International Law Before and After the Cold War

Professor Setear

Spring 1999, University of Virginia Law School


Entry and Exit from the League of Nations:

Germany, Italy, Japan, and the Soviet Union


Germany was admitted to the League of Nations on September 8, 1926.  Germany left the League of Nations on October 4, 1933.  This information is from The History Places's World War II time-line.

The Soviet Union was admitted to the League of Nations in 1934 and was expelled on December 14, 1939 (after invading Finland).  The admission year is from AJP Taylor's The Origins of the Second World War, p. 79 (Fawcett p.b. ed. 1961); the expulsion date is from The History Places's World War II time-line.

Japan was a signatory of the Treaty of Versailles, and thus presumably an original member of the League.  (I'm assuming that they ratified the Treaty at about the same time as the other ratifying signatories).  Japan withdrew from the League in 1933 after being censured by the League of Nations for the Japanese invasion of Manchuria.   See Richard Overy with Andrew Wheatcroft, The Road to War, at pp. 238-39 (1989).  (I found people on the Web who agree with eminent historian Overy, but others also placed the withdrawal at 1931 and at 1936--which just goes to show that you can't trust everything you download, I guess.)

Italy was a signatory of the Treaty of Versailles, and thus presumably an original member of the League (I'm assuming that they ratified the Treaty at about the same time as the other ratifying signatories).  I found one Web page stating that Italy withdrew from the League in 1935, but this page also fails to show that Russia withdrew from the League, which tends to make the page suspect.  And I found lots of discussions about how the League sanctioned Italy for invading Ethiopia (a.k.a. Abyssinia), but those discussions do not mention Italian withdrawal from the League.  It seems odd that the League would do nothing once Italy had declared war on France and Britain in mid-1940, but perhaps the League ceased even minimal functioning between its expulsion of the Soviet Union and the Italian declaration of war.  So I'm going to leave Italy as an open question for now.

Taylor describes the League as "a shadow" as of the German re-occupation of the Rhineland in March of 1936.  Taylor at 101.

 


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This page was last updated on 04/10/99.