The League of Nations – Successes in the 1920s

The League of Nations was formed to avoid wars as all nations involved in World War I realised that war had nothing good for either of the side. Even though the Allies had won in the war, they suffered losses too. To avoid such issues in the future the League of Nations was formed with 41 countries. The main aim of this league was to avoid war. It also had other plans like improving the health, economy, labour conditions of the people. As avoiding war was the prime motive of the league, when success is discussed, it is considered a failure, because World War II happened.

The following are some of the success stories of the League of Nations during the 1920’s.

Teschen -1920 –  Teschen was rich in coal. Poland and Czechoslovakia fought over this area. League of Nations arbitrated and settled the dispute. The area was divided between both the countries. Though both nations were not very happy about the decision, they agreed not to fight over Teschen.

In 1920 Yugoslavia was persuaded to leave Albania.

Aaland Islands – 1921 – Aaland Islands was the area of dispute between Finland and Sweden. These islands were equally close to Finland and Sweden. Traditionally it belonged to Finland but most of islanders were Swedes. Therefore this dispute was a little difficult to settle. The League intervened and allowed Aaland Islands to be a part of Finland with a clause. The clause stated that no arms will be stocked in these islands. This was agreed and to this day it remains so. Today it is autonomous, demilitarised islands of Finland where the people speak Swedish.

Silesia -1921 – After the Treaty of Versailles the people of Upper Silesia were allowed to choose if they want to be a part of Weimar Germany or Poland. The referendum had 700000 voting for Weimar Germany and 500000 for Poland. This result was not very helpful and fights began. The League of Nations intervened and divided Upper Silesia between both the countries. Germany got most of the land while Poland got strategic areas. Germany was not happy but it was later accepted by Germany and Poland.

Memel – 1923 – Memel is a port of Lithuania. After the World War I Memel was under the control of the League and a French general acted as Governor of Memel. But in 1923 the people invaded the port and the League had to take a decision and this went in favour of the Lithuania.  However this port came under the international zone.

Mosul – 1924- Mosul was an oil rich area and Iraq and Turkey started a dispute over this land. League of Nations helped to clear the dispute in favour of Iraq.

Greece – Bulgaria -1925 – Greece and Bulgaria shared borders. The sentries patrolling the border fired and one Greek soldier was killed. The dispute was referred to the League of Nations. They were asked to stop fighting and Greece was blamed for the dispute. So Greece was fined £ 45,000. Both nations accepted the decision.

Apart from this

  • World economy was revived.
  • Humanitarian works were undertaken.
  • Working conditions of labourers were improved.
  • Checked the spread of diseases.
  • Refugees’ lives were improved.

World War II broke out in 1939 but in 1920’s and early 1930’s the League of Nations did have a good influence over the nations under its umbrella. And if success is measured with good work done it was definitely successful.

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