The Paris Peace Conference oversaw the peace process of the First World War’s ending in 1919. The world witnessed what was thought to be a surreal mayhem. The horrors of World War I shifted the public’s view over war psychologically and politically. In result, ambitious President Wilson of America introduced the League of Nations, an intergovernmental organization aimed to maintain world peace.
It ambitiously emerged to sustain peace and order through civilized diplomacy instead of barbaric wars. The League of Nations had its contribution and its failures though.The failures are significant in the study of history, as they are strongly considered responsible for the start of World War II. Historians analyze what impurity of the League caused it to collapse as it failed its sole purpose miserably, preventing another Great War. Factors such as the League’s structure, membership, or failure of collective security are the main decays of the League.
The main decays discussed in this essay will be the failure of collective security, though, in addition to Hitler’s concurrent aggressive foreign policy.Collective Security was a system of security arrangement to protect minor countries that have been militaristically bullied. The main penalty was imposing economic sanctions against the aggressors. Failure to silence aggressors included events such as Japan’s Manchurian Crisis in 1931 and when Italy invaded Abyssinia in 1935. The failing reactions of the League towards these aggressive events were signs of declining confidence and influence.
It was generally creating a poor performance rate of the League, a very delayed, indecisive, and ineffective performance with an image of minimum jurisdiction.Failure to provide righteous political intervention sparked the war when Hitler disregarded the League’s jurisdiction and confidently invaded Poland in 1939. Thus, the failure of collective security will be discussed to investigate the outbreak of the Second Great War in addition to the correlation of Hitler’s aggressive foreign policies. The major declines of the League of Nation were events coincidently caused by two of the main powers participating in World War II, Italy and Japan.
The Manchurian Crisis and the Invasion of Abyssinia are both very similar cases of failure.The Abyssinian crisis was caused to Mussolini’s egoistic display to improve his reputation of invading a country with historic conflict. It was the second Italo-Abyssinian war. The paradox in the Abyssinian crisis was the dilemma of Mussolini being Hitler’s deterrent.
This meant that the League was very frightful of upsetting Mussolini by imposing economic sanctions as it could destroy the international relations of Italy with France and Britain. The absence of America in the League restricted economic sanctions as well.Another reason Italy continued its oppression against Abyssinia was due to the fact Italy had the power to veto any major economic sanctions that bothered her. This can be blamed due to the weak structure of the League itself. Secondly, the Manchurian crisis was mostly avoided since Japan was literally “too far. ” Its geographic distance gave little care to the “European Club” as hatefully named by Japan.
In the end, Manchuria was fully invaded by Japan. Both crises were treated with an unserious and ineffective manner.The result was that the International Relations became less serious. The reputation of the League became a very powerless, ineffective, and irrelevant in case of political intervention. In result, aggressors such as Hitler understood the weakness of the League of Nations and decided to take advantage as he saw the time perfectly appropriate.
This is the next greater factor of failure within the League, stopping Hitler. Hitler’s foreign policy is known to be very aggressive and militaristic, similar to Kaiser Wilhelm’s Weltpolitik.History repeats itself as both German leaders, Hitler and the Kaiser, are bared the blame of starting both world wars, respectively, due to the similar foreign policies or ideologies. In contrast, Hitler’s policy seemed to be more intentional of sparking the war as he himself saw war as inevitable.
“Germany must either be a world power or there will be no Germany" was stated in Mein Kampf (1923). Hitler initially focused on domestic policies such as reviving the German economy out of the Great Depression through attaining Autarky.In 1936, Hitler shifted his political play, which was coincidently the year of the invasion of Abyssinia. Later on, the initiation of the Four Year Plan, which was meant for 1936-1939, was the first primary militaristic action taken.
The Nazi regime increased the size of the army from 100,000 to 500,000 and prioritized the economy to become oriented on preparing Germany for war. Historian Richard Overy claims that the German economy devoted more than half of itself for war preparations and a quarter of the German workforce were operating under the orders of the armed forces directly.On the other hand, historian AJP Tyler claims that the German economy was not ready for war; therefore Hitler did not plan for war. The military membership expanded fivefold due to the failure of the Disarmament Conference lead by the League of Nations (1932-1934). Before Hitler was in reign, Germany attempted to reason with the members of the League to disarm to the same level Germany currently was in since Germany was back then a member of the League for six years.Countries in the conference found no reason to lower their defense.
When Hitler rose to power, Hitler found no reason as well to be on a lower level in their military might. This is an evident cycle of the snowball effect between the League’s decisions leading to Hitler’s reactions, which hatched his belligerent foreign policies. Because by the end of 1933, Hitler withdrew from the League and rearming openly was the instantaneous response giving him a major lead in the militaristic race.The second step was remilitarizing the Rhineland, as it was one of the tasks in overturning the Treaty of Versailles.
Hitler’s prior goal was to overturn the Treaty of Versailles as he promised during his inaugural address. The Treaty of Versailles took more than 10% of Germany’s land and people, including lands like the Rhineland or the Saar, depriving her of primary resources such as coal and iron. The Treaty additionally misplaced German people out of German territory ironically defeating the self-determination principle of the League.As Hitler vowed, his military initiated to unite the German speakers that were kicked out of German territory. The Hossbach memorandum was handcrafted in 1937, outlining Hitler’s main aims of his new aggressive foreign policy. It included 1938’s Anschluss, Hitler’s annexation of Austria.
It was an offence to international law. The Treaty of Versailles restricted from Germany to unite with Austria. The French made no official comment on it. Then, the Nazi army occupies Sudetenland with the Munich Agreement.The western and northern regions of Czechoslovakia were annexed without any political intervention.
Britain felt that Hitler was reasonable since the Treaty was already too harsh and additionally feared communism more than Hitler’s Imperialism. This is more evidence of appeasement from the League. After two offensive takes against the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations, Hitler basically feared no one and shortly after invading the Polish Corridor, Britain and France inevitably declared war on Germany.Historians understand that the League of Nations incapability to previously deal with the Abyssinian and Manchurian Crisis gave Hitler confidence to act shamelessly.
Therefore, this confidence is what gave Hitler to display his militaristic threat. As Britain and France were incapable of intervening due to: first, the financial incapability because of recovering from the Great Depression and secondly, the political demotivation of starting a war, and thirdly, the fear of communism. This thus created the attitude of appeasement, an additional contribution of starting WWII.