League of Nations

n the History class, Lenny left us a task which was to watch a video from her blog and to read the second chapter form our History book, and then to answer some questions.

Here is the video:

 

Matías Ripoll and Trinidad Porretti.

QUESTIONS

1- What were the aims of the league?

2- What happened to Wilson when he returned to USA after signing the Treaty of Versailles?

3- Why did German immigrants in USA not want to join the league?

4- What economic reason did USA give to stay out of the league?

5- How did Americans feel about imperialism in Europe?

6- Why did Poland invade Vilna? Why did the league not act about it?

7- Why was upper Silesia an important region for Poland and Germany?

8- How did the league solve the problem in Vilna?

9- What did the league decide to do about the Aaland Islands?

10- Why did Mussolini invade Greece in the Corfu conflict?

11- Why was the league criticised about the resolution in the Corfu conflict?

12- How did the Geneva protocol weaken the league?

13- Why did Greece invade Belgium in 1925?

14- Why did Greece complain that the league “seemed to have one rule for the large states(such as Italy) and other for the small ones?

 

ANSWERS

 

1- The principal aims of the League were; to discourage aggression between countries, to encourage countries to disarm, to encourage countries to co-operate, especially in business and trade, and to improve the living and working conditions of people all around the world.This aims would lead to a fair and lasting peace, which the League clearly didn’t achieve, due to WW2.

 

2- Woodrow Wilson, after signing the Treaty, came back to USA and had problems. Before the USA could even join the league, he needed the approval of the Congress. However, in the USA the idea of joining the league wasn’t supported by everyone, because they didn’t want to get involved in international alliance, but follow it’s own policies and self-interest. In addition, his idea was defeated twice in 1919 and March 1920 by the congress. The Republican candidate for the elections, Warren Harding, campaigned for the opposite than Wilson, isolation, because he thought that the US had enough people and resources to be by themselves. He thought that the European instability, due to the post-war recovery, could affect USA’s stability. Harding won the elections, so when the League opened for Business, the US wasn’t present.

 

3- The German immigrants in USA didn’t want to join the league because this one, enforced the Treaty of Versailles which was hated by the Germans for the reason that it had weakened and humiliated them previously.

 

4- The economic reason that USA gave to stay out of the league was that if the league imposed sanctions it might be American Trade and Business that suffered the most. In addition, if she joined the League, she would have to give economic support for troops, as the other members of the League were in an economic depression, due to the post-war recovery.

 

5- The Americans, according to imperialism in Europe, feared the the League would be dominated by Britain or France because they were the most powerful empires, and would defend themselves, and make all of the decisions. And, the problem was, that many in the US were Anti-Empires.

 

6- Poland invaded Vilna in 1920 because she was in a dispute with Lithuania due to that she claimed that there were a lot of Poles living in Vilna(because before the Treaty of Versailles, the Lithanian capital belonged to Poland) and therefore it belonged to her. Because of this reason, Lithuania appealed to the league. However, the League (France and Britain), was not prepared to act because the League was new and they had economic issues due to the consequences of WW1. And because they weren’t prepared to act, they failed and therefore let the Poles get their way.

 

7- Upper Silesia was an important region for Germany and Poland because it was the border area between them, and the region was ethnically mixed with both Germans and Poles. In addition, this region was very rich in resources. This problem was solved by the League which oversaw a peaceful plebiscite(the rural area voted for Poland and the urban one for Germany)and divided the region among Germany and Poland. Finally both countries accepted this decision. This dispute was carried out in a positive way because it was solved in a peaceful and fair manner.

 

8- The League(France and Britain) didn’t solve this problem because they couldn’t persuade Poland to leave the city. The armed forces weren’t able to pull them out of the city. This meant that Poland was powerful. They didn’t leave the city until the outbreak of World War 2 in 1939.

 

9- After the dispute in 1921 between Finland and Sweden over the Aaland islands, the League intervened and decided that the islands should belong to Finland avoiding a war between them. Sweden accepted this decision. The organization decided to measure the distance between the islands and countries, as Finland was closer, she got to keep them. This was a fair resolution.

 

10- Mussolini, the Italian leader during that time, invaded Greece because he was furious and blamed the Greek government for the murder of the Italian general Tellini and his team(who were representing the League to sort out the border between Greece and Albania, and were killed by Greeks). In addition, they invaded Corfu because Mussolini demanded the Greeks to pay a compensation and execute the murderers. However, the Greeks had no idea who the murderers were. So on August the 31st he bombarded Greece and then occupied the Greek island of Corfu, and killed fifteen people.

 

11- The League was criticised about the resolution of the Corfu conflict because this showed that the weakest of all powers, Italy, could get its way if they were backed up by Britain and France, who agreed to sacrifice justice for cooperation. For this reason, Greece had to pay a compensation to Italy.

 

12- The Geneva protocol weakened the League because conflicts such as the Corfu dispute could continue happening. The Geneva protocol was supposed to strengthen the League, because it said that if two members were in dispute they would have to ask the League to sort out the disagreement and they would have to accept the Council’s decision. However, as Britain was having general elections, a new Conservative government was chosen and it refused to sign the protocol before it could be put into effect, because they feared if there was another conflict the League would solve it, acting to her own interests, not Britain’s. Therefore, this protocol which was supposed to strengthen the League, ended up doing the opposite. The Geneva protocol showed how Great Britain had control over the League in a negative way, because many countries started to follow GB’s lead by not signing the protocol.  

 

13- Greece invaded Belgium in October 1925 because of the incident on the border in which some Greek soldiers were killed. Greece thought that If Italy had done this, why couldn’t they do the same?So Bulgaria appealed to the League for help and finally, the League demanded both sides to stand their forces down and Greek forces withdraw from Bulgaria. Although they complained that there seemed to be one rule for the smaller, “less important” states, and another for the bigger, “more important” states. The resolution of this conflict was partly successful partly failure, because on the hand, she solved the fact that there could be a war between them. Although, on the other hand, she wasn’t partial or fair with Greece, who had done the same thing Italy did in the Corfu conflict. This showed that the league had a ruling for the big countries and another for the small ones.

 

14- Greece complained that the League “seemed to have one rule for the large states(such as Italy) and other for the small ones(such as Greece)” because it wasn’t fair, all States should have an only same rule. Because of this, the major states were likely to get things done in their way, they could decide over most of the issues, this meant they had benefits because they were more powerful. This made it clear that larger states were more important than the smaller ones, that they had more priorities, and that was unfair, the League, which was supposed to be fair, was the opposite.

 

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