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Abyssinia. •   Because of the Great Depression, Italy wanted to build an empire to secure raw materials.    •   Mussolini was a fascist, and wanted to revive the glories of Rome    •   France and Britain needed Mussolini’s support against Hitler (Stresa Pact 1935).

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Abyssinia l.jpg

Abyssinia

•   Because of the Great Depression, Italy wanted to

build an empire to secure raw materials.   

•   Mussolini was a fascist, and wanted to revive the

glories of Rome   

•   France and Britain needed Mussolini’s support

against Hitler (Stresa Pact 1935)



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Abyssinia

•   The border between Abyssinia and Italian

Somaliland was uncertain and disputed - in Dec

1934 there was a small skirmish at Wal-Wal.

•   Mussolini demanded an apology and threatened

to invade.

•   There was great anger in Britain; Hoare (the

foreign minister) made a strong speech

supporting sanctions and collective security.


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Abyssinia

•   Feb 1935: The League set up a commission,

which reported in Sept.  It suggested giving part

of Abyssinia to Italy.

•   Oct 1935: Mussolini rejected the plan and

invaded Abyssinia.   He used tanks and flame-

throwers and attacked red Cross hospitals.

•   The League banned weapons sales, and put

sanctions on rubber and metal (this hurt

Abyssinia more than Italy).  

•   It did NOT close the Suez Canal or ban oil sales,

which would have stopped the Italian invasion.


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Abyssinia

•   Dec 1935: Hoare-Laval Pact, a secret plan by

Britain and France to give Abyssinia to Italy.  

•   Britain and France asked that sanctions be lifted

- only Abyssinia voted against.

•   March 1936: Hitler marched into the Rhineland;

everyone forgot about Abyssinia.

•   May 1936: Mussolini conquered Abyssinia.

•   June 1936: Haile Selassie went to the League to

ask it to reconsider its 'terrible precedent' of

giving way to force.   He was ignored.


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Abyssinia

A SPECTACULAR failure:

1. The Fascists continued to expand:

•     Mussolini kept Abyssinia

• Hitler began to expand in Europe.

• Fascists took power in Spain

• Britain and France abandoned the League as a way

of keeping the peace - started to appease Hitler.


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Abyssinia

A SPECTACULAR failure:

2.  The League was ‘a useless fraud’ (AJP Taylor):

•     It was slow (the Report took 8 months).

•     A country could get its own way if it ignored it.

•     ‘Collective security' was useless against big

countries - especially during the Great Depression.

•     Even the great powers within the League were

happy to ignore it (Japan was on the Council).

•     Even Britain and France would betray the League.

•     Nine countries left 1936-1939.