Failures During The Intermittent War Period: The Abyssinian Crisis

724 words - 3 pages

The League of Nation’s had several failures during the interwar period, but none as catastrophic as the Abyssinian Crisis, which occurred from 1935 to 1936. The roots of the crisis grew from the first Italo-Ethiopan war, in which Italy was defeated in her attempts to conquer Abyssinia at the Battle of Adowa in 1896. When Italian dictator Benito Mussolini came into power, he made it his mission to avenge that defeat and to claim the ample mineral resources and fertile land of Abyssinia for himself. Mussolini was also looking for an outlet for the surplus Italian population, which could easily be spread out into Abyssinia. By doing this, he was intent on creating for himself a “new Roman Empire”. After the Battle of Walwal, Mussolini’s first attempt to conquer Abyssinia, Abyssinia asked the League of Nation’s to arbitrate the dispute in January 1935. The League of Nations responded to Emperor Haile Selassie’s appeal for intervention to put an end to Italian aggression by threatening to place sanctions on the sale of arms and artillery to either side involved in the conflict. Italy disregarded this threat, and proceeded to continue with its plans to invade Abyssinia without formally declaring war. In November of 1935, the League finally banned the sale of weapons and placed sanctions on rubber and metal, as well as banning all imports and exports to and from Italy. The sanctions proved ineffective, and in May 1936, Italy forged on ahead in their conquest of Abyssinia without much complication due to the sanctions. Soon after Italy’s successful conquest of Addis Ababa, the League abandoned the sanctions. This abandonment proved that Mussolini had successfully contravened the League of Nation’s and several treaties, including the Italo-Abyssinian Treaty of Friendship that was drawn up and signed in 1928. Later in May 1936, the Italian conquest of Abyssinia was complete, and Italy merged Abyssinia with surrounding Italian territories, Eritrea and Somaliland, to create Italian East Africa.
The outcome of the Abyssinian Crisis and the League of Nation’s failure to handle it effectively was far more detrimental to world peace than...

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