The development of dictatorial rules and the instability in terms of political and economic aspects are tentatively viewed as the progression of the Great Depression and the First World War (Pedersen 1092). The League of Nations is often viewed as an institution that was incapable of performing at its full potential when the political systems were completely unstable especially after the Japanese violence that took place in Manchuria (Pedersen 1092). Japan was among the countries that left it before its closure and hence it is important to comprehend its departure. By analyzing the structure, functions and the failures of the League of Nations and the views by Matsuoka concerning the leagues report regarding Manchuria, it becomes easier to comprehend the reasons as to why Japan left the League in 1933.
Review of the League of Nations
The League of Nations was a global institution that was established in 1920 after World War 1 for the purpose of providing a place where international disputes could be resolved (Callahan 1915). Its headquarters was in Geneva in Switzerland. It is important to note that the United States never became part of the league despite Presidents Woodrow Wilson recommendation when presenting his Fourteen Points plan in regards to reinstating peace in Europe (Callahan 1915). He presented the plan in 1918 on 8th January in front of the Congress where he described the league as a traditional institution among nations that was established for particular agreements such that political independence is agreed among them and that it meant the establishment of territorial uprightness for both large and small states (Callahan 1915).
It is important to note that the previous points by Wilson required plenty of enforcement. By asserting that the league was a traditional institution among nations, he was representing the views of various diplomats from both the western and eastern parts of the world (Clavin & Wessel 466). The diplomats perceived that there was a need for a distinctive international body that focused on ensuring in cooperation from a global perspective in regards to establishing and maintaining peace and ensuring that the members are protected (Clavin & Wessel 466). The president was quite optimistic about the league, and his views were quite popular especially since the population in Europe had been exhausted because of the war that took four years and the popular view among people in the U.S. who believed that a new global institution would be adequate and necessary in handling global conflict (Clavin 56). Nonetheless, forming the organization appeared to be challenging such that by the time Wilson completed his term, America was not highly convinced to be part of the league. The view of establishing the league was based on an extensive global distaste in regards to the World War 1 that resulted in an immense loss of lives and destruction and the comprehension of what cause the war (Clavin 58). It is important to note that the view aligned with Wilsons Fourteen Points plan that incorporated the theories regarding collective security in addition to the global debate that took place among utopians, jurists, scholars, and socialists prior to and when the war was taking place (Laqua 223). With his optimistic attitude, Wilson journeyed in 1919 in the month of January to attend the Paris Peace Conference of which he was the first president to travel in an official capacity. By then, he had implemented most of the ideas that were present in the Fourteen Points plan. The fight involved in endorsing the Treaty of Versailles and the associated Covenant in the Congress of the United States assisted in identifying the fundamental political division in place of the United States role in the global arena in regards to the generation at hand (Laqua 223).
Wilson returned back to the U.S. on February victoriously with the full focus on presenting the Covenant and the Treaty to the U.S. Congress for it to provide consensus and approval (Nye & Welch 36). Nonetheless, the opposition presented by some members of the Congress in addition to the media had developed prior to his visit to Paris despite the widely held support that the league had among the U.S. citizens. Henry Cabot Lodge, who was the Foreign Relations Committee chairman and the majority head of the Senate led the opposition entailing being part of the league (Nye & Welch 36).
Lodge was against the U.S. joining the League due to the drive brought about by the concerns of the Republicans (Pedersen 45). The Republicans believed that joining the league meant the U.S. was dedicating itself to an expensive institution and hence decreasing the ability of the U.S. to protect its interests. While Lodge and the other members that opposed the league were afraid of the implications associated with engaging in the political crisis among European countries especially after the peace settlement that was done in 1919, Wilson and his supporters viewed the league as a benefit that would assist in establishing peace and protecting its members collectively (Pedersen 45). Lodge and his group stuck to United States vision of getting back to its general disassociation from obligations that were outside its borders. The hatred between Lodge and Wilson brought down hopes for any form of agreement and hence the Covenant, and the Treaty failed to be endorsed after the 49-35 vote in the Senate that took place in 1920. After nine months, Warren Harding who also opposed the League became the U.S. president (Pedersen 46).
The United States, therefore, never became part of the league. According to historians, the league failed to operate effectively as a result of the absence of the U.S (McCarthy 89). In other words, it would have achieved its goals if the U.S. had agreed to be a member. Nonetheless, the presidents from the side of the Republicans and their planners in regards to foreign policies agreed with most of the leagues goals despite the rejection. The administration by Coolidge, Harding, and Hoover engaged the United States with some of the efforts from the league in regards to various issues but to the extent that the Congress agreed on (McCarthy 89). A bond between Geneva and Washington was avoided due to the frequent congress suspicion that the gradual association between the league and the U.S. would result in a membership that was de facto membership (Cecil 56). Furthermore, the growth of discouragement towards the Treaty of Versailles weakened the Leagues support in the U.S. and the entire global community. It is perceived that the combination of the Covenant and the Treaty was a mistake made by Wilson (Cecil 56). The Treaty was considered to be short-sighted and difficult to enforce. The failure of the league to have it reviewed or implement it made the members of the Congress that opposed the league to find ways to prevent the U.S. from associating with the league (Knepper 65). Nonetheless, the beginning of the Second World War presented the need of having an international organization that would handle conflicts (Yearwood 25). Roosevelts administration and the public of the United States provided support to the idea and as a result founded the United Nations. Therefore, in 1946, the formation of the United Nations resulted in the dissolution of the League of Nations. The new body was similarly structured as the League of Nations but had an extensive global support and forces to assist it such that it prevented committing the same failures that were done by the former (Yearwood 26).
Structure and Functions of the League of Nations
The league focuses on disarmament and assuring that collective security was in place for its members (Hogan 5). It is important to note that the end of World War 1 necessitated the need for removing the U.S. troops from the European territory and a change in the political views towards the superpower nations. The need for peace hence became a common theme after the war with regards to the global politics (Hogan 5). The League of Nations came into perspective but after the U.S. failed to join it and its failure in accomplishing most of it goals, it had to be replaced by a more stable body (Hogan 5).
After the formation of the league, eighteen states became its members but after agreeing to the peace treaty (Matz 50). By the end of 1920, the number of member states increased to more than forty such that by 1938, the league has an approximate of fifty-five member states. It estimated that 74% of the population of the world and 63% of the areas occupied by states were members of the League of Nations (Matz 50). The league also became the sole protector of the Treaty of Versailles during the postwar era. The league illustrated no sign of being a cosmopolitan authority but rather involved all member states when making decisions. Each state had a say on all decisions (Matz 50).
The institution had three main structures that include the Assembly, the Council, and the Secretariat (Grigorescu 26). The assembly and the council had the authority to issue orders while the secretariat was the leagues functional bureaucracy. The assembly performed legislative functions while the council acted as the institutions cabinet. The assembly had three representatives from each state while the council consisted of eight members. The cabinet left the ninth seat to the U.S. just in case it joined the league (Grigorescu 26).
The purpose of the assembly was to get rid of the fears present among the small states whereby the number of representatives was equalized among member states (McCarthy 105). It also ensured reasonable control on the council whenever there was need especially when it came to its size and nature in addition to the selection of the council members. In regards to the council, it focused on providing the small states more power when it came to making decisions by which four of the members of the council came from small states. The small states, in this case, included Spain, Belgium, Greece, and Brazil. However, the membership was temporary. The greater powers that include France, Japan, Italy and the UK occupied permanent seats in the Council (McCarthy 105). The council, in this case, was viewed as a passive structure despite having the responsibility of making decisions regarding policies and implementing them. The Secretary-General was in charge of the Secretariat (McCarthy 105).
In 1932, the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments Conference were held due to the leagues experience of challenges in regards to maintaining peace (Gorman 450). The challenges emanated from the aggression that China was facing from Japan in Manchuria (Burkman 94). Before the commencement of the conference, a resolution report from the Swiss, Danish, Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish representatives was presented to the council with the request of convincing governments to refrain from increasing their weaponry. The suggestion had been made earlier in 1931 but got acceptance in 1932. The solution was perceived to be probing but became among the few temporary successful efforts on disarmament (Gorman 451). The weaponry agreement was put into consideration when the Disarmament Conference was taking place especially since the conference was taking place when the depression was at its climax in most countries. Therefore, the treaty was accepted without much opposition. However, tangible results were not accomplished despite the conference taking place for almost two years and a half. The opinions among the participants differed greatly in addition to the rise of Hitler who only worsened the situation (Gorman 451). The leagues unsuccessful attempt to deal with the issue in Manchuria gave it a major blow which in return made the Disarmament Conference a failure. In 1934, the Swiss, Danish,...
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