Notes for Lecture 8 -The League of Nations Collective security was at the heart of the League concept -some basic conceptual difficulties with this -need for clear cut act of aggression, need for unity against aggression (but why would aggression occur if all were peace loving and united, need to disregard other political elements such as alliances.
Origins of the League:
Some success in early years -repatriation of prisoners of war from Russia, Filand-Sweden dispute over Aaland Islands, Austrian loan, partitition of Upper Silesia, adminstration of Saar Territory, supervision of Danzig (Gdansk), environmental conventions
But also early signs of problems in the security area:
Was the League unlucky in its era? Yes -four out of seven major powers governed by extreme groups committed to radical change, great depression, isolationist policies of USA. But League was set up to deal with bad times.
Could the League Covenant have been a stronger document? Yes but consider Hinsley's judgement in Power and the Pursuit of Peace: "Everything we know about the history and the nature of international relations goes to show that the League, as it was constructed, was bound to fail; and that it was bound to be constructed as it was constructed". IE the fault lay in the nature of the international system which, because of sovereignty, power politics, international rivalries, was only able to produce a relatively weak commitment in the League Covenant, so the League was bound to fail in the absence of an underlying international balance of power that constrained and deterred potential aggressors (of whom there were many in the 1930s –Germany, Japan, Italy and Russia