How successful was the League of Nations in the 1930s?
The League of Nations suffered major setbacks in the 1930s. The organization failed to stop stronger nations from antagonizing other nations, with some of the aggressive nations actively seeking to grow into empires. These countries undermined the League’s position and subsequent directives to refrain from their expansionist agendas.
In 1932, Japan invaded and conquered Manchuria. The League tried to intervene against Japan, but Japan decided to exit the League.
In 1935, Italy marched to take over Abyssinia. Ironically, Britain and France supported their quest in secret agreements despite being key members of the League of Nations. In the same year, Hitler starts the re-armament of Germany in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles. A year later, the League’s Disarmament Conference failed.
In 1937, Italy exited the League. A year later, Germany and Austria settled to unite, forcing Britain and France to appease Hitler by handing him Sudetenland.
In 1939, the League’s total failure was confirmed by the onset of the Second World War.
The League of Nations was organized after World War I to maintain peace in the world through cooperation between nations. Its aims included promoting disarmament and non-violent resolution of conflicts, as well as protecting minority rights. Many nations, shocked by the carnage of World War I, were determined that this would be the last war fought and believed an international organization could help prevent armed conflict.
Needless to say, the League of Nations was a failure. The United States refused to join, and Germany pulled out. In the 1930s, Germany rearmed and began military action against other nations by annexing territories it considered part of the German homeland, and by getting involved in the Spanish Civil War. The League of Nations was ineffective at stopping Hitler's determination to start a world war. His militant nationalism ran counter to League of Nation aims. Further, Hitler's government made a mockery of minority rights in its persecution of the Jews and other groups.
The League of Nations, organized to prevent warfare, was beyond unsuccessful; it was a catastrophic failure. Japan invaded Manchuria in 1933 and it issued condemnations. That same year Germany withdrew from the League. Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935, and withdrew in 1937. In 1939, the League expelled the Soviet Union. Strangely, it continued to exist throughout WWII and finally dissolved in 1946 after the creation of the United Nations.