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Hello, welcome to your Oak Academy history lesson with me, Ms. Goult.

I'm a history teacher in East London, but originally from a place called Guiseley in Leeds.

Now this enquiry, we're looking into, why did the League of Nations fail in the 1920s and 1930s? In other words, why did war break out in 1939? Now to understand this enquiry, I would recommend that you've had a look at the enquiries: What kind of peace made in 1919? And why did the fascists gain support? It might be that you've done this in school and that's fine.

So today's lesson, we're looking at, how successful was the League of Nations in the 1920s? So if you have not done so already, get a pen.

You might also want a pencil for this lesson as well.

And write the title.

How successful was the League of Nations in the 1920s? You may wish to pause while you do that.

So this is an image of the 1st of September, 1939.

It's an image of German soldiers.

They're breaking the border barrier in the Polish jack town of Sopot, on the morning of the 1st of September, 1939.

This is a scene that marked the beginning of the Second World War.

The lightning invasion of Poland by Germany.

The destruction of the capital city of Warsaw and the annexation, the takeover of Poland.

It sparked the British and French declaration of war on the 3rd of September.

And the beginning of the deadliest conflict in human history, which killed over 85 million people, the Second World War.

But how did this happen? The peace that was made in 1919, imagined a lasting future world peace, of countries working together and discussing their problems instead of going to war, of countries helping each other.

It was the first time they'd been an international organisation where countries had worked together, the League of Nations.

And this League of Nations had the aims of stopping war, disarming and enforcing the Treaty of Versailles.

It had an optimistic and positive view of the future.

We know that war broke out in 1939.

We can see the image of a boom.

So why did this brilliant idea of how to keep peace fail? In other words, why did war break out in 1939? It's not an easy question.

Why did the League of Nations fail? And actually the League of Nations, had a lot of successes in the 1920s, and we'll explore these and see how successful we think the League was in the 1920s.

There were two things that really held the League of Nations back, two big reasons why it failed.

And one was aggressive dictators these rulers of Europe they were desperate to gain more land and more power.

And weak democracies.

So Britain and France who were the democracies who should have been strong in Europe, failing to deal with these aggressive dictators.

But before we go into detail about why it failed, we need to know how it worked.

So let's have a look at the structure first of all.

So the League of Nations was set up in Switzerland, in Geneva, and it needed a structure that would enable nations to meet, discuss, and resolve international problems. So there were 42 members, and each member could send a representative to the Assembly.

Now the Assembly met once a year and it was the League's parliament.

It had ultimate authority over the Leagues actions and in the Assembly, all nations were equal and had one vote, which did make it very diplomatic, but it was that all very slow to make any decisions.

And it was too large to react quickly to international crises.

So a smaller group called the Council was set up and the Council met more frequently.

The great powers attempted to control the Council, that Britain, France, Italy, and Japan who were permanent members, but great Britain and France dominated the Council because they were the most powerful countries.

They were the ones who had the most power who dominated the decision making.

So there was also as well, the Permanent Court of Justice.

With about 15 judges who met and they settled international disputes.

So things like borders of countries and fishing rights.

And there was also the Secretariat which was a civil service of the League.

And it basically carried all out all the administrative jobs and it made sure that everything runs smoothly.

There was also the International Labour Organisation that was to represent the workers and the Special Commissions, which appear at the bottom here.

And they did things like, looking after health, trying to end slavery, protecting refugees and getting them back home and looking after women.

So having picked up all of that information, I thought it was time for a quiz just to check you were listening.

So, I need to read out the question, then the options.

Pause you're video, have a think about your answer, point the correct answer, or write it down.

Try and think about, why you know it's the correct answer? Then I'll then play the video again.

And you can see if you got it correct.

So first one.

Which part of the League of Nations met once per year and had representation from all 42 member states.

Was it the Council? The Secretariat or the Assembly? Pause now.

Yes, well done.

It's the Assembly, and that's why the Assembly took so long to make decisions.

So the Council had to be brought in, the great powers.

And the Assembly took a long time because all 42 member states had an equal right.

Question two.

Which two countries dominated the League of Nations? Was it the USA and France, Britain and France or Britain and the USA.

Pause your video now and choose your answer.

Well done.

It was Britain and France who dominated the League of Nations.

Which country was not a member of the League of Nations? You've had a bit of a clue from the question before.

So was it Britain, France or the USA ? Pause now.

Well done, it was the USA.

We know that it was Woodrow Wilson's idea, but he wasn't a member of the League of Nations.

So let's have a look at the three main aims of the League of Nations.

So the first aim was, to stop war.

To prevent future war in Europe.

Aim number two was, to disarm or for disarmament.

And you can see that we've got the images of a graph going downwards and a bomb there.

And that means to reduce the amount of weapons in a country and reduce the size of the armed forces or the army.

So it's making those numbers go down.

And number three, the aim was to uphold and enforce the Treaty of Versailles.

That's upholding and enforcing the Treaty of Versailles.

And again, just to remind you, if you've not learned about the Treaty of Versailles, you should go back to those lessons and what kind of peace was made in 1919.

And that will explain that.

Another quiz just to check you are listening.

So what does disarmament mean? You can see the image there of a graph with the numbers going down on a bomb, and that's a big clue.

So is it option one.

To reduce the size of a country's army and the number of weapons it has? Option two, to remove the arms of a person.

Or options three.

To make armies and weapons illegal.

Pause your video now.

Choose your answer and then press play.

Yes, you're right.

It is to reduce the size of a country's army and the numbers of weapons it has.

Now we know these aims, we are going to look at, how successful the League of Nations was at fulfilling these aims during the 1920s.

We do this by looking at some case studies.

So our first case study is the case study of Upper Silesia.

And there's an arrow pointing to where that is.

There's a large number of Polish people and large numbers of German people in this area.

And now the border that you can see there is the border that was decided following this event.

So it was very industrial, which meant there were lots of factories in the area.

And there was the possibility of making lots of money from the area.

Poland and Germany both really wanted it.

Part of the Treaty of Versailles, was a promise that, there would be a vote for the people to see whether the land should be German or Polish.

And we know that one of the aims of the League of Nations was to uphold the Treaty of Versailles.

So they held this vote.

700,000 people voted to be part of Germany, 480,000 people voted for Poland.

So there was a clear, huge majority of people that wanted to be in Germany.

The League decided to partition the area, this meant to split it.

So the League chose to give Germany over half of the land and the populations.

They got the most land and the most people, but they gave Poland, most of the industries, most of the factories.

So that meant that Poland, had the chance of making the most money out of the area.

Germany was very unhappy with this decision, as they felt they should get the land.

As the majority of people living there had voted to be in Germany.

They thought it was unfair.

But they accepted the decision and Poland accepted the decision.

So in terms of whether the League of Nations met their aims, they did stop war.

Germany and Poland, didn't go to war.

They both accepted the decision.

It didn't lead to disarmament and it did uphold the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.

But was it a fair decision? Germany thought it was unfair and it very much caused long term problems. And we know that Germany in 1939 invaded Poland.

Could this have been one of the reasons why Germany felt so hard to abide? Lets have a look at another example.

So our second example is 1923 in Corfu.

So I'm just going to put an arrow so you can see where Corfu is.

So Corfu, it's just off the coast of Greece.

So five Italians working for the League of Nations were killed in Greece.

Now Mussolini, who was the leader of Italy, demanded an apology from Greece.

And he also wanted compensation.

So he wanted money for the fact that, people who were Italian, who were working for the League of Nations in Greece had been killed.

The Greek government did not provide this.

So Mussolini took over the Island of Corfu with his army.

Now the Council of the League of Nations, because of Mussolini doing that.

And because they didn't want war to break out, put pressure on Greece to give Mussolini compensation.

and his apology.

The Greeks apologised, they paid the money and Mussolini left Corfu.

So they solved that problem.

They stopped war, they stopped war from breaking out and they also did get this small country to listen to them.

But a key point here is, they didn't stop Mussolini from invading.

Now they had not tried to stop Mussolini from invading, but they chose not to.

So it's a bit of a mixed success here, but overall the resolution was that there was no war and the smaller country did pay up.

So our next case study is that of disarmament.

So we know that one of the aims of the League of Nations was to reduce the numbers of people in people's army, and to reduce the numbers of weapons in countries.

So there were two big events to do with disarmament in the 1920s.

The first was in 1923, the Disarmament Conference.

The conference was a big meeting where the countries of the League of Nations discussed disarmament, discussed this reduction in weapons.

Unfortunately, this conference was unsuccessful because Britain objected to disarmament.

They did not want to disarm.

They did not want to reduce the number of arms that they had.

Which is very difficult because as we know that Britain and France were the countries who were the most influential, who had the most power in the League of Nations.

The Kellogg-Briand pact in 1928 was much more successful.

Now this isn't anything to do with cereal.

Kellogg was the US Secretary of State.

And Briand was the French Foreign Minister.

And this pact or agreement was supported by 65 countries and signed by 23.

And it was the agreement to ban war.

And this map shows the countries and their colonies to the countries that they ruled over, who agreed to this.

So you can see it's a massive amount of the world that was agreeing to outlaw war.

This didn't necessarily mean that countries had to agree that they were going to disarm.

But what it did mean was that, the League of Nations had made a step in the right direction.

Hello again, so having looked at these case studies, let's weigh up.

How far do we think the League of Nations met it aims in the 1920s.

Well, this is a reminder.

The aims of the League of Nations are up here.

So number one, to stop war.

Number two, disarmament.

And number three.

To uphold and enforce the Treaty of Versailles.

And on the other side of the screen, there's these three case studies.

So what I'd like you to do is, to draw this Venn diagram in your book.

That's why you got the pencil.

And if you want to be really specific on it, you could use a compass.

I then like you to write each of these case studies where you think they go on the Venn diagram.

They could go in met aims. They could go in the middle bit, which is that they met the aims to some extent, but they also didn't meet them.

Or they could go in the far bit, if the League of Nations, did not meet it's aims. And once you've done that, it'd be really good to then add on a reason why.

So why have you chosen to put that case study in that bit of the Venn diagram? What I'd like you to do now is pause your video, draw the Venn diagram and fill in the case studies.

If you can't remember bits of them, don't panic.

There's two things you can do.

You could rewind the video and watch it again.

Or if you escaped the video and click next at the bottom, the worksheets will come up, which has the detail of these case studies.

Good luck and I'll see you when you're done.

Welcome back.

So you might have got different answers to me.

And as long as you can justify it, that's fine.

I'm going to justify why I've decided to put the different events where I've decided to put them.

So first of all, Upper Silesia 1921, now by holding the vote for all of the people, they were upholding the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.

So to that extent, they've met their ratings and the Leagues decision is accepted.

However, one of the aims of the League is, to stop war.

And by making this decision, which is really unfair on Germany.

That they don't get any of the industry despite the fact that the majority of citizens voted to be in Germany.

They're not necessarily stopping war in the future.

And actually we know that Germany invades Poland in 1939.

So that's why I've put that one in the middle.

Now I've put Corfu in met aims. And the reason for that is, that it doesn't have anything to do at this point really with disarmament or upholding and enforcing the Treaty of Versailles, but it just stopped war.

Mussolini, the leader of Italy is really angry that Italians have been killed in Greece and that Greece isn't paying him any money.

And isn't apologising.

By putting pressure on Greece, the League of Nations stops Mussolini from invading.

However, you could argue that, it should go in the middle really because Mussolini isn't stopped from invading Corfu.

I actually think that it shows an example of where the League of Nations met their aims in the short term.

And we'll come onto that when we look next lesson at the League in the 1930s.

And the next one disarmament.

I've also put that in the middle because while the 1923 Disarmament Conference was a failure, the Kellogg-Briand pact of 1928 was in fact very much a step in the right direction.

And why did the League of Nations fail? We've got this issue of aggressive dictators, which we'll come to a little bit more next lesson when we really see that coming to light.

We've seen the issue of weak democracies.

The fact that Britain is not willing to disarm, for example.

The fact that Britain and France, uphold the Treaty of Versailles when it suits them.

For example, with the issue of Upper Silesia where they give Poland a much better deal than Germany.

Now, both of these issues are underpinned by the structure of the League of Nations.

The fact that the USA is not a member, the fact that the losing countries and in particular Germany, do not have a place in the League of Nations.

And it will become clearer as we go through the lessons, why Germany not being apart is such a big problem.

So at this point, well done, you've made it through the core part of the lesson that I'm explaining.

Pause the video, read the slides on the next page, and then answer the comprehension questions.

I will then go through the answers with you, and we'll have a look at what we've done.

So your five comprehension questions here, which are on your worksheet, we will go through them one at a time.

And question one.

The League of Nations was set up as a consequence of which conflict.

So an acceptable answer and an answer that is correct is, the First World War.

However, we can be much more detailed than that.

We know a lot more about why it was set up.

So a better answer would be.

The League of Nations was set up as a consequence of the First World War.

People did not want war to break out again, as it has caused so much suffering.

The League of Nations was set up to keep future world peace.

So that explains not just that it was set up as a consequence of the First World War, but why, as a consequence of the First World War, the League of Nations was set up.

It's about taking it that little step further.

Number two, what were the three main aims of the League of Nations? Now this acceptable answer is reasonable: To stop war, disarmament, to uphold and enforce the Treaty of Versailles.

We can go a bit further than that though.

A better answer would be: The three main aims of the League of Nations were: To stop war through collective security and using diplomacy instead of fighting.

That explains one of the aims a little bit more.

To encourage disarmament and to uphold and enforce the Treaty of Versailles.

All of these aims were designed to help stop future Wars.

And that just really explains the aims and why they are there as well.

Question number three.

How was the League in some ways successful in working towards its aim of disarmament? Remember disarmament means reducing the size of the army and the number of weapons in a country.

So acceptable answer: The countries signed an agreement to have fewer weapons.

It's not quite true.

It's not quite correct because the Kellogg-Briand pact was an agreement not to go to war.

So that answer, well, it's acceptable, to an extent it's not quite correct.

A much better answer would be.

The Kellogg-Briand pact of 1928, which is good 'cause it specifically names that and gives the date.

Was a success in that it was signed by 23 countries and supported by 65.

This was an agreement to ban war.

It was hoped that this would lead to disarmament.

The fact that so many countries had agreed to it was a step in the right direction.

So that's good because it gives the specifics of how many countries signed it.

And it explains why it's a success.

Question number four.

Why could the outcome of the Corfu crisis of 1923, be seen as a success for the League? Acceptable answer.

The League stopped war.

That's correct.

The Corfu crisis did not result in a war.

A much better answer would be: The outcome of the Corfu crisis could be seen as a success because no large scale war broke out.

The pressure that the League of Nations put on Greece to apologise to Italy and pay compensation was successful.

And meant that Italy removed troops from Corfu.

So that's explaining why it was a success, not just saying it was because there wasn't war.

It really tells you the reason why in detail.

Question five.

Explain why the League started to look weak in the 1920s? Use the sentence starters and the key words to help you.

So in this table, it gives you the sentence starters for two paragraphs.

And the key words, self interest, Treaty of Versailles, Upper silesia, covenant slash aims not to met and revenge.

Now, I would recommend for this answer that you use the case studies of Upper Silesia and the failure of the Disarmament Conference to support your answers as to why the League started to look weak.

You could also consider as well, the membership of the League of Nations and the power that Britain and France had and their disagreements over how the League worked.

Well done for completing your first lesson on our investigation into why the League of Nations failed.

If you'd like to, we'd love to see your work.

So please ask a parent or carer to share your work on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, tagging @OakNational and hashtag LearnwithOak.

Next lesson we'll be looking at the failings of the League of Nations in the 1930s.

And how things in Europe, started moving more rapidly towards another--.