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League Of Nations

Most of the failures behind the League of Nations was due to the fact that the United States did not join. The Paris Peace Conference adopted the constitution of the League of Nations in April 1919. The League's headquarters were in Geneva and its first secretary-general was Sir Eric Drummond. As a result of the decision by the US Congress not to approve the Versailles Treaty, the United States never joined the League of Nations. Within years of its creation, the League of Nations had many disagreements in which member withdrew. France saw the League mainly as an instrument to maintain the territorial settlement and arms restrictions imposed on Germany after World War I. The Germans resented the League because it seemed to them, too, that this was the League's real purpose. British leaders saw it as a meeting place for powerful nations to consult in the event of a threat to peace. Japan withdrew from the League in 1933 because the League refused to recognize its conquest of Manchuria. Germany, admitted to the League in 1926, withdrew in 1933 because the League would not change the arms limitations imposed on Germany after World War I. An arms build-up by Germany under dictator Adolf Hitler led the Soviet Union to join the League in 1934. Italy withdrew from the League in 1937 to join Japan and Germany in an alliance against the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was expelled in 1939 for attacking Finland. These were the roots of World War II.

Why the League failed was most dramatically illustrated when Italy attacked Ethiopia in October 1935. The Council declared that Italy had violated the Covenant. This action obligated League members to apply economic restrictions and to consider the use of force against Italy. Members agreed to stop all imports from Italy and to send no money or war material to Italy. But the United States, Japan, and Germany were not members. Thus, the overwhelming "community of power" that Wilson originally had in mind for use against an aggressor was reduced to three nations--Britain, France, and the Soviet Union. The other League members did not have enough power to affect Italian policy. Even so, Britain, France, and the Soviet Union would have been able to stop the Italian attack, if they had been united and members of the league.

The League of Nations had good intentions such as peace and...

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Category:   World War II

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