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

Background

   The Nationalist government of China led by Chiang Kai-shek was weak, corrupt and busy fighting the Communists.

   Because of the Great Depression, Japan wanted to build an empire to secure supplies of raw materials.

   The Japanese government was controlled by the army

   China ruled Manchuria, but the Japanese army ran the railway there.

Meat

   Sept 1931: Japan claimed the Chinese had sabotaged the railway.  

   They invaded Manchuria and set up the 'independent' (i.e. Japanese-controlled) state of Manchukuo under the former Emperor of China, Henry P'ui.   In 1932 they bombed Shanghai.

   China appealed to the League.

   Dec 1931: the League appointed a commission led by Lord Lytton to investigate.   He did not arrive in Manchuria until April 1932 and did not report until October.

   Oct 1932: Lytton's report stated that Japan was the aggressor and should leave, but that Manchuria should be independent.

   24 Feb 1933: The Assembly voted that Japan return Manchuria (Japan walked out of the meeting)

End

   The League could not agree economic sanctions or arms sales ban.

   Japan stayed in Manchuria.  

   In 1933 Japan resigned from the League, and invaded and conquered Jehol (next to Manchuria).

  

 

  

Results/importance of Manchuria

1.   The Japanese got everything they wanted by ignoring the League - they kept Manchuria.

2.   This was the beginning of Japanese expansion in the Pacific.   In 1933 they invaded and conquered Jehol (next to Manchuria) and in 1937 they invaded China.

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

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

     The 'moral force' of the League's principle of 'collective security' was powerless where national interests were involved - especially during the Great Depression.

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

     Even the great powers within the League (Japan was on the Council) were prepared to ignore it.

  

  

  

Abyssinia

Background

   The government of Abyssinia led by Haile Selassie was Christian, but Abyssinia was very poor.

   Because of the Great Depression, Italy wanted to build an empire to secure supplies of raw materials.

   Mussolini was a fascist, and wanted to revive the glories of Rome

   Mussolini signed the Stresa Pact (1935) with France and Britain, who needed his support against Hitler

   The border between Abyssinia and Italian Somaliland was uncertain and disputed - in Dec 1934 there was a small skirmish at Wal-Wal.

Meat

   Mussolini demanded an apology and prepared to invade

   There was great anger in Britain, and Hoare made a strong speech supporting sanctions and collective security.

   Feb 1935: The League set up a commission, which reported Sept.  It did not blame Abyssinia for the Wal-Wal incident, but suggested giving part of Abyssinia to Italy.

   Oct 1935: Mussolini rejected the plan and invaded Abyssinia.   He used tanks and flame-throwers and attacked red Cross hospitals.

   The League banned weapons sales, and put sanctions on rubber and metal (though this hurt Abyssinia more than Italy).   It did NOT close the Suez Canal or ban oil sales, which would have stopped the Italian invasion.  

   Dec 1935: news leaked out of the Hoare-Laval Pact, a secret plan by Britain and France to give most of Abyssinia to Italy.

   Britain and France asked that sanctions be lifted, and only Abyssinia voted against lifting them.

End

   Mar 1936: Hitler marched into the Rhineland - everyone forgot about Abyssinia

   May 1936: Mussolini completed his conquest of Abyssinia.

   June 1936: Haile Selassie went in person to appeal to the League of Nations to ask the League to reconsider its 'terrible precedent' of giving way to force.   He was ignored.

  

  

  

Results/importance of Abyssinia

1.   Mussolini got everything he wanted by ignoring the League - he conquered Abyssinia. 

2.   This was the beginning of fascist expansion in the west.   In Nov 1936: Axis Treaty between Mussolini and Hitler/ Hitler and Mussolini supported the fascists in the Spanish Civil War etc.

3.   Hitler TOOK ADVANTAGE of the Abyssinia crisis to invade the Rhineland in March 1936 - France could not do anything.

4.   After Abyssinia, Britain and France abandoned the League as a way to keep the peace, and turned instead to the policy of appeasement.

4.   The Abyssinia affair is sometimes said to have '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's principle of 'collective security' was powerless where national interests were involved - especially during the Great Depression.

     Even the greatest powers within the League (Italy was on the Council) were prepared to ignore it.

     Even Britain and France were prepared to betray it.

     The League was slow and cumbersome (the Commission Report took 8 months, and a further 5 months to decide whether to impose oil sanctions).   Mussolini had taken advantage of this slowness, by conquering Abyssinia while the League was investigating - it made the league look weak and foolish.

     9 countries left the League after 1936.  

     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

  

Links

e-book on Manchuria and Abyssinia - essential

 

See the BBC Bitesize storyboards on Manchuria and Abyssinia

  

Online revision sheet  

  

  

Essays on Manchuria and Abyssinia

  

  

Check your learning:

Do the Self-test on the  League of Nations.