Essay on One Key Lesson from the Failure of the League of Nations

Posted on October 3, 2023 by Cheapest Assignment

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Capstone Project

Identify and explain one key lesson from the failure of the League of Nations that can be identified in the formation of the United Nations. Why is this a key lesson?

The League of Nations abbreviated as SDN was formed in the year 1920 after the destruction and disillusionment that occurred during the First World War. The League of Nations was the first international organization that was formed with an ambitious attempt to maintain worldwide peace. To maintain world peace the League aimed to create a world of nation-states that would be independent without any interference from outside, bringing in open discussion and solutions to the prevailing disputes replacing the secret diplomacy that existed in the old order, replacing the blocs of military alliance with a security system of collective guarantees and elimination of use of weapons of mass destruction totally to avoid the international tensions in the decades of prewar (Barros, 2015).


There were 42 countries when the League of Nations was established and it spread to 58 countries by the end of 1935. Though the members of the league were Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America the United States never joined the league as the Senates refused to give formal consent to the League’s charter. The permanent members of the league were Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan who elected the non-permanent members every three years (Clavin, 2013). On an annual basis, the members of the League met and discussed the budget
and the priorities that were to be looked after by the organization.

Though the League of Nations was successful in preventing small wars at the beginning of the formation of the League such as the territorial disputes between Sweden and Finland, Poland and Lithuania, and Greece and Bulgaria with negotiation and settlements between the countries it failed to prevent wars in the later stage. The League failed to stop the invasion of Ethiopia by Italy in 1935, the invasion of Manchuria by Japan in 1932, and the annexation of Austria by Germany. The failure of the league resulted from the absence of any military forces to stop
the invasion and attacks resulting in political disturbance (Fosdick, 2015). The great powers on which the league depended often were reluctant to provide their armies when required. Moreover, the League was unable to prevent the aggression of Germany, Italy, Spain, and Japan who refused to comply with the League as the League ordered not to militarize. This in the later stage resulted in the onset of the Second World War which indicated that the league had failed to stick to its primary purpose of preventing any future world war and maintaining global peace (Housden, 2014).

The Dinka Illness

The failure of the League of Nations indicated a lesson that resulted in the later formation of the United Nations after the Second World War. The greatest flaw of the league was that the most powerful countries USA, Russia, and Germany were not allowed to join the league. Till 1925 Germany was not allowed to be a part of the league. So until the problem existed between the small countries, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, Greece, and Bulgaria the League was able to deal with but without the Great powers, the League for a long time was unable to maintain global
peace (Brown and Fee, 2015). The League had a diplomatic and compassionate goal of maintaining global peace but the major shortcoming was the lack of armed forces that the League needed to implement during the time of short invasions and wars that were continuing. The League reinforced the diplomatic handling of the countries to stop the countries from going to war however it failed to look after the issues that might result from the absence of the cooperation of the powerful countries mainly the USA and Russia. The failure of the League of Nations led to the formation of the United Nations after the Second World War (Pedersen, 2015).

The failure of the League of Nations is a key lesson in the history of the world. This is because it proved that to prevent World War and maintain global peace there was the requirement of powerful countries and smaller countries to be together in the formation of a league. It was highly important for powerful countries like the USA. Russia and Germany are to be together in the league to form big decisions and maintain world peace. Besides maintaining global peace it is also important for countries to solve social, economic, cultural, and humanitarian problems other than just cooperating countries with armies when required as the League did (Legg, 2014). The league has its limitations and so it was able to deal with small conflicts among countries and not on larger issues. It failed to stop the Second World War for which it was created one after powerful countries including Germany, Spain, and Italy went against the league. The structure of the League was such that there was always a muddle and no one of the country agreed to a single decision during any crisis. Moreover, the formation of the League happened
under the Treaty of Versailles which already had faults so from the beginning of the formation of the League Germany and the Americans did not support it. So in the long term, the league was without the support of the powerful countries leading to a limitation of their power and saving the world from the world war (Weiss, et al., 2016).

Managing Organisational Design and Change (BHO0202)

So the key lesson learned from the demolition of the League of Nations was the inability of the League to avert conflicts which would result in the total change of human history in the search for world peace based on diplomacy and compassionate goals. The formation of the United Nations was the result of the lessons learned from the shortcomings and failure of the League in preventing the Second World War and the reinforcement of the objectives that are required to bring global peace (Luard, 2016).


Barros, J., 2015. The Corfu incident of 1923: Mussolini and the League of Nations. Princeton University Press.

Brown, T.M. and Fee, E., 2015. Cognitive Dissonance in the Early Thirties: The League of Nations Health Organization Confronts the Worldwide Economic Depression. American Journal of Public Health, 105(1), p.65.

Clavin, P., 2013. Securing the world economy: the reinvention of the League of Nations, 1920-1946. Oxford University Press.

Fosdick, R.B., 2015. Letters on the League of Nations: From the Files of Raymond B. Fosdick. Supplementary volume to The Papers of Woodrow Wilson. Princeton University Press.

Housden, M., 2014. The League of Nations and the Organization of Peace. Routledge.

Legg, S., 2014. An international anomaly? Sovereignty, the League of Nations, and India's princely geographies. Journal of Historical Geography, 43, pp.96-110.

Luard, E., 2016. A History of the United Nations: Volume 2: The Age of Decolonization, 1955–1965. Springer.

Pedersen, S., 2015. The guardians: The League of Nations and the crisis of empire. OUP Oxford.

Weiss, T.G., Forsythe, D.P., Coate, R.A. and Pease, K.K., 2016. The United Nations and changing world politics. Westview Press.

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