Failure of the League The crisis over Abyssinia 1935 - 37 By Mr Osbornewww.SchoolHistory.co.uk
Background to events • Abyssinia : An independent country ruled by Haile Selassie, the only independent black country in Africa. In 1896 its army had defeated an Italian invasion. • Mussolini : Fascist dictator of Italy, was determined to build an Empire. He also wanted revenge for defeat of 1896.
Timeline of Events • December 1934 - Italian troops provoke a clash at Wal Wal • October 1935 - Italian invasion begins • December 1935 - Britain and France produce Hoare-Laval Plan. Large parts of Abyssinia to be given to Italy in return for Italian withdrawal. Public outcry- plan abandoned • May 1936 Italian conquest complete
The League: actions and results • Dec 1934 offers arbitration • Rejected by Italy • Jan-Feb 1935 debates its response • no further action • May-Sept sets up a five power commission • Abyssinia rejects proposals • Oct 1935 Italy condemned limited economic sanctions imposed
The League: actions and results • March 1936 - Oil embargo threatened • No impact Italy complete conquest. Hitler noted weakness of the League and remilitarize the Rhineland (March 1936) • June 1936 - Haile Selassie addressed Assembly of League calling for help • No additional action by League
The League: actions and results • July 1936 - sanctions against Italy abandoned • Italy - Kept Abyssinia • Became allied with Germany • Left the Stresa Front • Left the League (1937)
Why did the League Fail? • Britain and France were unwilling to take a lead they feared Italian action against their interests in the area • Also wanted to keep Mussolini in the Stresa Front to contain the threat posed by Hitler. • The Hoare-Laval Plan discredited and weakened the League
Long Term Results • Countries lost faith in the League • Countries started to form secret alliances • Countries started to rearm.
Aims of the Treaty of Versailles Guilt - find some one to blame Armed forces to be dealt with Reparations - who has to pay German territories - what to do LEague of Nations to be formed
German reaction to Treaty of Versailles Unrepresented Not allowed to join League of Nations Forced to accept terms - diktat Angry with armed forces reductions Injustice - War guilt, loss of land etc Reparations - set to high
Why the L of N failed French and British self interest Absent powers - USA Ineffective sanctions Lack of an armed force Unfair treaty Reaching decisions too slowly European club, everyone had to agree
The steps to war 1936 - 39 Civil War in Spain Re-occupation of the Rhineland Anschluss with Austria Sudetenland crisis Hitler takes over rest of Czechoslovakia Italy and Germany form pact of Steal Nazi-Soviet Pact Germany invades Poland