The League of Nations was set up after the Treaty of Versailles. The aim of the organization was for all countries to work together to solve problems by discussion rather than by war. It consisted of 3 parts, the Assembly, the Council, and the Secretariat. The Covenant was the set of rules for the League of Nations, which member countries had to obey. Imposing sanctions (preventing or stopping trade) was how the League punished countries that broke the Covenant. Despite the fact that the League was an excellent and noble idea, it was fatally flawed from the onset. .
Firstly, the League's covenant provided for potentially effective economic and military sanctions against aggressors, but it allowed each member to decide whether or not aggression had been committed. Only if they agreed would sanctions be applied. However, even if the Covenant's articles had mandated sanctions, it is unlikely that many states would have been inclined to apply them. .
The lack of member participation aided the League's ultimate demise. Members preferred to look after their own interests. Britain and France were often unwilling to get involved in League affairs, preferring to make sure their national interest was defended. Member states were unwilling to provide soldiers, and they were not prepared to drop their own interests to uphold collective security. Thus, the League had no armed forces. The League's only weapon was sanctions. Therefore, it was unable to stop aggression by major powers. For instance, Japan and Italy were able to get away with invasions of other countries. This made the League appear powerless, and it allowed Germany to consider breaking the Treaty of Versailles. .
The nonparticipation of the United States extinguished any remaining chances of success for the League of Nations. This absence was caused by Wilson's inability to compromise with the Senate, coupled with a widespread isolationist sentiment among many Americans.