0sThe League of Nations was an organisation designed to maintain peace throughout the World. It was created during the Paris Peace Conference. The League of Nations was the idea of Woodrow Wilson, the president of the USA.
The Leagues main aims were to bring together all nations in a parliament to discuss and settle disputes, to protect the independence of countries and safeguard their borders, to improve peoples living and working conditions, and to make war obsolete by persuading nations to disarm.
From the beginning of its creation the League of Nations had to overcome many obstacles. One of the major problems the League had was that the USA never joined, thus leaving Britain and France in charge of the League. Without the USA the economic sanctions that the League would impose on others, would not be as effective. Both Britain and France were not strong enough, to be able to lead the League of Nations; they were both weakened during World War One. For Example they had both lost a lot of their armies and their economy was weakened.
Another weakness of the League was that it did not have an army of its own, and it would have to depend solely on the co-operation of the armies of its members. In addition the council of the League met once a year and the assembly met five times a year, thus causing the League not to be able to talk about a problem immediately.
The League of Nations had to deal with many disputes during the 1920s. A few of these disputes were settled successfully while some were failures. Some successes were the dispute between Poland and Germany regarding Upper Silesia. The League sent British and French Troops to maintain order. There the League organised a successful plebiscite, but the voting turned out equal and the area was split. The industrial area went to Germany, and the rural area stayed to Poland. The League safeguarded rail links between the two countries, and made arrangements for water and power supplies from one side of the border to be supplied to the other.
One more success was the dispute between Sweden and Finland over the Aaland Islands, after the League had studied the matter the islands were given to Finland and Sweden accepted this decision. There was also another dispute between Greece and Bulgaria. In October 1925 the Greeks invaded Bulgaria, after an incident on the border in which some Greek soldiers were killed. The League had condemned the Greek action, and ordered Greece to pay compensation to Bulgaria.
Nevertheless even though the League had some successes in dealing with territorial disputes, it also had some major failures such as the Vilna incident in 1920 between Poland and Lithuania. Poland had taken over Vilna with military force. When Lithuania appealed to the League for help the League protested to Poland, but it was ignored and bypassed. Even though the League could have sent British and French forces to force the Poles out of Vilna, it chose not to and Poland eventually kept Vilna.
Also another failure was the Geneva Protocol, the Turks were so outraged by the Treaty of Sevres that they refused to accept it. They went on fighting mainly against the Greeks, until the allies were ready to agree to the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
The Corfu incident was one of the most important failures of the League of Nations. The Corfu Incident was between Italy and Greece. In 1923, Mussolini invaded Corfu because an Italian General Tellini was ambushed and murdered on the Greek side while surveying the frontier between Greece and Albania for the Conference of Ambassadors.The League made Greece pay compensation for the murder of the Italian general.This money was to be held by the League and then paid to Italy if and when Tellinis killers were found. Mussolini went behind the Leagues back, and persuaded the Conference of Ambassadors to force Greece to apologise and pay up at once. Mussolini had gotten what he wanted by using aggression. This had shown how the League had been under minded. A powerful nation could resort to force and threats, and it would get what they wanted.
The League had some success in improving the living, and working conditions of people around the world. It had great achievements in getting refugees and former prisoners of war back to their homelands, and in the first few years after the war approximately 400,000 prisoners were returned to their own countries. The ILO was successful in banning poisonous lead from paint, and it limited the amount of hours children were allowed to work.It also introduced a new system of a forty eight hour work week and a eight hour work day, but only a few of the members accepted this because they thought it would raise the costs in their own industries.
In addition the Health Committee was partially successful in its attempt to defeat Leprosy. It started a global campaign to exterminate mosquitoes which reduced the cases of malaria and yellow fever. The League also made recommendations on marking shipping lanes, and produced an international highway code for road users.
The League also had great success in solving social problems; it blacklisted four large German, Dutch, French, and Swiss companies involved in drug trade. It brought about the freeing of 200,000 slaves in British owned Sierra-Leone. It also challenged the use of forced labour the Tanganyika railway in Africa, and reduced the death rate among the African workers from 50 percent to 4 percent.
However the League of Nations had largely failed in bringing about disarmament, even though several attempts were made in the 1920s to try and ensure peace throughout the world. For example the Washington Treaty (outside of the League of Nations) signed by the USA, Britain and France, Japan and Italy to limit the size of their navies and not to build anymore battleships for ten years. Nevertheless, there were proposals for a disarmament treaty, but they were rejected by Britain, and the problems for bringing about disarmament did not seem to matter due to the Locarno and Kellogg-Briand Pacts. In the Locarno Pact the Germans accepted all of their western borders, and that the Rhineland would remain a demilitarised zone. In The Kellogg-Briand Pact, 64 nations (including Germany) agreed not to go to war. However there was a flaw in this pact because nothing was mentioned if one of the countries went to war what would happen to them.
Therefore, in conclusion it can be said that the League of Nations had been successful to a certain extent. The League had many successes through its commissions, but some of its main goals were not achieved.