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The Abyssinian Crisis
Transcript of The Abyssinian Crisis
Abyssinia: Background and Statistics
Map of Italian Invasion of Abyssinia
Italy's role in the Abyssinian Crisis
Benito Mussolini lead the invasion of Abyssinia
Political Cartoon about the Abyssinian Crisis
Timeline of Events
Eritrea (where it would be)
Abyssinia (currently known as Ethiopia)
Italian dictator Mussolini planned for detailed annexation of Abyssinia in order to achieve domestic unity
took place from 1935 till 1936
was the final blow to the League of Nations
Between 1934-35, Italians and Ethiopians clash at Walwal.
While Italians demands apology for the incident, Abyssinians protest their unwarranted aggression
Appeal to the League
Emperor Haile Selassie appeals to the League to intervene an put an end to Italian aggression
July of 1935, League threatens sanctions on the sale of arms to either side involved in the conflict.
October 1935, Italy disregards the League without formally declaring war and proceeds to invade Abyssinia
First Italo-Ethiopian War
left bitter relations between Italians and Ethiopians
Fort of Walwal
Italians under dictator Mussolini build a fort at Walwal, an oasis in the Ogaden
They begin their gradual encroachment of Ethiopian territory
November 1935, sanctions imposed on Italy. Of all the sanctions imposed, oil and steel are not included. Italy continues its invasions
December- the pact offered Mussolini two thirds of Abyssinia in order to end the war; it was ultimately rejected and never put into effect
By June 1st of 1936, Italy succeeds in "reclaiming" Abyssinia as part of its territory, renaming the new state (made of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Italian Somaliland) Africa Orientale Italiana
The League's Last Words
Although the League condemns the actions of the Italians, there is nothing that can be done. All sanctions are dropped
Italy conquered Abyssinia
The League of Nations failed
Italy disobeyed the League
Britain and France made a secret pact to give away Abyssinia to Italy
Britain's Role in the Abyssinian Crisis
The Major Players
Abyssinia was territory including both Ethiopia and Eritrea
Faced the aggression of the Italians and appealed to the League of Nations for help
Dictatorship under Benito Mussolini
Felt they were wronged by Ethiopia in the First Italo-Ethiopian war
sought to claim Abyssinian territory in addition to land they already possessed
concerned with two naval bases in the reach of Mussolini
Forced to keep the Suez Canal open for trade, allowing Italy to keep sending supplies to its armed forces
came up with the Hoare-Laval Plan
France worked in tandem with the Britain in creating the Hoare-Laval Plan so as to end the conflict as soon as possible
League of Nations
The League's future was dependent on its actions
in allowing Italy to continue unchecked, the League ensured its demise
Towards the end, the League came to be a mere symbol of post-war ideals. It had no purpose
Effects on International Relations
I would like to make a few observations upon events of the last twelve months and their effect upon the League of Nations and the policy of collective security to which we have given so whole-hearted support with such disappointing results. The policy of collective security seemed to us, and I think it seemed to the people of the country as a whole, an attractive alternative to the old system of alliances and balance of power which nevertheless was unsuccessful in preventing the greatest war in history.
The circumstances in which the dispute between Italy and Abyssinian began appeared to offer an opportunity for the exercise of that policy which could hardly be more favorable for its success. The aggression was patent and flagrant, and there was hardly any country to which it appeared that a policy of sanctions could be exercised with a greater chance of success than upon Italy.
There is no use for us to shut our eyes to realities ... That policy has been tried out and it has failed to prevent war, failed to stop war, failed to save the victim of the aggression. I am not blaming anyone for the failure. I merely record it now because I think it is time that we reviewed the history of these events and sought to draw what lessons and conclusions we can from those events.
There is no reason why, because the policy of collective security in the circumstances in which it was tried has failed, we should therefore abandon the idea of the League and give up the ideals for which the League stands. But if we have retained any vestige of common sense, surely we must admit that we have tried to impose upon the League a task which it was beyond its powers to fulfil.
Surely it is time that the nations who compose the League should review the situation and if should decide so to limit the functions of the League in future that they may accord with its real powers. If that policy were to be pursued and were to be courageously carried out, I believe that it might go far to restore the prestige of the League and the moral influence which it ought to exert in the world. But if the League be, limited in that sort of way it must be admitted that it could no longer be relied upon by itself to secure the peace of the world.
From a speech by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to the 1900 Club (10 June 1936), reported in The Times (11 June 1936)
The 1900 Club is a very prestigious London Club for wealthy and influential people; after the speech, they cheered Chamberlain 'to the echo'.
"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)
popular belief that collective security was no longer the route to go
Hitler sent German troops into the Rhineland while Britain and France were preoccupied with the crisis
Only Britain and France remain in the League
Mussolini signed the Rome-Berlin Axis with Hitler
"It is us today. It will be you tomorrow."
-Emperor Haile Selassie