How far did the Depression make the work of the League of Nations more difficult?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Fundamentally, the League of Nations was a difficult concept to enforce.  The basic idea of a world government organization is a challenge to implement and create in a politically sustainable manner.  This was compounded during the Great Depression. The economic chaos that enveloped so many nations, in particular the United States, made international commitments difficult, if not impossible, to maintain.  Add to this the growing isolationism that ended up becoming embraced by the United States public after World War I already made participation in the League of Nations a fundamental problem.  The economic fragmentation that resulted in the Great Depression almost made isolationism an accepted reality in America. Lack of economic security, employment opportunities, as well as the general feel of material claustrophobia made international issues dwindle and wither away.  There was a lack of coherent effort in serving in a communally international League of Nations when there was so much of an economic challenge in the lives of so many in America.  Economics trumped the idealism of the League of Nations during the Great Depression.  This made a concept whose embrace was weak, tenuous, and impossible to fully support impossible during the Great Depression.


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