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GCSE Revision


Upper Silesia (1921) Referendum on whether to be part of Germany or Poland. ... Upper Silesia split between Germany and Poland Germany gained most of the land ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: GCSE Revision

GCSE Revision
  • Lesson 2 of 4
  • 27/04/06
  • The League of Nations

  • Aims of the League
  • Powers of the League
  • Weaknesses of the league
  • Why America did not join
  • 1920s successes and failures
  • Manchuria
  • Abyssinia

  • I can predict with absolute certainty that
    within another generation there will be another
    world war if the nations of the world do not work
    together to prevent it..
  • (Woodrow Wilson, 1919)

  • Wilsons 14th Point
  • 4 permanent members
  • Based in Geneva, Switzerland

Aims of the League
  • The covenant of the League (setting out the
    Leagues aims) was written into each of the peace
  • To prevent future wars
  • To encourage disarmament
  • Improve working and living conditions - tackle
    disease end slavery
  • To enforce the Treaty of Versailles

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Powers of the League
  • 1. Covenant (in the League's Covenant, Articles
    10-17, members promised to keep the peace).
  • 2. Condemnation (the League could tell a
    country it was doing wrong).
  • 3. Arbitration (the League could offer to
    decide between two countries).
  • 4. Sanctions (stopping trade).

Why did America not join the League?
  • Dislike of the Treaty of Versailles
  • League was linked with the treaty, esp. German
  • Cost
  • Like signing a blank cheque belief in
  • Isolationism
  • Appalled at loss of life in WW1 unprepared to
    risk American troops in future European disputes
  • Dislike of the old Empires
  • Anti-British and Anti-French attitudes did not
    want to be involved in protecting the British and
    French Empires belief in freedom

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This American cartoon suggests that the Senate
rejected the Treaty because Wilson had not
involved them in the negotiations
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What were the Leagues weaknesses?
  • Association with the Paris peace treaties
  • Poor leadership British and French
  • Defeated powers not part of the League
  • No army sanctions were too weak
  • Decisions had to be unanimous
  • America not part of the League

Leagues organisation
  • 1. Assembly (the League's main meeting all
    members met once a year.   Decisions had to be
  • 2. Council (a small group of the more important
    nations inc. Britain, France, Italy Japan
    met 45 times a year).
  • 3.   Agencies (committees of the League)
  •    Court of International Justice.
  •    Health.
  •    International Labour Organisation.
  •    Slavery
  •    Refugees
  •    Mandates Commission (looked after former
    German colonies).
  • 4. Secretariat (was supposed to organise the

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1920s - successes
  • Aaland islands (1921)
  • Finland and Sweden disputed who owned the
    islands. League decided that they should remain
    with Finland but that no weapons should ever be
    kept there. Both countries accepted the decision.
  • Upper Silesia (1921)
  • Referendum on whether to be part of Germany or
    Poland. 700,000 voted for Germany 500,000 for
    Poland. Upper Silesia split between Germany and
    Poland Germany gained most of the land and
    population Poland most of the industry.
    Decision accepted.

  • Bulgaria (1925)
  • The Dispute
  • Some Greek soldiers were killed in a small fight
    on the border between Greece and Bulgaria. The
    Greeks were angry. They invaded Bulgaria.
    Bulgaria asked the League to help.
  • What the League did
  • The Council of the League met. It condemned the
    Greeks, and told them to leave Bulgaria.
  • What happened
  • The Bulgarian government sent orders to its army
    not to fight back.
  • The Greeks did as the League said. They left

1920s - failures
Vilna (1920) Area claimed by Poland and
Lithuania. Vilna invaded by Poles but league
reluctant to get involved. Poland seen as
barrier against Germany and Communist
Russia. Invasion of the Ruhr (1923) Contrary to
League rules French and Belgian troops invaded
Ruhr after Germany failed to pay reparations in
1922. Here were two League members clearly
breaking League rules and nothing was done about
  • Corfu, 1923  
  • The Dispute
  • An Italian general was killed while he was doing
    some work for the League in Greece. The Italian
    leader Mussolini was angry with the Greeks. He
    invaded the Greek island of Corfu. The Greeks
    asked the League to help.
  • What the League did
  • The Council of the League met. It condemned
    Mussolini, and told him to leave Corfu. It told
    the Greeks to give some money to the League.
  • What happened
  • Mussolini refused to accept its decision. He
    refused to leave Corfu.
  • The League changed its decision. It told Greece
    to apologise to Mussolini, and to pay the money
    to Italy.
  • The Greeks did as the League said. Then
    Mussolini gave Corfu back to Greece.  

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The Dispute Mussolini got ready to invade
Abyssinia (Ethiopia). He wanted war and glory.
Abyssinia asked the League to help.     What
the League did The League talked to Mussolini
but he used the time to send an army to Africa.
The League suggested a plan to give part of
Abyssinia to Italy.     What happened
Mussolini ignored the League, and invaded
Abyssinia. The League banned weapons sales, and
put sanctions on rubber and metal.   The
Abyssinian Emperor Haile Selassie went to the
League to appeal for help, but it did nothing
else in fact Britain and France secretly agreed
to give Abyssinia to Italy (the Hoare-Laval
Pact). Italy conquered Abyssinia. The League
had failed.  
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A British cartoon of 1935 shows international
politics like a stage musical. Britain and
France sing We dont want you to fight, but
by jingo if you do, We will probably issue a
joint memorandum Suggesting a mild disapproval
of you.
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  • The League died in 1935. One day it was a
    powerful body imposing sanctions, the next day it
    was a useless fraud, everybody running away from
    it as quickly as possible.   Hitler watched.
  • Written by the historian AJP Taylor (1966)

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