The most significant problem faced by the League of Nations in the 1920s was The most significant problem faced by the League of Nations in the 1920s was the absence of the USA.
The League of Nations suffered a major blow when the United States refused to join it because of its isolationist policy after the First World War.
Although most Americans (Notably American media) had been in favor of America’s membership of the League of Nations, after a vote, the American public refused to join it.
Many Americans were uneasy about President Wilson’s policy for the League of Nations. They were concerned that joining the League of Nations would drag the US into international disputes that were not of their interest.
Also, the Americans had an issue with the League of Nations Article X, which said League members are committed to defending the territorial integrity of other countries around the world, and interpreted it as an automatic decision that if a nation was invaded or faced invasion, the U.S. would have to come to its assistance.
Thus, the US Senate refused to ratify President Wilson’s Treaty of Versailles for fear that US involvement in the League of Nations would mean that American troops might be sent to Europe in order to settle European disputes.
Another major reason for the US Senate’s objection to ratify the Treaty of Versailles was the fear that the League of Nations would supersede US authority.
The absence of the United States is said to be the most important reason for the failure of the League of Nations in the 1930s. The League did not have the power it needed to enforce its resolutions. This later proved to be a fatal flaw in the League’s structure.
The League of Nations was ultimately unsuccessful in its goal of promoting and maintaining world peace, and a significant reason for its failure was the fact that the United States never participated.
The League successfully mediated minor international disputes but was often disregarded by the major powers.
The League needed every nation’s goodwill and assistance. To be successful, all the Great Powers had to be included in the League in order to prevent an aggressor.
The League was robbed of three of the world’s most powerful countries at one time or another within the first few years of its existence, namely the United States, the Soviet Union and Germany.
If there was a conflict, the League could only call on the contested states to sit down and address the matter in a peaceful manner. If this failed, there was nothing that the league could do as it did not have a military force at its disposal.
Therefore, it could not carry out any threats and any country defying its authority would have been aware of this liability.
The League of Nations task was restricted only to enforcing peace since it did not have a military like the United Nations has today.
The only two countries in the League of Nations that could have provided any meaningful military force were Britain and France but both had their military strengths impaired severely in World War One. So the absence of the United States was a significant problem faced by the League of Nations.