A. Overview

The League of Nations was an international organisation established in 1919 by the Treaty of Versailles. The League was based in Geneva, Switzerland and first met in 1920.

B. What were the aims of the League?

The League set out to achieve 4 aims:

  • Stop Wars
  • Improve the working and living conditions through international agreements
  • Disarmament
  • Enforce Treaty of Versailles

International leaders hoped the League would provide its members with collective security.

C. How strong was the structure of the League?

Divide the words in bold into 2 lists: STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES.

  1. Large membership: 42 countries joined the League at its inception and 58 were members at its peak in 1935
  2. Powerful leading members: Britain and France were the strongest of the League's members, supported by Italy and Japan.
  3. Sanctions: if a member country failed to conform to the League's decisions the League had 3 powers; condemnation, economic sanctions and, in theory, the use of military force.
  4. Missing members: three of the most important countries in the world did not join. The USA and Russia both refused, while Germany wasn't allowed to join.
  5. No army: although the League was authorised to use militiary coercion against misbehaving members, countries were unwilling to risk their troops in the service of the League and the League had no independent army of its own.
  6. Bad organisation: in a crisis the League needed to reach decisions quickly, but this wasn't possible because of the League's unanimous voting systems.
  7. The Covenant: all the League's members signed up to the League's 'covenant'; an oath to act support the League's aims and abide by its decisions

D. Was the League a success in 1920s?

Were these events successes or failures for the League? Can you explain why?

Kellogg-Briand Pact
Upper Silesia
Washington Conference
Locarno Treaties
Aaland Islands
48 hour week
Young Plan

E. What were the causes fo the Depression?

F. How did the Depression make the League's work harder?

Link to PBS Wall St Crash documentary here

G. How did the Manchurian and Abyssinian crises damage the League's reputation?

Manchuria (1931-32) proved the League COULDN'T STOP WARS

Abyssinia (1935-36) proved the League WOULDN'T STOP WARS

H. Why did the League fail to achieve its aims?

The League WAS DUMB.

Mini Pecha-Kucha rules

League of Nations revision song!