League of Nations



1920 - 1939

Both Germans and Poles claim the port city on the Polish corridor; the League of Nations creates a constitution binding both countries that makes Danzig essentially independent

League of Nations Created

January 10, 1920

based in Geneva

Aland Islands


Swedes lose Finland and the Aland Islands, which have a high Swedish population, in 1905; the Finns and Aland Islands both declare independence after the Russiam Revolution. The British bring the issue to the League Council. So, the Council says they'll intervene but the Finns refuse, saying it's an internal matter. They agree to let the Leagye set up a neutral commission, however, which awards the islands to Finland but protects Swedish rights therein.

Albania Borders


Final borders not yet set during Versailles negotiations; both Greek and Yugoslav troops cross the borders to protect their own boundaries.
The League of Nations sends in a commission of engineers, cartographers, and surveyors to protect pre-war boundaries and troops are withdrawn.
Highlights the theme of the use of expertise in settling disputes

Upper Silesia Dispute


Both Poland and Germany claim Upper Silesia, so the League decides to award Germany 2/3 of the land and Poland 1/3. However, the 1/3 that Poland gets contains the bulk of the resources, which preserves the balance of favor.



Memel is a valuable port city with a predominantly German population. After WWI it was under League control and granted to Lithuania. However, the French and Poles both preferred it to be an international port instead of being under the control of one country so as to ensure that it would not be closed to them, so Lithuania invaded.
The League created a commission which awarded Memel to Lithuania but mandated autonomous rights for the inhabitants, meaning the port would not be closed.

Bulgaria and Greece

October 1925

Greece invaded Bulgaria to protect boundaries (again). Bulgaria complained to the League, which told the Greeks to withdraw and the Bulgarians to stand down.



Turkey claimed Mosul, then part of Iraq, as part of their "homeland." The League sent a commission to the city asking Mosuls which country they want to be a part of. Although they would rather be independent, they choose Iraq because a) it is a British client state, which offers them protection, and b) Mosul has a large Kurdish population, who don't like Turks. The League adopts their recommendation, and although Turkey disagrees with it the higher international court says they must. Independently Iraq (really Britain) and Turkey strike a deal giving Mosul to Iraq with a time limit of 25 years.
AMBIGUITY: ultimately successful but the League was unable to solve it without traditional diplomacy, i.e. sovereign states' negotiations.



Liberia was home to the Firestone Tire Company's rubber plantations, which used forced labor (aka slavery). Liberia complained to the League of Nations, who created (yet another!) commission, who issued a report confirming the use of slavery on the plantation. The Leauge threatened to establish a trusteeship over the plantation, so the government, who had colluded with Firestone, made changes and Firestone had to leave.
NOTE: most absolute success for League because all end up happy, even Firestone



German-populated area of France that wants to be part of Germany. The League administered a fair plebiscite which showed a 90% preference to be in Germany. The decision was not disputed by any party.



1920 - 1923

In the Russo-Polish war, Lithuania and Russia had signed a treaty agreeing on Vilna as capital of Lithuania and other country borders but Poland wanted Vilna and the land encompassing it. Since it was mostly Polish, the Poles thought that national self-determination gave them the right to the land. The League sensed imminent warfare and tried to give a plebiscite but the Poles invaded anyways. The Poles simply invaded by March 1922 and the state of war continued until 1927

Czech-Teschen Border

1920 - 1938

There was territory tension between Poles and Czechs, which the League tried and failed to solve, so the Council of Ambassadors intervened and delineated the borders; however, tensions continued until Hitler rose to power and intervened.


August 1923 - September 1923

The providence of Corfu was controlled by both Albania and Greece, who had a border dispute. The League decided to create a Boundary commission to survey the land. Mussolini included Italian representatives. The Greeks complained that the Italians favored the Albanians. In August, members of the Italian delegation were assassinated (we don't know by whom). Mussolini seized on it and blamed Greeks, asking for the execution and arrest of the assassins, the public apology of Greece, and 30 million lire in reparations. Mussolini invaded Corfu when they disagreed. The League of Nations promptly rolled over and told the Greeks to pay up/ apologize even though they didn't know who the assassins actually were.

Locarno Treaties

October 1925

Individual powers attempted to shore up security instead of relying on collective security. England and Italy were guarantors for the borders between Germany, France, and Belgium; Germany/Poland/Czechoslovakia and Germany/France/Belgium made an arbitration treaty, without a guarantee of eastern borders. France made separate agreements with Poland and Czechoslovakia for mutual support in case of German attack. The treaties were registered with the League but did not go through it.
THEME: Undermining the league by making individual treaties outside of it.


1931 - 1933