What event triggered the crisis?
A dispute at the Wal-Wal oasis between Italian and Abyssinian soldiers
Where was the Wal-Wal oasis?
80 km inside Abyssinia
After the Wal-Wal oasis incident, what did Mussolini do?
- Claimed the Wal-Wal oasis was actually Italian territory
- Demanded an apology
- Began preparing for an invasion
After the Wal-Wal oasis incident and Mussolini’s demands, what did Emperor Haile Salassie do?
Appealed to the League of Nations for help
What did Mussolini do from January 1935 to October 1935?
- Claimed he was negotiating with the League
2. Secretly shipping his VAST army (250,000 men) to Africa
Why did the British and French not initially take the situation seriously?
They were anxious to keep Mussolini onside - they saw him as a potential ally against Hitler
What had been signed between Britain, France and Italy in early 1935?
The Stresa Pact
What were the two key parts of the Stresa Pact?
- A formal statement against German rearmament
2. A commitment to stand united against Germany
During the meeting when the Stresa Pact was agreed, what was NOT mentioned?
The Abyssinia issue
How did public opinion in Britain and France begin to change during 1935?
More of the public were outraged by Italy’s actions
In 1934-35, a ballot (poll) was held by the League of Nations Union in Britain was held. What did it show?
The majority of people supported the use of military force to defend Abyssinia
Why did British politicians adopt a ‘get tough’ attitude by late 1935?
There was an impending general election - the politicians wanted to appear strong
How did the attitude of British politicians change towards the end of 1935?
They adopted a ‘get tough’ attitude
What did foreign secretary, Sir Samuel Hoare, give at the League of Nations assembly?
A grand speech about the need for collective security
Who was the British foreign secretary (foreign minister) at this time?
Sir Samuel Hoare
Did the League actually do anything during the period when the British politicians were ‘getting tough’?
No - just lots of talk and negotiating
What was announced in September 1935?
- A report that said neither side was responsible for the Wal-Wal incident
- A plan that would give Mussolini SOME of Abyssinia
How did Mussolini respond to the League’s September 1935 announcements?
He rejected them
When did Mussolini launch a full scale invasion?
October 1935 (a month after the League’s report)
What happened in October 1935?
Mussolini launched a full invasion of Abyssinia
What was this a clear case of?
A larger, more-powerful nation invading a smaller one
Why was the Abyssinian Crisis different to the Manchurian Crisis?
Manchuria was the other side of the world. There were far more options available to the League to stop this invasion
What was the League’s initial response to the Italian invasion in October 1935?
- It condemned the act
- It imposed SOME economic sanctions
What economic sanctions were imposed on Italy? (4)
The League banned:
- Arms sales
- Imports from Italy
- Exports of rubber, tin and metals to Italy
What did the League delay in banning the export of?
How long did the League delay banning oil for?
Why did the League delay on banning oil?
- They feared America would not follow
2. It feared the League’s members’ interests would be hurt (remember: they were in a Depression too)
What news in Britain made the government concerned about further unemployment?
The government were warned that 30,000 coal miners were going to lose their jobs as a direct result of the League banning coal exports
What key action could Britain and France have taken to hinder Mussolini’s invasion?
Closed the Suez Canal (which Britain and France owned)
Why was the Suez Canal so vital to Italy?
It was their main supply route to Abyssinia (troops, supplies etc.)
Would closing the Suez Canal have had a significant impact?
Yes - it almost certainly could have ended the Abyssinian invasion
Why did Britain and France not close the Suez Canal?
They feared closing it might have started a war with Italy
How many soldiers were there in the Italian invasion force?
What secret deal was being concocted behind the scenes in December 1935?
The Hoare-Laval Pact
Who were Hoare and Laval?
Sir Samuel Hoare - British foreign secretary (foreign minister) Pierre Laval (the French foreign minister)
What was the Hoare-Laval Pact?
A plan to give two thirds (2/3) of Abyssinia to Mussolini in return for him calling off the invasion
What did Pierre Laval tell Sir Samuel Hoare?
That if the British did not agree to the plan, then the French would no longer support sanctions
Why did the Hoare-Laval plan end?
It was leaked to the French press (newspapers)
What happened to both Hoare and Laval once the plan leaked?
They were sacked
Apart from to the careers of Hoare and Laval, what was important consequence of the plan being leaked?
It damaged discussions around sanctions (esp. oil)
What was concluded by the League about oil sanctions in February 1936?
- That if oil exports were banned the Italians would run out of oil in two months even if the Americans carried on selling
What did the Americans do in February 1936?
Disgusted by the League’s dithering, the Americans opted not to support the oil sanctions
Did the Americans keep exporting oil to the Italians in 1936?
Yes - Italian producers actually increased their exports to Italy
Why did the discussion around oil sanctions in February 1936 not really matter that much?
By that point Mussolini had taken over large parts of Abyssinia
What did Hitler do in March 1936?
Remilitarised the Rhineland
Why was the remilitarisation significant?
- The League’s lack of response to this flagrant breach of the ToV further highlighted its weakness
- The French were now definitely not going to support sanctions on Italy (they might want Italian support + it could further hurt the French economy)
When did Italy conquer the Abyssinian capital, Addis Ababa?
When did Mussolini formally annex (take over) Abyssinia?
9 May 1936
What rubbed salt into the League’s wounds?
In November 1936, Mussolini - who Britain and France had hoped to keep onside - signed the Rome-Berlin Axis
What was the Rome-Berlin Axis?
An agreement/pact between Italy and Germany to work together
What do most historians agree about the Abyssinian Crisis?
That it was a disaster for the League - and had serious consequences for world peace
What was a further hammer blow to the League in 1937?
Italy decided to leave the League