The Abyssinian Crisis

- The causes of and the League’s response to the Italian invasion of Abyssinia

CAUSE:

In December 1934, there was a dispute between Italian and Abyssinian soldiers on the border between Abyssinia and Italian Somaliland.

As a result, Mussolini demanded for an apology from the Abyssinian Emperor who took the dispute to the League.

While the League discussed the crisis, Mussolini planned a full-scale invasion for October 1935 using tanks, airplanes and poison gas.

RESPONSE:

The League immediately condomned Italy as the aggressor and began to impose economic sanctions and banned the sale of weapons to Italy.

The League failed to solve the crisis as they did not ban supplies of oil, coal, rubber and iron as they knew that non-members would continue to sell these to Italy.

Britain also feared that if they closed the Suez Canal, the Italian Army's supply route to Abyssinia, their Navy would be attacked by Italian forces.

British and French foreign ministers met in secret and agreed to divide Abyssinia in half, giving Mussolini the richer half. However, after Mussolini accepted, their plan was leaked to the British Press before it was put to the Abyssinian emperor, causing uproar among the British Public resulting in the foreign ministers, Hoare (GB) and Laval (FR) resigning.

The League tried to introduce tougher sanctions on Italy after the Hoare-Laval pact had failed, but before they were put in place, Italy had conquered Abyssinia.