The League of Nations

  • Established in 1920 following World War I for maintaining global peace and security.
  • The League’s primary goal was to prevent wars via collective security, disarmament, and negotiation practices.
  • However, it failed to prevent militarism and aggression in the 1930s, leading to World War II.
  • Criticised for being largely controlled by Western powers and ineffective in handling global crises.
  • Major powers like the US and USSR were not members, which diminished its credibility and global influence.

Treaty of Versailles

  • Signed in June 1919, marked the formal end of World War I.
  • Aimed to ensure reparations, disarmament of Germany and territorial changes.
  • Many historians consider it a significant factor in the start of World War II due to its rigorous terms against Germany.
  • Dissatisfaction with the treaty fuelled the rise of extremist parties, including the Nazi Party in Germany.

Policy of Appeasement

  • Implemented by Britain and France in the 1930s to avoid a military conflict with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
  • Adverse effects include Nazi Germany’s continued territorial expansion, breaking the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.
  • Ultimately proved ineffective and led to the outbreak of World War II.

Formation of the United Nations

  • Established in 1945 as a reaction to the failure of the League of Nations and the devastation of World War II.
  • Aims to maintain international peace and security, promote social progress, and protect human rights.
  • Considered much more effective than the League of Nations due to broader membership and stronger enforcement mechanisms.

Bipolar World and Beginning of the Cold War

  • Post World War II marked the rise of two superpowers, the US and USSR, creating a bipolar world.
  • Despite being allies in the war, conflicting ideologies led to political and military tension, known as the Cold War.
  • The period witnessed several indirect conflicts and arms races, affecting global peace.
  • The establishment of the UN sought to manage these tensions and prevent a potential global conflict.


  • Thorough understanding of these events is crucial for assessing the international efforts in maintaining peace and security between 1919 and 1945.
  • To answer the exam questions effectively, be sure to evaluate the successes and failures of these measures, the key global actors involved, their motivations, and long-term consequences.
  • Try to draw connections between different events and policies to show a deep level of understanding. For example, link the failure of the League of Nations to the formation of the UN or appeasement policy to the outbreak of WW II.