The League of Nations – as the cause of WWII

The League of Nations was formed soon after the World War I and was greatly influenced by the powers that won that war. There was no thought process in the formation inasmuch they were dealing with problems as and when they arose. Also in some cases they were reluctant to that as well. The Treaty of Versailles which was the basis for the formation of the League had many loopholes and which was reason enough for the failure of the League and the resulting World War II.

Treaty Of Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles was one of the major causes for World War II. Germany was considered to be the main force in the first war and this treaty shorn the country of all its powers. It had to pay heavy damage, disarm and give away its lands. This unfair deals enforced on Germany was a blatant mistake as it was soon realised by the major powers. Nazism under the leadership of Hitler took a new form and it was their fanatic ideas that increased the enormity of the devastations of World War II.

Many policies and incapability of the League of Nations led to World War II.  Some of the failures of the League of Nations were the following.

Failure to stop aggression

In the 1920s the aggression on Fiume, Vilna, Corfu and Russia were some of the aggressions which paved way for the larger ones in the 1930s.

  • The attack of Manchuria by Japan 1931
  • Bolivia’s attack on Paraguay in 1931 to take over the Grand Chaco region which had the strategic Paraguay River flowing through it.
  • Unprovoked attack of Abyssinia by Mussolini in October 1935.

Failure in bringing in all nations

The idea of a League was mooted by Woodrow Wilson the President of the US but when the government changed the Republican government withdrew from the League. As a punishment for the war Germany was refused membership. Russia was not included fearing spread of communism. In 1937 Italy disassociated from the League.

Failure of Appeasement

The appeasement policy was misplaced most of the times because it was done for wrong reasons. The decision to divide Abyssinia was an act of appeasement towards Italy and Abyssinia and it failed miserably. Many politicians in France and Britain felt that Germany was given a raw deal and allowed Germany to re-arm and extend her frontiers. This was the biggest failure in the policy of appeasement.

Failure to act quickly

The Council of the League of Nations met only four times a year. So in case of emergency it was difficult for the member nations to meet and assess the situation. The classic case was the aggression on Manchuria. To assess the situation they had to travel around Africa as the Suez Canal was closed and by the time the delegation reached Manchuria, it was too late. Japan had taken control of the area.

The League had no army

To resolve the disputes sometimes the army had to be used. To do this the League had no army and it was dependent on the member nations. Not all nations were willing to send their army for the cause of another nation. They also had the risk of instigating aggression against their own country.

With so many faults within the League it was only natural that the system would collapse and at the first sign of collapse the nations geared up for the Second World War.

 

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