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The League of Nations’ Activity After World War I

Adolf Hitler successful establishing of the Nazi regime was possible due to the penalties Germany had to face after it was defeated in the World War I; the economy of Germany was weakened so severe because France occupied the Saar Basin and Rhineland that supplied Germany with iron and coal (p. 761). These two objects were Hitler’s targets during his regiment – he ignored the Versailles Treaty (it stated that Rhineland was a demilitarized zone) and occupied Rhineland with the help of his troops in 1936 (p. 854). France, Britain, and the United States failed to prevent the occupation, so Hitler continued implementing his plans (p. 854). He gained big support from the citizens of Germany, and his next step was the annexation of Austria and the Sudetenland in 1938 (p. 854). The Sudetenland was a part of Czechoslovakia, but its population mostly consisted of ethnic Germans, so, eventually, Hitler occupied the whole country (p. 855).

It should be noted that President Roosevelt, although concerned about Germany’s actions, only gave one speech in Chicago, but no action had followed (p. 855). In the meantime, the genocide known as The Holocaust began in Germany. Thousands of Jews lost their citizenship and property, were deported, brought to concentration camps (p. 855). Meanwhile, Britain and France followed the so-called policy of appeasement, because the heads of the governments hoped it would prevent a war with Germany (p. 855). Of course, Roosevelt had no other option as to accept the French and British policy. At the Munich conference in 1938, the annexed Sudetenland became a legal part of Germany; it was done to ascertain that Hitler would not start a war (p. 855).

Although the League of Nations was supposed to prevent possible wars, it turned out that it only contributed to it. The League of Nations had its important effect on Europe: it had not only brought some nations together but also made it possible for other nations or countries to appear: Austria and Hungary became two separate lands, Finland, Poland, and Czechoslovakia, as well as Latvia, Lithuania, Yugoslavia, and Estonia, were not parts of other empires anymore (p. 761). The British and French empires divided the former Ottoman Empire into new territories, thus creating Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq that were controlled by the League of Nations (p. 764). Ireland could not become independent at first, but in 1921, the Irish Free State was created (p. 764). The United States was not in the League of Nations and stood by the policy of isolationism, while Britain and France were not able to confront the regimes that appeared throughout the Europe, so not only the Nazi regime in Germany was able to gain dominance but also the fascist dictatorship in Italy, led by Benito Mussolini, and the regime of Francisco Franco in Spain (p. 854, 855).

Some ideas of Woodrow Wilson that were part of the Versailles treaty were not accepted by the main Ally powers (p. 764). The idea about self-ruling colonies was not appealing to Britain and France. Moreover, although South Africa, Japan, and Australia ruled the former German colonies, Japanese suggestion to hold on to principles of racial equality was declined by Wilson, i.e. the USA, as well as the Great Britain and Australia (p. 764). These harsh methods provoked different movements in the Middle East and Asia. The Chinese May 4 movement and the Vietnamese fight for independence were answers to the policy that the League of Nations held on to (p. 755).

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