1920, Vilna FAILUREIn 1920 in Vilna there was a largely Polish populations and it was made the capital of the newly created state of Lithuania. The polish found it unfair and their army seized the city and Lithuania resulted to the league. The league then asked the polish troops to withdraw but Poland refused. The matter was then passed to the Conference of Ambassadors (group of seniors diplomats who oversaw matters arising from the peace settlements) who awarded Vilna to Poland. 1921, Aaland Island SUCCESS it was an island in the Baltic Sea which was claimed by Sweden and Finland.1921, Upper Silesia SUCCESSUpper Silesia contained a valuable industrial area on the border between Germany and Poland. It was originally given to Poland on the treaty of  Versailles but the Germans protested and they agreed to hold a vote, the results weren’t clear so the League suggested a partition; Eastern part goes to Poland and Western part goes to Germany. Everyone agreed. 1923, Occupation of the Ruhr FAILURE the Ruhr was a valuable industrial region located in Germany, when the Germans failed to pay the reparations the French and the Belgian troops invaded it, in this case the League didn’t do anything, this made the league further seem as a group for the war’s victors.1923, Corfu incident FAILURE in 1923 Italy ordered bombardment and occupation of a Greek island named Corfu because of the death of an Italian general patrolling the Greek-Albanian border. The Greek then appealed to the league and they condemned the action. The Italians demanded for the case to be taken to The Conference of Ambassadors which orders the Greeks to pay compensation and to the Italians to withdraw. 1924, Mosul SUCCESSIn 1924 Turkey claimed a province from Mosul. The league then investigated the problem and gave Mosul back to Iraq, and Turkey accepted. 1925, Bulgaria SUCCESS Greece was ordered by the League to pay 45000£ compensations to Bulgaria after invading Bulgarian territory. The Greeks found it unfair but they accepted the decision.

1) Refugee Organisation: The problem was that there were stranding prisoners of war, millions of homeless due to the Turkish war of independence. Fridtjof Nansen was the responsible one for solving this problem and he did this by working with the Red Cross and helped displaced people return home or finding a new one. He improvised a lot and created camps, found transports… it ended up being a great success. Health Organisation: The problem was that there were some very serious epidemics in the world (typhus, leprosy and mosquitos), so they put Ludwig Rajchman in charge of solving it. He managed to do so by establishing relationships with non-members, establishing research institutions and developing vaccines. It was a success. Economic and Financial Organisation: After WWI a series of countries faces serious economic problems especially Austria who was in danger of financial collapse. The league decided to control interest rates and the circulation of money and gave the struggling countries substantial loans. It was a success. International Labour Organisation:During the 1920’s in the working aspect there were poor working conditions such as; child labour, exploitation of women, long working hours, and lack of sanity or safety. So to solve this they put Albert Thomas in charge and he set out a series of recommendations to jobs all around the world. His recommendations were: 8 hours of working a day, 48 each week, anual holidays, right for trade unions and he took wide range of data collection for countries to see the unemployment rates and consequently to put his recommendations into practice. Not clear if failure Slavery Commission: They had a very important problem to solve which was the women and kids who were being forced to work (white slavery). They tried to finish the slavery by investigation and reports however there were only a few successes in countries. Disarmament Commission: They wanted all nations to disarm to the lowest point possible which national safety. They organised a conference in Washington where they limited the navy for the US, Britain, Japan and France. It was a total failure


1°Moral disapproval: following an act of aggression the council would meet and vote to condemn the action hoping that the aggressive country might drop its aggressive action after seeing that the whole world is against them

2°Economic Sanctions: if that didn’t work then they would impose economic sanctions such as boycotting their trade or refusing credit

3°Military Sanctions: if that didn’t work as a last resort the council could impose military sanctions, this could involve sending an army against the aggressor.

However this didn’t work because all decisions in the council had to be unanimous and one negative vote was enough for the motion to fail. And also because the League didn’t have an army of its own which meant that they couldn’t impose military sanctions, unless any country offered their army which was unlikely.


The Wall Street crash was a dramatic drop in the US market, this created a drop in production and dramatic unemployment. There was also a big impact on the countries of the League of Nations:

  • Countries were unwilling to use economic sanctions
  • Extremist parties started to win power
  • It encouraged militarism between countries
  • Economy needs to be balanced as there is no budget for defence
  • There is pressure to find new markets and materials

All these problems would create:

Extreme nationalism: because countries are looking for their own benefits and they begin to have hatred and impatience towards their neighbours.

Imperial greed/Military Fever: the countries which are unhappy with the Versailles settlement are now ready to start expanding and they think that glory outside of the nation will bring happiness to people at hope because the economic crisis can be resolved by expansion.

No international control: the League of Nations has no control because they can’t Emily economic sanctions and there is no aggressor to whom they can condemn the action.

The Manchurian Crisis: Manchuria is sparsely populated province, rich in minerals, agricultural lands and forestry. Since 1905, Japan had had control over Korea and trading rights in Manchuria. Japanese guards were allowed to patrol the area of the railway. Japan is badly affected by the crisis of 1929. Manchuria could provide the Japanese with food and raw material, as well as land for population surplus. So Japan decides to attack China and invade Manchuria. The Japanese used the Mukden Railway Incident (explosion of dynamite close to a railway owned by Japan) as an excuse to invade China. So China appeals to the League who sends a commission to investigate the aggression (Lytton Commission). This commission reports that the invasion wasn’t justified and that Japan has to leave, however Japan ignores the League and doesn’t receive any type of sanction. Why did the league act poorly? they reacted too late, they had no army, they didn’t have strong powers such as the US or the USSR, economic sanctions were useless, the British and French  had colonies in the far east and feared an attack from Japan  The Abyssinian Crisis: In 1935 Italy invades another League member, Abyssinia. They decided to invade this state because it was located between Italy’s other territories in east Africa and Italy’s leader, Mussolini was looking for ways to boost his popularity following the economic problems in the country. The modern military equipment of the Italians destroyed primitive villages and defensive lines. What was the reaction of the League of Nations? Because the aggression was an unprovoked action from one member to another the League decided to impose economic sanctions however they left out from the sanction some essential war materials (oil, coal) and the Suez Canal was kept open which meant that Italian supplies arrived to the army without problem. In December 1935 the Hoare-Laval Pact was signed where Italy would receive 2/3 of Abyssinia but it failed. And after this, Italy left the League in 1937. Why didn’t the league do enough? Britain and a France wanted to keep peace and at the same time they wanted to prevent Italy from allying w/ German..