Why did Italy want Abyssinia?
- revenge for 1896 (Italy attempted to invade, but was defeated by poorly-equipped tribesmen)
- Abyssinia offered fertile land and minerals
- national pride - wanted an empire
- distraction from the Depression
- wanted to be self-sufficient
Basically, it fitted in with all the fascist ideals. Mussolini wanted Italy to be a self-sufficient country, and Abyssinia seemed like the best place to start for an empire.
How did they get Abyssinia?
Dec 1934 Wal-Wal Incident. There was a clash of troops at the Wal-Wal Oasis in
Abyssinia. Mussolini claimed that it was in Italian territory (it wasn't) and
demanded an apology.
The emperor (Hailie Selassie) appealed to the League of Nations.
Sept 1935 League finally reports back, claiming that neither side is to blame. They
offered Mussolini some of Abyssinia if he would withdraw, but he refused.
Oct 1935 Mussolini declares war. Troops make rapid progress.
What did the League do?
League imposed economic sanctions on Italy:
- No arms, rubber or metal could be sold to Italy
- No loans could be made to Italy
- Can't buy anything from Italy
BUT: They did not impose economic sanctions on oil or petrol, which may well have stopped Mussolini. They did not close the Suez Canal, which would have stopped him, because they did not want to upset Mussolini.