The Invasion of Abyssinia

Italy was ruled by Mussolini's Fascists

1. Italy was under control of Benito Mussolini and his Fascist Party.

2. Mussolini had been made Prime Minister in 1922 after threatening to take power by marching on Rome. He used his new position to change the voting rules, and in the 1924 election the Fascists swept to power.

3. From 1925, he began to establish a dictatorship in Italy.

4. Opposition political parties were banned. He used his harsh secret police against opponents.

In the early 1930s, Mussolini was on the side of France and Britain. He joined them at the Stresa Conference in 1935 to stand against a possible German invasion of Austria.

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Mussolini Invaded Abyssinia for 3 Reasons

  • Italy had been defeated by Abyssinia in 1896 and the Italians wanted revenge.
  • Success would divert people's attention from the Depression and boost Mussolini's popularity.
  • Mussolini dreamed of making Italy a great empire again, and had seen Japan succeed in Manchuria in 1931.

1. In October 1935, Mussolini sent troops with heavy artillery and tanks to invade Abyssinia.

2. The Abyssinian leader appealed directly to the League of Nations.

3. The LoN imposed economic sanctions, but delayed banning oil exports in case the USA didn't support them.

4. Britain and France didn't close the Suez Canal to Italian ships - so supplies got through despite the sanctions.

5. By May 1936, Italy had conquered all of Abyssinia.

Mussolini had seen Japan get away with its Manchurian invasion despite the LoNs' threats. This gave him more confidence to attack Abyssinia.

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The League of Nations appeared Ineffective

1. Members of the League didn't want to go to war with Italy. Hitler was becoming powerful, and Britain and France wanted to save their resources.

2. Britain and France made a secret agreement (the Hoare-Laval Pact) to give Abyssinia to Mussolini. When the news got out, there was a public outrage.

3. Meanwhile, Italy became more confident, - and eventually started making pacts with the fascist leader of Germany, Adolf Hitler.

4. The League's reputation was ruined. Members were supposed to unite together against aggressors, but they didn't want to. The Covenant had been ignored, and the League was falling apart.

The 2 secret agreements were exactly the kind of secret agreements that the LoN wanted to avoid. They undermined its core principle of all countries working together.

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