The League in Abyssinia
By 1935, most countries did not think that the League could keep the peace. When Hitler began to break the Treaty of Versailles in the 1930s, the League was powerless to stop him. The League failed, and the only way to stop Hitler was a Second World War.
Mussolini got ready to invade Abyssinia (Ethiopia). He wanted war and glory. Abyssinia asked the League to help.
What the League did:
The League talked to Mussolini – but he used the time to send an army to Africa. The League suggested a plan to give part of Abyssinia to Italy.
Mussolini ignored the League, and invaded Abyssinia. The League banned weapons sales, and put sanctions on rubber and metal. The Abyssinian Emperor Haile Selassie went to the League to appeal for help, but it did nothing else – in fact Britain and France secretly agreed to give Abyssinia to Italy (the Hoare-Laval Pact).Italy conquered Abyssinia. The League had failed.
This cartoon of 1935 in the British humorous/political magazine Punch shows international politics like a stage musical. Britain and France sing to Mussolini:
‘We don’t want you to fight,
but by jingo if you do,
We will probably issue a joint memorandum,
Suggesting a mild disapproval of you.’
The crisis was fatal to the League. Nobody took it seriously again. They got ready for the Second World War. Written by the historian JR Western (1971)
The League died in 1935. One day it was a powerful body imposing sanctions, the next day it was a useless fraud, everybody running away from it as quickly as possible. Hitler watched. Written by the historian AJP Taylor (1966)
Manchuria demonstrated that the League was toothless. However, the blow to the League was not a mortal one and the decisive test came two years later in the Abyssinian crisis... The...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document