Reasons Why the League of Nations Failed
There are six main points why the League of Nations failed:
- the lack of power resources;
- inefficient structural organization of the League;
- non-participation of the US;
- the economic crisis resulting from the Great Depression;
- the secession of the main participants from the organization;
- the lack of trust from member states.
The League of Nations that was a collection of the great powers had been set up in 1919 to maintain the peace following the Paris conference. However, by the 1930s, the organization was discredited. As a result, by September 1939, the world was staggering into war again. Despite its broad opportunities, the League of Nations was not able to fulfill its mission. It could not prevent either the Civil War in Spain, the Japanese intervention in Manchuria, or the Chuck War in Bolivia. There are various reasons why the League ceased to exist.
One of the reasons why the League of Nations failed to maintain world peace is that it had limited powers to punish countries. Its power was weak: sanctions did not work, and it had no army. As a consequence, joining the League of Nations did not oblige anyone. Many paragraphs and language of the Covenant of the League of Nations were vague and ambiguous, which allowed member countries to continue their military build-up. In 1931, Japan invaded the territory of China; however, Japan withdrew the membership from the League of Nations only in 1933. The organization could successfully deal with small and weak countries but could not with powerful ones, like Germany, Italy, and Japan, that defied the organization. As a result of its weakness, the League of Nations failed to prevent German and Italian aggression.
The second cause why the League of Nations failed in the 1930s was the problem of the organizational structure. Many of the provisions were vague, so it took a long time to do anything. League of Nations members could veto, so they continually disagreed with each other, but the League’s principle that any decision had to be unanimous made the decision-making process ineffective.
The third point why the League of Nations failed to keep the peace is that the US, one of the most influential nations, was not a member of the organization. The dominant members, France and Britain, had no power to impose peace individually. One of the external causes of the failure of the League of Nations was the worldwide Depression. The Great Depression forced countries, like Manchuria and Abyssinia, to seize new land and get more power. The primary purpose for them was to deal with their economic problems.
Another reason why the League of Nations failed to prevent World War II is that its main members left it. German and Japanese withdrawals from the organization in 1933 were the first steps to the break-up of the League. Then, Italy defied and left the organization in 1937. As a result, many countries began to rearm because they were worried that the war was inevitable. Furthermore, two dominant members, France and Britain, did not take the League of Nations’ power seriously and started following their policies. Moreover, the League was unsuccessful because the more it failed, the fewer people trusted it. In the end, people just ignored anything the League was saying, which was confirmed with Manchuria and Abyssinia.