10. Abyssinia Crisis:

Like the Japanese in 1931, Italy had invaded Abyssinia without any declarations of war in 1935. Italy had invaded Abyssinia because they were unsatisfied with their reward after WWI. Due to the Great Depression all over the world, Mussolini wanted to distract his people with his overseas successes. Since Hitler was a looming threat, France and Britain had wanted to remain allies with Italy in order to gather forces against Hitler. Although France and Britain had wanted to remain allies with Italy, they had made an alliance in secret which resulted in the Hoare-Laval pact. This pact resulted in giving Italy most of Abyssinia for free, but a publicity spill of this secret pact stopped the pact from occurring. Abyssinia responded to this by appealing to the League of Nations as well as appealing to the press to highlight this issue. The League of Nations responded by placing economic sanction of Italy restricting ships to carry arms or goods away from Italy, but the League of Nations did not forbid the transportation of oil. This resulted in the League of Nations credibility being degraded as well as encouraging Hitler to rearm as he saw that the League of Nations was powerless besides the fact of economic sanction. 

National security:
France made Franco-Italian Agreement to prevent Germany aggression

Both France and Britain made an appeasement with Italy to stop the invasion of Ethiopia

Italy Invade Ethiopia to gain more land

Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia

During the interwar period there was a political crisis originating in the conflict between Italy and the Empire of Ethiopia. Its effects were the shatter of credibility of the League of Nations and to encourage Italy to ally with Nazi Germany. Both Italy and Ethiopia were members of the League of Nations, and rules in the League have forbidding members form invading each other.

In 1930, Italy rearms its army on the boarder of Walwal. The Italian did this in order to advance into Ethiopian territory. After the battle at the Walwal border on 5 December 1934, Ethiopia appealed to the League of Nations, requesting for help, but the League barely did anything in response. Shortly after Ethiopia appealed to the League of Nations, Prime Minister Pierre Laval of France met with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in Rome, resulting in the Franco–Italian Agreement on 7 January 1935. This treaty states that Italy would give parts of French Somaliland, in exchange for this, France hoped for Italia support against German attack.

On 3 October 1935, after the League barely gives a response to the Walwal incident, Italy invaded Ethiopia, forcing Ethiopia to declare war. The League then responded by condemning the invasion and imposing economic sanction on Italy. However, the sanction did not cut off the oil trade with Italy, which would have stopped the invasion right away. Also Great Britain and France did not take serious action toward Italy (such as blocking Italian access to the Suez Canal)

In December 1935, Foreign Secretary Samuel Hoare of Britain and Laval of France made a secret plan call the Hoare-Laval plan which could end the war but Italy would take control of large areas of Ethiopia. Mussolini agreed to the plan, however, the plan was leak to the media and creates protest among Britain and France. Hoare and Laval both resigned due to the betraying of Abyssinians. Therefore, the plan was dropped, the war continued with Italy and Ethiopia. Leading Mussolini turn to German for alliance. Also now many nations believe that Britain and France were not serious about the League. Therefore, many nations begin to lost faith in the League; Nations started rearm their military and form secret alliances. 

Copyright ©2009 by Ben Pi, Tony Fu, Amere Huang, Jeff Fong, Edwin Li, Irena Liu SS 20IB