Why League of Nations failed?

Causes for the Failure of League of Nations

The League failed in its main object of maintaining peace in the world. In spite of its efforts for two decades, the whole world was involved in war again in 1939. There are many causes for its failure.

  • The major powers like USA and USSR were not members of the League of Nations. This was a serious defect. Japan, Germany and Italy had left the League.
  • It was unfortunate that the Covenant of the League of Nations was made a part and parcel of the peace settlement. It would have been better if it had been kept separate. There were many states which considered the Treaty of Versailles as a treaty of revenge and were not prepared to ratify the same. By not ratifying the treaty, they were refused to be members the League.
  • There was also a feeling among the nations that the League of Nations was fully dominated by the victorious countries of World War I especially of France and England. The result was that the other states began to doubt about the working of the League of Nations.
  • The victorious countries humiliated the countries like Germany. Germany was compelled to pay war reparations when it was suffering from economic difficulties. Hence there were no chances of peace.
  • After World War I, in Europe there came situations for the rise of dictatorships in Italy, Japan and Germany. Japan in the Far East conquered Manchuria. The League was not also in a position to condemn the action of Japan. Japan was also prepared to give up the membership of the League. Likewise in Italy there was Fascist Dictatorship. This had preached the people of Italy narrow nationalism.
  • Italy captured Abyssinia. When the League questioned the conquest of Italy on Abyssinia, it left the League.
  • Germany too was not prepared to accept the commitments under the Treaty of Versailles. In Germany too there was Nazi dictatorship. Hitler preached pseudo patriotism. He also spoke about the superiority of German race over other races. He wanted to expand Germany’s sway over Austria and Poland. He made conquests over these countries. Defying the provisions of the Treaty of Versaille she increased the armaments. When this was questioned in the League, Germany left the League.
  • Small nations lost their faith on the working of the League. They felt that the League of Nations had no power to control the aggressive activities of the big powers.
  • France’s insistence of forcing Germany to pay the war reparation at the time of its economic crisis had disastrous effects on the politics of the country. This contributed to the downfall of the Weimar Republic and rise of Hitler in Germany and the latter was responsible for the failure of the League.
  • The birth of the League of Nations on the ruins of the First World War was welcomed. However, the member states of the League did not cooperate. As a result the League failed in its mission. Thus, the Second World War broke out. Finally, UNO was established on the disintegration of the League.
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