Why Did the League of Nations Fail?

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Jari Eloranta, Ph.D Assistant Professor of Comparative Economic and Business History, Appalachian State University, Department of History, Whitener Hall, Boone, NC 28608, USA Phone: +1-828-262 6006, email: elorantaj@appstate.edu Paper to be presented at the Sixth European Historical Economics Society Conference, 9-10 September 2005, Historical Center of the former Imperial Ottoman Bank, Istanbul. WHY DID THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS FAIL? INTRODUCTION The economic and political instability of the interwar period and the rise of authoritarian regimes are often seen as extensions of World War I and the Great Depression. The League of Nations, in turn, is usually seen as an organization that failed to act adequately during the various political…show more content…
The foreign policy Cf. Vaïsse 1993, 185-186. On this type of argument, see Rosecrance and Stein 1993; Rosecrance and Steiner 1993, 124—125. More specific tests of this argument, in relation with military spending demand and the relevant variables, are presented in the subsequent sections. 4 3 3 environment under the superficially strong League of Nations in the 1920s did not provide encouragement for meaningful spending cuts. Moreover, what did the League of Nations Covenant actually propose in terms of security and how did the different players adapt to this framework? I will also explore the multitude of efforts to achieve credible disarmament measures5, from the early 1920s to the early 1930s. In fact, did the League of Nations fail to provide the right institutional setting for the disarmament bargaining or was it doomed to fail, due to inadequacies related to its structure and the players involved?6 The evidence uncovered in this paper suggests that it was doomed to fail, given the inability of the League to make credible security guarantees and the widely differing goals of the members. Second, I will explore whether the League of Nations actually could be modeled as a credible (or indeed failed) military alliance, i.e. whether the military spending of the sample members exhibited pure public
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