Abyssinia

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Britain and Appeasement 1919-1940

Explain why the British Government opposed the invasion of Abyssinia in 1935

Following the Italian invasion of Abyssinia in 1935, one of the few remaining countries in Africa outside of European control, Italy clearly breached the international policy of war avoidance by invading Abyssinia for Italy's own gains following incidences along the Abyssinian and Italian Somali-land border. The British government was forced to balance its developing relations with Italy and its loyalty to the League of Nations, its people and agreements made during the Stresa Front in 1935 and subsequently condemned Mussolini's actions.

The main reason for British opposition to the Italian invasion was Her loyalty to the League of Nations. The Peace Ballot taken in 1934 ,but not declared until June 1935, demonstrated clearly that the British Public were in favour of Supporting the League of Nations with 95% of the vote and the majority in favour of economic and military actions against aggressor states, such as Italy. The Government could not go against public opinion so obviously even if it meant damaging the improving relations with the Italian President Mussolini, following the Stresa Front in April 1935.
In October, Britain along with the League imposed economic sanctions on Italy banning all imports and most exports. This agreement with League Policy was necessary in order to maintain the League's authority and therefore Britain's security if Britain was to be similarly threatened.

The losses of the First World War, influenced British opinion and government's ideals. The Governments where anxious to avoid conflict and support measures to protect weaker countries from invasion. The General Election in 1935 meant that both Labour and the National Government promised a foreign policy of 'collective security', popular with the voters. The National Government, who won the election, were then committed to follow through with their promises

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