
Russia excluded because communist
USA did not join - isolation from world affairs


The Assembly
Each country one vote

The Council
Met several times a year
and in emergencies
5 permanent members
Each had right to veto any idea

Permanent court of
International Justice
Based at The Hague
Settle disputes peacefully
No power of enforcement

The Secretariat
Kept records - civil service

Powers of the League

If a country ignored the ruling of the League it could:
Put pressure on
Refuse to trade - sanctions
Send in troops - member countries join together

Strengths of the League

Many countries supported it in early days - they wanted peace
Had some early successes:
Settled some land disputes in 1920’s
helped refugees, dealt with spread of disease, fought for better conditions for people

Weaknesses of the League

USA didn’t join
No real power - relied on goodwill and persuasion
No permanent army
Disarmament not realistic
Structure a disaster - everyone had to agree before any action taken

Work of the League of Nations in the 1920's

1920’s League
Ruhr Valley Dispute
When Germany could not afford to make their payment of reparations to France, the French invaded the Ruhr( a rich coal area). The Germans decided to strike. When Germany purposely began to default on it’s reparation payments to France, the League of Nations got involved. They managed to persuade Germany to make smaller, short term payments. They also came to an agreement of letting Germany pay over a longer period of time.
They may have solved the problem short term but it certainly flared up old hatred between France and Germany and promoted bad feeling in Germany.

Fiume dispute
The Allies had promised Itlay land if they joined them in the Great War. The ric town of Fiume was land that they were promised. However, it was given to Yugoslavia. Italian Nationalists invaded Fiume and took over rule. This was going against the Treaty of Versailles.The Italian government were unhappy that Nationalists had invaded Fiume and so started fighting them. After fierce fighting the government efeated the Nationalist army an the League of Nations handed Fiume backto Yugoslavia.

The border between Greece and Albania needed some inspection to find out where the line went. A team of Italians and Greeks went to the mountains to investigate. The Italians were ambushed by a hidden gunman and shot dead. The Italian government accused the Greeks of organising this and demanded they pay a fine. Greece refused and so Italy sent their Navy to bombard Corfu (Greek Island) Greece asked the League for help yet Italy refused to accept the League’s authority and bullied the Ambassadors into letting them fine Greece a huge amount of money.

Poland & Russia
Fighting broke out between Poland and Russia about the border between the 2 countries. Poland thought they should have more land that they had been given. Full scale war broke out between them and eventually the Poles won, forcing Russia to give them all the land they wanted. Poland had benefited by going against the Treaty of Versailles and by using war they had managed to double their size. The League of Nations did nothing to stop them.

Greece &Turkey
Turkey had been punished severely under the peace treaties. Turkish Nationals decided to take revenge They drove the Greek people and army out of Turkey. By using armed force they managed to secure a fairer treaty. However it meant that thousands of Greek people who were no longer allowed to live in Turkey, were left homeless and starving. The League helped out through it’s Health Organisation who sent doctors and tried to find food and homes for these people. They spent 10 million pounds trying to help. They saved the lives of thousands, found them jobs and set up farms, workshops etc.

Failures of the League of Nations:

Why did the Japanese invade Manchuria and how did the League of Nations react?

1920’s boom era
1929 Wall St Crash leading to high unemployment, banks bankrupt , world trade affected.
US in response put up a tariff (Trade barrier) to protect their own industries against Japan.
Lead to high unemployment and depression in Japan
This gave the army leaders the chance to voice their opinions to a sympathetic people (already angered by the fact they had gained little from the Treaty of Versailles and thought they were being pushed around.)
The army said the only way to show Japan’s strength and solve its economic problems was territorial conquest.


Japan already had influence here
Province of China
Raw materials such as iron ore and coal
China was weak and in chaos with no strong leader.

Sept 1931: There was some vandalism on the Manchurian railway at Mukden; Japan claimed the Chinese had sabotaged the railway.  
•   They invaded Manchuria and set up the 'independent' (i.e. Japanese-controlled) state of Manchukuo under the former Emperor of China, Henry P'ui. This was a ‘puppet government’ completely controlled by the Japanese.
•   China appealed to the League. Dec 1931: the League appointed a commission led by Lord Lytton to investigate.  
•   He did not go to Manchuria until April 1932 and did not report until October.
•   Oct 1932: Lytton's report stated that Japan was the aggressor and should leave. (MORAL PRESSURE)
•   24 Feb 1933: The Assembly voted that Japan should leave Manchuria Japan walked out of the meeting claiming as their defence that they were taking over Manchuria because “the area was out of hand and China had agreed to share the area with Japan.”

Japan stayed in Manchuria.  
•   The League could not agree economic sanctions or an arms sales ban. This was mainly because Japan’s main trading partner was the US, so they would barely be affected. Britain also wanted to protect its trade interests in Asia.
•   In 1933 Japan resigned from the League, and invaded/ conquered Jehol (next to Manchuria).


1. The Japanese continued to expand:
•     they kept Manchuria
• they invaded Jehol in 1933 and China in 1937.
2.  The League was discredited/ Manchuria showed:
•     It was slow (the Lytton Report took almost a year)
•     A country could get its own way if it ignored it
•     ‘Collective security' was useless against big countries - especially during the Great Depression.
•     Even the great powers within the League (Japan was on the Council) were happy to ignore it.






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