Revision Diary

Manchuria and Abyssinia


Crises of Manchuria (1931-2) and Abyssinia (1935-6).



These are two EXTREMELY important topics, and you MUST know about them securely and in detail:

1.  Make sure that you know the STORY of Manchuria.

2.  and the results/importance of Manchuria

3.  and the STORY of Abyssinia.

4.  and the results/importance of Abyssinia




Manchuria, 1931


Japan invaded Manchuria - China appealed to the League.  

The League appointed a commission.  

After a year, it said that Japan ought to leave Manchuria - so Japan left the League. 

The League could not agree what to do, so Japan was left in control of Manchuria.  

In 1933, Japan invaded China.



1.   Because of the Great Depression, Japan wanted an empire to get raw materials.

2.   Japan's excuse claimed that the Chinese had sabotaged the Railway, which it ran.

3.   The League's Commission was led by Lord Lytton



Results/importance of Manchuria

1.   This was the beginning of Japanese expansion in the Pacific.

2.   The Manchuria affair showed the weaknesses of the League:

     A country could get its own way if it just ignored the League

     The League was slow (the Lytton Report took almost a year)

     Even the great powers in the League (Japan was on the Council) ignored it.




Abyssinia, 1935


After a border dispute, Mussolini started preparing to invade Abyssinia.

Abyssinia appealed to the League, who set up a Commission, which said Italy should get part of Abyssinia.   Italy ignored it and invaded with great cruelty.  

The League banned weapons sales (which hurt Abyssinia, not Italy)

By this time Italy had conquered Abyssinia, and the League gave up.



1.   The League commission, set up in Feb 1935, only reported in Sept.

2.   Britain and France made a secret agreement (called the Hoare-Laval Pact) to let Italy take Abyssinia.

3.   June 1936: the Abyssinian Emperor Haile Selassie went in person to appeal to the League of Nations but he was ignored.



Results/importance of Abyssinia

1.   Hitler TOOK ADVANTAGE of the Abyssinia crisis to invade the Rhineland in 1936.

2.   After Abyssinia, Britain and France turned to the policy of appeasement.

3.   Abyssinia 'killed' the League.   It showed:

     A strong country could get its own way if it just ignored the League

     The 'moral force' of the League was powerless.

     Even Britain and France were prepared to betray it.

     The League was slow and cumbersome

     The historian AJP Taylor said Abyssinia showed the League to be 'a useless fraud'.



Revision Focus

This is a Paper 1 topic, so concentrate on learning:

1.   WHAT happened

2.   EFFECTS/ Importance



Mini book on Manchuria and Abyssinia - essential


See the BBC Bitesize storyboards on Manchuria and Abyssinia


Online revision sheet  


Essays on Manchuria and Abyssinia