Agreements in 20s

How did international
agreements help the
work of the League?
Fact file
• International agreements of the 1920s –
• 1921 Washington Conference: USA, Britain, France and Japan
agreed to limit the size of their navies.
• 1922 Rapallo Treaty: The USSR and Germany re-established
diplomatic relations.
• 1924 The Dawes Plan: to avert a terrible economic crisis in
Germany, the USA lent money to Germany to help it to pay its
reparations bill (see page 242).
• 1925 Locarno treaties: Germany accepted its western borders as
set out in the Treaty of Versailles.
• 1928 Kellogg–Briand Pact: 65 nations agreed not to use force to
settle disputes. This is also known as the Pact of Paris.
• 1929 Young Plan: reduced Germany’s reparations payments.
In the 1920s, the League largely
failed in bringing about
disarmament. At the Washington
Conference in 1921 the USA,
Japan, Britain and France agreed
to limit the size of their navies, but
that was as far as disarmament
ever got.
The failure of disarmament was
particularly damaging to the
League’s reputation in Germany.
Germany had disarmed. It had
been forced to. But no other
countries had disarmed to the
same extent. They were not
prepared to give up their own
armies and they were certainly not
prepared to be the first to disarm.
Even so, in the late 1920s, the
League’s failure over disarmament
did not seem too serious because
of a series of international
agreements that seemed to
promise a more peaceful world.
The two most important of these
agreements were the Locarno
treaties and the Kellogg–Briand
Your homework is to investigate
these two treaties in more depth.
Do these 2 treaties show that the
League was a success or a failure
in the 1920s?
Locarno Agreement, 1925
The Locarno agreements were
greeted with terrific enthusiasm,
particularly in France. When news of
the agreements was announced,
church bells were rung, fireworks
were set off and celebrations
carried on into the night. The
agreements seemed to resolve some
of the problems left over from the
First World War. France felt that
at last it was being given some
guarantee of border security.
Germany had shown more goodwill
towards France than ever before.
The agreements paved the way for
Germany to join the League of
Nations. Germany was granted entry
into the League in 1926. Now the
Soviet Union was the only major
European power not in the League.
[At Locarno] a great work of
peace has been done, above all
because of the spirit in which it
was done and the spirit which it
had created. It would not have
been done unless all the
governments had felt the need
to start a new and better
chapter of international
Austen Chamberlain, British Foreign
Secretary, gives his judgement on
the Locarno treaties in 1925.
Are these 2 sources making the same point about
Describe fully the contrasting moods shown in the
A British cartoon from 1925. Fräulein
Gretchen stands for Germany.
A British cartoon from 1925.
What can you infer from this source
about the success of the Locarno
The Locarno agreements gave new hope that the
League of Nations might assume the role which
Wilson had expected of it and that, in spite of the
bitterness of the post-war years, a new international
order in Europe might be attainable . . . If one tries
to look at the European scene between 1925 and 1929
as it appeared at the time, and without the knowledge
of what came after, there seemed to be some
grounds for hope.
Written by historian James Joll in 1983.
The Kellogg Briand Pact, 1928
Three years after Locarno, the
Kellogg–Briand Pact marked the high
point of international relations in the
1920s. Its terms are set out in
Source 3.
Source 3
There was nothing in the Pact about
what would happen if a state broke
the terms of the agreement. Nor did
the agreement help the League of
Nations with disarmament. The
states all agreed that they had to
keep their armies for ‘self-defence’.
However, at the time, the Pact was
greeted as a turning point in history.
If you had asked any observer in
1928 whether the world was a safer
place than it had been in the early
1920s, the answer would almost
certainly have been yes.
The parties . . . condemn war as a
means of solving international
disputes and reject it as an
instrument of policy.
The settlement or solution of all
disputes . . . shall only be sought by
peaceful means.
Terms of the Kellogg–Briand Pact,
signed by 65 nations.
How did economic recovery help
the League?
• One reason for optimism
in 1928 was that, after
the difficult days of the
early 1920s, the
economies of the
European countries were
once again recovering.
The Dawes Plan of 1924
had helped to sort out
Germany’s economic
chaos and had also
helped to get the
economies of Britain and
France moving again (see
next slide).
• The recovery of trading
relationships between
these countries helped
to reduce tension. That
is why one of the aims
of the League had been
to encourage trading
links between the
countries. When
countries were trading
with one another, they
were much less likely to
go to war with each
How the Dawes Plan helped economic recovery in Europe.
How successful was the League in
the 1920s?
• The League had 4 objectives, above.
• You are going to produce an extended
piece of writing to answer the focus
question and this is to be submitted next
Which of the following statements
do you most agree with?
1 The League of Nations was a
great force for peace in the
2 Events of the 1920s showed just
how weak the League really was.
3 The League's successes in the
1920s were small-scale, its
failures had a higher profile.
To explain which of these
statements you most agree with,
you need to answer the question
in 4 paragraphs.
Paragraph 1
I accept/reject statement 1
Paragraph 2
I accept/reject statement 2
Paragraph 3
I accept/reject statement 3
Paragraph 4
Overall I am most in agreement
with statement ? because…
Strengths of the League
• Many countries supported it in early days they wanted peace
• Had some early successes:
• Settled some land disputes in 1920’s
• helped refugees, dealt with spread of
disease, fought for better conditions for
Weaknesses of League
• USA didn’t join
• No real power - relied on goodwill and
• No permanent army
• Disarmament not realistic
• Structure a disaster - everyone had to
agree before any action taken