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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• 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)
• 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
• There was great anger in Britain; Hoare (the
foreign minister) made a strong speech
supporting sanctions and collective security.
• 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.
• 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.
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.
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.