Wednesday, April 25, 2012


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Technically, the League of Nations was still active until the end of the Second World War. However, by 15 it was clear it could no longer perform its main role - that of keeping peace.


In 11 Japan invaded the Chinese province of Manchuria. China was in the middle of a civil war and was not able to defend Manchuria. China appealed to the League of Nations for support against Japan. After much delay, the League condemned the Japanese and called for Japan to leave Manchuria.


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However, instead of leaving Manchuria, Japan left the League of Nations. Japan remained in control of Manchuria and the League of Nations did not try to stop the Japanese occupation there.

This event marked the beginning of the end for the League of Nations. Britain and France were not willing to support the League in taking action against Japan. The Manchurian crisis seemed to signal that aggression would not be punished by the League.


In 15 Abyssinia was one of the few countries in Africa not under the control of a European power. It had defeated a previous attempt by Italy to invade in 186.

ɨ In 15 a well-equipped Italian force invaded Abyssinia again.

ɨ Haile Selassie, the leader of Abyssinia, appealed to the League of Nations for assistance.

ɨ The League condemned Italian aggression and imposed ECONOMIC SANCTIONS against Italy. However, they were not effective. Italy was still allowed to buy oil and other essential supplies.

ɨ Mussolini completed his invasion of Abyssinia and then left the League of Nations just as Japan had done.

Why did the League not act more decisively?

The League depended on leadership by Britain and France. In 15 France and Britain did not want to offend Mussolini in case he joined forces with Hitler. The British Foreign Secretary even worked out a plan with the French (called the Hoare/Laval pact) to offer Mussolini most of Abyssinia. However, he was forced to resign when the plan became public. 1The effects of the Abyssinian crisis were very serious for the League. It marked

Why did the League of Nations fails as a peacekeeping organisation?

 It could no longer be taken seriously

 It showed that its members were not willing to use force to stop aggression.

 The secret deal - the Hoare/Laval Pact - had also shown Britain and France undermining the League.

No one, it seemed, was prepared to go to war in order to keep the peace. The Leagues credibility as a peacekeeper was damaged beyond repair. Force and aggression had clearly triumphed again. The world now seemed a much less secure place and certain states were encouraged to pursue aggressive policies to achieve their aims. This weakened the determination of Britain and France to resist them.

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