International Relations 1919-1939

Occupation of the Ruhr

Why did France and Belgium occupy the Ruhr in 1923?

On the 11th January 1923, French and Belgian troops marched into Germany and occupied the industrial Ruhr area. The two countries had grown increasingly frustrated by Germany frequently defaulting on its reparations that had been agreed in the Treaty of Versailles. The occupation was met with passive resistance, which was only called off on the 26th September as rampant hyperinflation crippled the German economy.

The end of Germany’s strike in the Ruhr

On the 26th September 1923, German Chancellor Gustav Stresemann ended passive resistance in the Ruhr and resumed the payment of First World War reparations.

League of Nations

The foundation of the League of Nations

On the 10th January 1920, the Treaty of Versailles came into effect. Although it had been signed in June the previous year, the terms weren’t activated until the 10th January – which as well as instigating the punishment of Germany also meant that the League of Nations was officially founded as the Covenant of the League was now in operation.

The Gap in the Bridge cartoon

Weaknesses in the foundation and structure of the League of Nations

This short clip from the BBC’s Curriculum Bites offers a good overview of the inherent weaknesses of the League of Nations.

The League of Nations in the 1920s

This revision podcast is aimed at students studying GCSE and IGCSE History.  It focuses on striking a balance between the successes and failures of the League of Nations in the 1920s, in order to best help students revise for an exam question on this topic.  It opens with advice on how to plan an answer to a ‘how far’ question by assigning a score out of 10 for how successful different events were for the League of Nations.  You might also like to watch this video about answering a question on how successful the League of Nations was in the 1920s.

The podcast goes on to detail different challenges faced by the League of Nations during the 1920s, in order to provide students with adequate evidence to support a balanced answer.  Specific attention is given to the Leagues’s successes in the Upper Silesia Dispute, the Aaland Islands, and Greco-Bulgarian Dispute.  Other successes of the League are given, such as the League’s social policies and the work of the various commissions.

The successes of League are then contrasted with the League’s failures during the same period.  Key examples of failure that are outlined include the Vilna Dispute, the Corfu Crisis, and disarmament.  For more detail on the League’s attempts at disarmament, and advice on how to answer a question about it, check out the exam tips video here.


The League of Nations in the 1920s

Kellogg-Briand Pact

The signing of the Kellogg-Briand Pact

On the 27th August 1928, Germany, France and the United States signed the General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy – otherwise known as the Kellogg-Briand Pact. A total of 62 nations eventually went on to join them in signing the agreement, which promised to never use war as a way to settle conflicts.

How successful were the League of Nations’ attempts at disarmament in the 1920s?

This short video is designed to help GCSE and IGCSE students write a balanced answer to explain how successful the League of Nations’ attempts at disarmament were in the 1920s.  The video shows how a 1-10 scale can be used to give a point ‘score’ to the League’s overall attempts, which can then be translated into words.  It concludes with a skeleton essay structure, which helps to structure a balanced answer.

For a more detailed video on how to answer a question about the broader factors affecting the success of the League of Nations in the 1920s, check out this video and this podcast about the League of Nations in the 1920s.

You can access all my videos at

How successful was the League of Nations in the 1920s?

This video explains the technique to answer a ‘how far’ type question at GCSE/IGCSE.

This particular example focuses on the question ‘how successful was the League of Nations in the 1920s’, but the format can be applied to other questions of this type.  You should check out this podcast about the League of Nations in the 1920s prior to watching this video.

Writing a balanced answer, in which you recognise both sides of the argument, is a simple yet important skill to develop.  I also explain how you can use the ‘Point, Evidence, Explanation’ paragraph format to structure your answer.

For a video focusing specifically on how to assess the success of the League’s attempts at disarmement in the 1920s, check out this post.

You can access all my videos at

Wall Street Black Thursday

A brief explanation of the origins of the Wall Street Crash

Thursday the 24th October 1929, known as Black Thursday, is generally accepted as the first day of the Wall Street Crash. The day saw panic selling of shares on the New York Stock Exchange on an unprecedented scale, with over 12.8 million being sold and the market’s value plummeting by 11%. The market didn’t return to its pre-crash level until 1954.