Strengths & Weaknesses
Forty-two countries joined the League atthe start. In the 1930s
60 countrieswere members
. This made the Leagueseem strong.However,
the most powerfulcountries in the world were notmembers
. The USA
did not want
to join.The Russians
to join – they wereCommunists and hated Britain and France.Germany
was not allowed
to join. Withoutthese three big powers, the League wasweak.
Britain and France were the mainmembers
, helped by Italy and Japan; theywere quite powerful countries. Also,
theLeague had four powers
it could use tomake countries do as it wanted (seeSource A). Theoretically, the League wasallowed to use military force, but
theLeague did not have an army
of its own– so if a country ignored it, in the end,there was nothing the League could do.The main strength of the League was thatit had been
set up by the Treaty of Versailles
, and agreed by everybody atthe conference.The biggest weakness was that
theLeague’s organisation was a muddle
(see Source B). The different parts of theLeague were supposed to act together; butin a crisis, no-one could agree.
1. Using the seven sentences
inthe passage above, sort out the League’s‘strengths’ and ‘weaknesses’. Compare thetwo lists.2 People at the time used all thesephrases to explain how they thought theLeague would influence countries:
Community of Power
Moral Persuasion.For each, discuss what you think peoplemeant.3. Did the League have any chance ofkeeping world peace?
Source A – Powers
(in the League’s Covenant, especially Article10, all members had
to keep the peace).
(the League could
a country it wasdoing wrong).
(the League could
to decide betweentwo countries).
Source B – Organisation
(the main meeting o the League – allmembers met once a year). Its main problem was thatdecisions had to be unanimous, which was very difficultto achieve.
(a small group of the more important nations –Britain, France, Italy and Japan plus some other countries – met 4–5 times a year).
(committees of the League):
Court of International Justice (for small disputes).
Health (to improve world health).
International Labour Organisation (to try to get fair wages).
Slavery (to end slavery)
(was supposed to organise the League, butfailed).
‘Moral Persuasion’ – a cartoon of 1936. What was it sayingabout the League?