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Q2. Explore the flaws in ‘birth’ of League of Nations which led to its weakness

The League of Nations was wracked by contradictions and insufficiencies from its very birth. The Covenant of the League was based on philosophy drafted by a small committees behind closed doors, thus violating its own spirit of “open covenants openly arrived at”.

Only forty-two nations were represented at first meeting of The League in November 1920 but Germany, Russia, and the United States were not present. Germany, identified as the aggressor in World War I, was barred from admission at first, and admitted in 1926. Russia, now the Soviet Union, was not invited to join the League due to the radical policies of the new communist government. The Soviet Union finally became a member of the League in 1935. In November 1919, the US Senate voted against accepting membership to the League, and the nation never joined.

The United State’s failure to join the League of Nations was a major blow to the hopes of its founders. It also marked the beginning of a period of US isolationism, which kept the US effectively out of European political affairs for the majority of the inter-war period.

The Europeans traditionally believed war was inevitable outgrowth of international relations. The League was primarily established to prevent wars but it could not come to a decision on any effective methodology, without infringing on the sovereignty of the member countries.

During the early 1920s, the League made two attempts to outline a mechanism to identify the aggressor nation and pledge League support to the victim. The Treaty of Mutual Assistance (1923) mandated military participation on the part of the member nations. In 1925, The Geneva Protocol provided for compulsory arbitration of international disputes. The League was unable to pass either of them. The League was left with only the power to invoke economic sanctions against the aggressor which questioned the very authority and ability of the League to mediate conflicts.

Most powerful nations preferred to manage their affairs outside of the League, only rarely deferring to the League’s authority.

 

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