Why did the invasion take place?

Why did Mussolini attack Abyssinia? Why did no one stop him? Think about these questions as you read through the historical sources. You can use this worksheet to help you with your study.

Stage 1: Mussolini’s motives

Why did Mussolini attack Abyssinia? Choose what you think are the 3 most important reasons for the invasion of Abyssinia. Explain why you think each reason was important.

You can choose from this list or you can think of your own reasons:

  • To recreate the Roman Empire
  • To get an easy victory
  • To help with economic problems in Italy
  • To have revenge for the Italian defeat in 1896
  • To warn Germany
  • To get hold of Abyssinia’s wealth
  • To make up for not getting enough territory from the Treaty of Versailles in 1919
  • To make himself popular in Italy

What could the League of Nations have done to prevent the invasion? Decide on 3 actions that the League could have taken to help stop Mussolini in Abyssinia. Explain why you think each chosen action would have worked and why they didn’t do it.

You can choose from this list or you can think of your own actions:

  • Act very quickly to calm the situation after the first fight at Wal-Wal
  • Impose oil sanctions
  • Tell Mussolini off in front of the whole world
  • Ask the USA to help
  • Send in the troops to help Abyssinia
  • Close the Suez Canal to stop Italian ships getting from the Mediterranean Sea to East Africa

Give reasons for your answers. Support your ideas with true evidence.




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1 Response to Abyssinia

  1. Gitika says:

    In my opinion Mussolini attacked Abyssinia for some more reasons than his own ambition like showing Italy as a powerful country and helping in the economic situation because as the great depression affected a lot to all countries, having colonies with raw materials and different suplies helped Italy. Another further reason might have been wanting to help his position in Italy so that he would gain approval of the people in Italy.Furthermore, as Mussolini was a dictator he wanted to build the Italian Empire.
    Of course, Abyssinia appealed to the League, and the League couldn’t do much to help and in many aspects it was due to the leading members(france and britain mainly). France was keen in keeping good relations with Italy because in case of an emergency they could ally together, that obviously didn’t result as later Germany and Italy allied. The league did not have its own troops and because of the fact no member countries wanted to send theirs they couldn’t even fight the Italian out. Also as this matter was not solved before and sanctions were not well taken nor applied, the League was seen as weak and still the conflict in Abyssinia was on. Maybe if the League had banned the Suez Canal it would have really helped solving the problem as it was Italy s only way of sending and bringing supplies and moving to Africa, but it was not good for Britain and as Britain decided in much of the things it was obvious this would not happen.

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