Mnemonic Learning VIIIThe League of Nations What were the main failures of the LON?
WAS DUMB W – Weak A - Abyssinia S - Structure D - Depression U - Unsuccessful M - Manchuria B - Bullies
W – Weak Without America, Russia and Germany the League of Nations was weak. The League’s ‘powers’ (HERMEM remember) were little more than going ‘tut-tut’. Sanctions did not work. It had no army to back it up. A - Abyssinia Mussolini got ready to invade Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in 1935. Britain and France didn’t shut the SUEZ CANAL. The League talked to Mussolini but he ignored them and sent in his army. He also ignored sanctions (which countries didn’t follow through properly anyway). Britain and France secretly arranged the Hoare and Laval Pact to give Mussolini Abyssinia. This undermined the League’s authority.
S - Structure The League was muddled, so it took ages to do anything. Members couldn’t agree – but decisions had to be unanimous. The four permanent members had the power of VETO (the ability to cancel any law they didn’t like). This paralysed the League. D - Depression The world-wide Depression made countries try to get more land and power. They were worried about themselves, not about world peace. In some cases they did not enforce sanctions so they could still trade.
U - Unsuccessful The more the League failed, the less people trusted it. In the end, everybody just ignored it. Its failures gave Hitler the confidence to challenge the TOV. M - Manchuria In 1931 Japan invaded Manchuria after the bombing of the S. Manchurian Railway at Mukden. The League sent Lord Lytton to study the problem (this took a year). Japan refused to leave Manchuria. Instead, Japan left the League. Many countries had important trading links with Japan. Britain and France did not want a war, so nothing was done.
B - Bullies In the 1920s, the League had dealt with weak countries (e.g. Finland & Sweden – Aaland Islands). In the 1930s, powerful countries like Germany, Italy and Japan attacked weaker countries. They were too strong for the League to stop them. REMEMBER – WAS DUMB Why the League of Nations failed!