A photography showing some of the representatives from member states of the League of Nations

A photography showing some of the representatives from member states of the League of Nations

Successes and Failures of the League


  • The ILO improved worker’s working conditions for example working hours, leave days etc
  • The health commission performed invaluable work during pandemics that beset the world after the First World War most famously the influenza pandemic.
  • The League provided much needed help to needy states (the League rescued Austria from a financial crisis in 1924) and carried out essential famine relief work
  • It carried out resettlement and helped refugees for example Jews fleeing from Hitler, Greek refugees and some Russians fleeing from the often bloody Bolshevik revolution.
  • Major powers managed to sign treaties guaranteeing the right for minorities to practice their own cultures and religions and use their own language.
  • Established international control over dangerous drugs for example opium.
  • It succeeded in abolishing all forms of slavery
  • From 1920 up to 1929 the League was largely successful in solving disputes among states for example the dispute between Finland and Sweden.
  • In 1920 it solved the border conflict between Germany and Poland over Upper Silesia.
  • In 1921 it solved the conflict between Albania and Yugoslavia.
  • In 1925 it solved the dispute between Bulgaria and Greece.
  • In 1926 it solved the Mosul conflict between Turkey and Iraq and Mosul was given  to Iraq.


  • In 1920 the League failed to stop the Russo-Polish war.
  • in 1920 it failed to stop the Polish-Lithuanian war.
  • In 1923 it failed to solve the border dispute between Albania and Greece  over Corfu Island
  • In 1931 it failed to stop Lithuania over the annexing of Memel.
  • In 1931 it failed to stop Japan from seizing the Chinese province of Manchuria (called Manchukuo in Japanese)
  • It failed to stop Italy from invading Abbyssinia.
  • It failed to stop Germany from invading Austria in 1938
  • It failed Germany from invading part of Czechoslovakia in 1938 and the remainder in 1939
  • It failed to stop Germany from invading Poland in 1939
  • It failed to stop the outbreak of World War 22

Weakenesses of the League and reasons for some of its failures

  • It had no standing army so it was powerless to intervene in cases where powerful nations were aggressors (which was often the case) for example Germany’s invasions of Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland.
  • The absense of major powers such as the USA meant that it lacked the proper political clout to carry out global policing duties.
  • It could not force nations to disarm as it had no means to do so.
  • The League was linked with the treaty of Versailles which led some of the nations (especially the defeated powers like Germany who had been forced to accept harsh terms) to view it as a club of conquerors bent on imposing their will on everyone else.
  • The desire to establish unanimous decisions limited the League’s operations.
  • The General Assembly’s timetable of meeting once a year gave it little time to discuss all the complex issues affecting the world.
  • Britain and France lacked the will and power to make the League an effective organisation.
  • Britain and France often disagreed on how to run the League
  • Member states pursued their own selfish ends to the detriment of greater good.