League of Nations and Collective Security Essay

Submitted By wammy94
Words: 1868
Pages: 8

Was The League Of Nations successful in achieving its aims?
Following the catastrophic events of World War One and the Paris Peace Conference at the palace of Versailles, it was decided by the victorious allies of the war to set up a League which ultimately aimed to prevent another mass conflict. President of The United States of America, Woodrow Wilson, believed it was essential that an organisation was set up in order to prevent future crisis, he wanted to move away from balance of power which was believed to be one of the underlying reasons to why World War One began and to instead set up a system based on collective security (Nye 2013:112-113). In order to understand if the League of Nations was successful in achieving its aims one must firstly discuss the aims themselves and come to a rational conclusion on whether or not these aims were met. The main aims that the League adopted after 1919 were firstly to encourage international disarmament in which law would be the fundamental component in resolving disputes instead of war (Brown and Ainley, 2009:21). The league also aimed to enforce the points set out in The Treaty of Versailles aimed towards Germany. Thirdly one of the Leagues primary purposes was to put a halt to war and any possible future conflict again by using a means of collective security with a basic assumption of ‘one for all and all for one’ (Brown, Ainley:21). Finally the league wanted to improve global living and working conditions by the means of advances in health care, putting an end to human and drug trafficking, monitor arms trade and to look after any inhabitants of occupied countries. Certainly the league did experience several major successes in aspects of health care and resolving international disputes but without doubt the failures override the initial success of the League. Nevertheless an argument must be put forward to come to a valid conclusion on how successful The League of Nations ultimately were by the time they were dissolved at the end of World War Two. Firstly in order to discuss how successful the League was in achieving its aims, the successes must be mentioned as although the League did fail on many of the aims proposed it did enjoy a period of success nearer the start of its formation. To start with during the 1920s the League managed to resolve many debates with countries and was successful in preventing war on several accounts. The first major success that the League had was the resolution of the dispute over the Aland Islands between Finland and Sweden in 1920 (Henig 2010:204). When the issue was put to the notice of the League they decided that the islands should be put under control of Finland, this ultimately prevented a possible war between the two countries. Later in 1921 a dispute of the Saar lands between Germany and Poland was resolved by simply splitting the land with the countries. Several further major disputes were referred to the League such as ones between Poland and Lithuania, between Iraq and Turkey and also between Greece and Bulgaria. Between a period from 1922 and 1939 sixty six disputes were put forward to the League which showed that ‘rules had a place in international politics’ and that using a governing body to solve international problems was the way forward (Henig:175). Keylor also puts forward the idea that the League will be remembered for creating the idea that the nations of the world cannot rely on anarchic rivalry to keep peace in the world (Keylor: 98) Nonetheless despite the resolution of some disputes and the policy of collective security a future world war was not prevented. What also must be considered is the fact that the League did manage to improve working and living conditions throughout the world. After the war the League helped form the World Health Organisation which helped to ‘co-ordinate an international response to the spread of typhus, influenza and others’ (Keylor: 98) certainly concerning health the League