Analysis of the Inter-War Period

League of Nations (1918-1919)


          During World War One, several leaders of the world, such as Woodrow Wilson and David Lloyd George, wanted to establish universal peace, there were also disputes which had been going on throughout the world at the time of World War One. When the peace negotiations first started in October 1918, the Fourteen Points by Woodrow Wilson served as the basis for the signing of the Armistice, and in the Fourteen Points included the League of Nations. The League of Nations was applauded upon by many, as it ensured that a war would never break out again after what the Treaty of Versailles had caused for Germany and the rest of the world. In other words, many people believed that the League of Nations was a way to bring stability throughout the world during a time of conflict.

Concepts Surrounding the League of Nations

It is important to keep in mind the following concepts concerning the League of Nations: cooperation, internationalism, national security, regional security, global collective security, alliances, appeasement, and conflict.

How the League of Nations Was Viewed as a Success or Failure         

        The League of Nations had its success and failures. First off, it was successful in that peace was established for some time, and the rich nations such as United States were helping the Third World countries out of poverty, essentially establishing "universal peace". For small conflicts, such as The Aaland Islands dispute, the inquiry into Upper Silesia, and the stopping of a humanitarian crisis in Turkey, they were very successful in solving them. However, it was also unsuccessful in several ways. The first problem which had plagued the League of Nations was that although it was started in the United States to "establish universal peace" by Woodrow Wilson, and Europe was involved as well as other countries, the Americans wished to remain isolationists, and therefore were not part of the League. Adding to that, conflicting ideas would eventually build up to a certain point in which it will all erupt, which causes war. If a war is to begin between two countries, one would win and the other would lose. By keeping this idea in mind, the League of Nations was a failure to the extent by which it could settle disagreements and establish peace between European powers. Furthermore, if a conflict occurred, and the League of Nations stepped in, then, by Article 11 of the League's Covenant, it was clearly stated "Any war of threat of war is a matter of concern to the whole League and the League shall take action that may safe guard peace". If the League took action, the countries involved would simply ignore their recommendations. As such, the League of was viewed as powerless, and, considering it appeared to have very little power, many considered it to be a failure.

          The last reason as to why the League of Nations was a failure is because of how it was controlled. As stated previously, the League of nations' main goal is to maintain peace throughout Europe, as well as the rest of the world. However, although the nations involved in this League wanted to seek peace, it was disrupted by the innovation of Appeasement. Appeasement is as system used where you would try to avoid confrontation and war, by favoring the opposing forces in allowing them to acquire what they wanted. Becasue appeasement was used in the League of Nations, more dominant and desperate countries had started to test the new Appeasement system and this was another main reason as to why the League of Nations had failed. Appeasement was a failure in more than one circumstance: Germany conquering Czechoslavakia, and Japan conquering Manchuria, China. Germany negotiated with Czechoslavia to be able to have Sudetenland, and because Czechoslavakia was a weaker nation compared with Germany in military power, they used appeasement and provided Hitler what he wanted. However, after the Sudetenland was taken over, Germany wanted to conquer the whole of Czechoslavakia but that was unfair and unjust, which was why the Czechs refused and by refusing to do so, this had led to war with Germany. On the other hand, Japan wanted Manchuria in China for their land and resources, as the Japanese were very limited due to their geological region of being on an island. China appeased to Japan, which allowed Manchuria to be taken over by Japan, in which it was renamed Manchuko. In both circumstances, the League of Nations failed to bring about peace because they did nothing and by doing so, war was caused between the countries conquering one another and this led many to believe that the League of Nations was a complete failure.