Why was the League of Nations a failed organization by 1937?
The League of Nations was an international organization established after the end of the First World War in 1920. It simply had one main task which was to ensure that war would never break out again. After the turmoil from the Versailles Conference ending World War I, many believed that the League of Nations was the one real glimmer of hope to bring stability to the world.
In order to understand why the League of Nations failed in the first place, a person needs to start off by looking at its poor structure and idealistic aims. Firstly, the League had idealistic aims addressed towards the concept of no secret diplomacy, total world peace and the establishment of worldwide disarmament. The league had limited powers and to solve an issue, it required a unanimous vote of nine (later being 15) Council members, to enact a final resolution thus it was fairly difficult to devise conclusive and effective action. There were other drawbacks as well such as the fact that the Council met infrequently and that the Secretariat was understaffed. Finally, another downside League did not posses its own armed forces so it was fundamentally toothless. Bearing in mind about the poor structure, the absence of major powers in the organization also had a great impact.
The fact that major powers were absent for the League of Nations, had an emphatic impact on the decisions and influence of the League. One of the most important missing powers which weakened the potential power of the League was America.One being that, if America was part of the League than it would have given the League economic sanctions real weight since it was a strong economic power in the world. Secondly, without America the League was distinctly a European organization (except Japan) and lacked the view of a worldwide establishment. Another major power which was absent in the League of Nations was the USSR. This further weakened the standing of the League since the USSR perceived it as a club to protect and promote their own interests. Finally, the exclusion of Germany in the beginning undermined the League as it was perceived as a “victors’ club.” Central European powers that had come out of the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire, were very weak as well so they required more support from the League and in return, they could not provide anything back for the organization.
Another important weakness to look at in order to understand more about why the League of Nations failed had to do with the growing contradictions between the idea of collective security. Collective security formed the basis of the League and the relations between international states, and starting from the beginning, the League failed in applying this concept. An example of this failure was in 1923, contrary to League rules, French and Belgian troops occupied the Ruhr (being Germany’s most important industrial zone) which lead to a government-backed campaign of...