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THE ABYSSINIAN CRISIS

NOTES FROM ELLON ACADEMY

   

These notes were published on the web 2005 to 2009.  They went down in 2009 and are reproduced here:

 

 
December 1934

Wal Wal incident

bulletDispute between Abyssinia and Italy over watering holes.
bulletsome Italian soldiers killed
bulletItaly demanded apology from Abyssinia
bulletAbyssinia referred issue to the League
bulletMussolini prepares for war
bulletMemo from Mussolini to General Badoglio "I decide on this war, the object of which is nothing more or less than the complete destruction of the Abyssinian army and the total conquest of Abyssinia".

January 1935

bulletFrance gave Italy part of French Somaliland which bordered Abyssinia as well as French shares in the Abyssinian railway.
bulletFrance anxious to keep Italy in the Stresa Front against Germany.

July 1935

bulletResults of Peace Ballot in Britain announced. Showed that British public opinion strongly supported the League and most supported the use of economic sanctions against aggressors.
bulletDilemma for the British Government was either to back the League against Italy which would destroy the Stresa Front or turn a blind eye to Italian aggression and seal the League's demise.

October 1935

bulletItaly invaded Abyssinia - captured Adowa.
bulletLeague announced economic sanctions against Italy.

December 1935

Hoare-Laval Pact

bulletItaly to get the northern province of Tigre and also the Ogaden area of Abyssinia
bulletItaly to get economic rights in southern Abyssinia
bulletSecret (Hoare-Laval) Pact revealed in press
bulletOutrage in Britain
bulletLeague had been by-passed
bulletBritish. Public more willing to use and put faith in the League than Government were.
bulletHoare forced to resign.
bulletLeague fatally damaged.

May 1936

bulletItaly had defeated Abyssinia which was incorporated into the Italian Empire

June 1936

bulletBritain ended economic sanctions against Italy

Sanctions failed because:

bulletCoal and oil were not banned
bulletMussolini said oil sanctions would have stopped the Italian war effort.
bulletItaly had neither of these vital war materials
bulletBritain and France allowed Italy to use the Suez Canal to ship war materials to Abyssinia
bulletSeveral countries did not comply with sanctions (Russia, Austria )

Abyssinia was disastrous for Britain and France because:

bulletIt destroyed the Stresa Front and drew Germany and Italy closer together.
bulletDisastrous for the League as collective security and sanctions had been totally discredited. Benefited Germany as Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland in March 1936 while the world's attention was focused on Italy.