The failure of the League of Nations was not due, in whole or in part, to its serving only British and French interests. Rather, it can be seen that the League was essentially misconceived, and it was burdened with a machinery and a world order which could not live up to its idealistic mission. It is clear that the League was in essence an optimistic project, not equipped to deal with the change described by James Joll in his Europe Since 1870; David Thompson agrees with this assessment, and highlights the point at which ‘the assumptions [of the League] were disappointed’, where ‘there remained no cohesive force’ in order to effect its objectives, in his book Europe Since Napoleon. If anything, as Joll suggests, the League over-depended on Britain and France, therefore alienating the only two member states capable of acting with enough authority to rescue the League from the volatile and revisionist powers of the 1930s. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Manchuria
Was the League of Nations Undermined Mainly by Its Own Constitution?
The League of Nations was certainly undermined by the inherent faults of its constitution; this was the product of a particularly idealistic period of history, in which the notion of a supra-national body was a conception ultimately unable to keep up with the Great Depression and the rapacious revisionist powers of the 1930s. This idealism was also seen in the assumptions made in the League’s creation – seen for example in the likelihood of US membership, as well as the motivations and intentions of Britain and France, both of which did not take kindly to becoming de facto world policemen. It is also clear that matters relating to the Covenant and the nature of League machinery predominate in calculations of the failure of those years. The interpretations and arguments presented stem fundamentally from the way the League was constructed and built; this greatly undermined the League, leading to its eventual failure and the collapse of international order. Continue reading