ارتش ایتالیا پیشتر در ۱۸۹۶ به اتیوپی حمله برده بودند و با اینکه صاحب زرهپوشهای قدرتمند و نیروی هوایی کارآمدی بودند اما فرماندهی مناسبی نداشتند و از ارتش مسلح به تیر و کمان اتیوپی شکست خوردند و مجبور به عقبنشینی شدند. این خبر در دنیا صدا کرد، موجب تمسخر ایتالیا شد و به سقوط کریسپی انجامید. اتیوپی با ابتکار بریتانیا و برای جلوگیری از توسعه نفوذ احتمالی ایتالیا در ۱۹۲۵ به عضویت جامعه ملل درآمده بود و از موقعیت باثباتی نیز برخوردار بود.
حادثهٔ اووال و جنگ[ویرایش]
در اکتبر ۱۹۳۵, بنیتو موسولینی، دیکتاتور ایتالیا، ۴۰۰٬۰۰۰ سرباز را برای تصرف حبشه (اتیوپی) به این کشور اعزام کرد. از نوامبر ۱۹۳۵، مارشال پیترو بادوگیلیو فرماندهی این عملیات را بر عهده گرفت و با فرمان بمباران، استفاده اسلحهٔ شیمیایی چون گاز خردل، و مسموم کردن منابع آب، به روستاهای غیرنظامی و تأسیسات بهداشتی حمله کرد. ارتش ایتالیا حبشیهای آدیس آبابا را در مه ۱۹۳۶ شکست داد، و امپراتور اتیوپی هایله ثلاثی مجبور به فرار شد.
این حمله توسط جامعه ملل محکوم شد اما واکنشی به آن اقدام صورت نگرفت و حتی تحریمهای اقتصادی ایتالیا برداشته شد. این امر در کنار حادثه موکدن (حمله ژاپن به چین) بیثمری جامعه ملل برای حفظ امنیت جهانی را به نمایش گذاشت و از عوامل منجر به جنگ جهانی دوم بود.
جامعه تجاوز ایتالیا به حبشه را محکوم کرد و در نوامبر ۱۹۳۵ تحریمهایی اقتصادی را علیه این کشور وضع کرد، ولی این تحریمها غالباً تأثیری نداشتند، چرا که شامل ممنوعیت فروش نفت یا بستن کانال سوئز (که تحت کنترل بریتانیا بود) نمیشدند. به گفتهٔ استنلی بالدوین، نخستوزیر وقت بریتانیا، دلیل نهایی این امر آن بود که هیچکدام از قدرتهای بزرگ در آن زمان توان مقابلهٔ نظامی با ایتالیا را نداشت. در اکتبر ۱۹۳۵, رئیسجمهور آمریکا، فرانکلین دلانو روزولت، با عطف به لوایح بیطرفی که کنگرهٔ آمریکا آنها را بهتازگی تصویب کرده بود، فروش اسلحه و مهمات را به دو طرف ممنوع کرد، و علیه ایتالیا «تحریمهای اخلاقی» ای هم وضع کرد که شامل موارد دیگری نیز میشد. تحریمهای جامعه علیه ایتالیا در ۴ ژوئیه ۱۹۳۶ برداشته شدند، و تا این زمان ایتالیا کنترل غالب مناطق شهری حبشه را در دست گرفته بود.
توافق هوار–لاوال در دسامبر ۱۹۳۵ تلاشی از سوی وزیر خارجهٔ بریتانیا ساموئل هوار و نخستوزیر فرانسه پیر لاوال برای پایان دادن درگیریها در حبشه بود. این توافق پیشنهاد میکرد که حبشه به دو بخش ایتالیایی و حبشی تقسیم شود. موسولینی آماده بود که این توافق را بپذیرد، ولی خبر این توافق به بیرون درز کرد و موجب خشم افکار عمومی در بریتانیا و فرانسه شد. هوار و لاوار مجبور به استعفا شدند.
در ژوئن ۱۹۳۶ هایله ثلاثی در مجمع عمومی جامعه ملل حاضر شد و از جامعه تقاضا کرد از کشورش حمایت کنند. پیش از این سابقه نداشت که یکی از سران ملتها شخصاً در مجمع عمومی سخنرانی کند.
بحران حبشه نشان داد که چگونه اعضاء میتوانند جامعه را برای تحصیل منافع خود تحت نفور خود قرار دهند: یکی از دلایلی تحریمها علیه ایتالیا مؤثر نبود این بود که بریتانیا و فرانسه میترسیدند در صورت فشار بر موسولینی او را به اتحاد با آدولف هیتلر ترغیب کنند.
در طول جنگ حبشه هیتلر بر خلاف فرانسه و بریتانیا نسبت به ایتالیا موضعی دوستانه اتخاذ کرد و تصرف حبشه را در ۲۵ ژوئن ۱۹۳۶ به رسمیت شناخت که این امر موجب نزدیک شدن موسولینی و هیتلر شد.
The Abyssinia Crisis was an international crisis in 1935 originating in what was called the Walwal incident in the then-ongoing conflict between the Kingdom of Italy and the Empire of Ethiopia (then commonly known as "Abyssinia"). The League of Nations ruled against Italy and voted for economic sanctions, but they were never fully applied. Italy ignored the sanctions, quit the League, made special deals with Britain and France and ultimately annexed and occupied Abyssinia after defeating it in the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. The crisis discredited the League and moved Fascist Italy closer to an alliance with Nazi Germany. Both Ethiopia and Italy pursued a policy of provocation against each other and Italy prepared to invade Ethiopia.
The Walwal incident
The Italo–Ethiopian Treaty of 1928 stated that the border between Italian Somaliland and Ethiopia was 21 leagues from and parallel to the Banaadir coast (approximately 118.3 km [73.5 mi]). In 1930, Italy built a fort at the Walwal oasis (also Welwel, Italian: Ual-Ual) in the eastern Ogaden, well beyond the 21 league limit. The fort was in a boundary zone between the nations, which was not well defined; today it is about 130 km (81 mi) inside Ethiopia.
On 29 September 1934, Italy and Abyssinia released a joint statement renouncing any aggression against each other.
On 22 November 1934, a force of 1,000 Ethiopian militia with three fitaurari (Ethiopian military-political commanders) arrived near Walwal and formally asked the Dubats garrison stationed there (comprising about 60 soldiers) to withdraw from the area. The Somali NCO leading the garrison refused to withdraw and alerted Captain Cimmaruta, commander of the garrison of Uarder, 20 kilometres (12 mi) away, to what had happened.
The next day, in the course of surveying the border between British Somaliland and Ethiopia, an Anglo–Ethiopian boundary commission arrived at Walwal. The commission was confronted by a newly arrived Italian force. The British members of the boundary commission protested, but withdrew to avoid an international incident. The Ethiopian members of the boundary commission, however, stayed at Walwal.
From 5–7 December, for reasons which have never been clearly determined, there was a skirmish between the garrison of Somalis, who were in Italian service, and a force of armed Ethiopians. According to the Italians, the Ethiopians attacked the Somalis with rifle and machine-gun fire. According to the Ethiopians, the Italians attacked them, supported by two tanks and three aircraft. In the end, approximately 107 Ethiopians[nb 1] and 50 Italians and Somalis were killed.[nb 2]
Neither side did anything to avoid confrontation; the Ethiopians repeatedly menaced the Italian garrison with the threat of an armed attack, while the Italians sent two planes over the Ethiopian camp. One of them fired a short machine gun burst, which no one on the ground noticed, after the pilot saw Captain Cimmaruta in the midst of the Ethiopians and thought he had been taken prisoner by them.
International response and subsequent actions
On 6 December 1934, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia protested Italian aggression at Walwal. On 8 December, Italy demanded an apology for Ethiopian aggression and, on 11 December, followed up this demand with another for financial and strategic compensation.
On 3 January 1935, Ethiopia appealed to the League of Nations for arbitration of the dispute arising from the Walwal incident. But the league's response was inconclusive. A subsequent analysis by an arbitration committee of the League of Nations absolved both parties of any culpability for what had happened.
Shortly after Ethiopia's initial appeal, Minister of Foreign Affairs Pierre Laval of France and Foreign Secretary Samuel Hoare of the United Kingdom met with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in Rome.
On 7 January 1935, a meeting between Laval and Mussolini resulted in the "Franco–Italian Agreement". This treaty gave Italy parts of French Somaliland (now Djibouti), redefined the official status of Italians in French-held Tunisia, and essentially gave the Italians a free hand in dealing with Ethiopia. In exchange, France hoped for Italian support against Germany.
On 10 February 1935, Mussolini mobilized two divisions. On 23 February, Mussolini began to send large numbers of troops to Eritrea and Italian Somaliland, which were the Italian colonies that bordered Ethiopia to the northeast and southeast, respectively. There was little international protest in response to this build-up.
On 8 March, Ethiopia again requested arbitration and noted Italian military build-up. Three days later Italy and Ethiopia agreed on a neutral zone in the Ogaden. On 17 March, in response to continued Italian build-up, Ethiopia again appealed to the league for help. On 22 March, the Italians yielded to pressure from the League of Nations to submit to arbitration on the dispute arising from the Walwal incident, but continued to mobilize its troops in the region. On 11 May, Ethiopia again protested the ongoing Italian mobilization.
Between 20 and 21 May, the League of Nations held a special session to discuss the crisis in Ethiopia. On 25 May, a league council resolved that it would meet if no fifth arbitrator had been selected by 25 June, or if a settlement was not reached by 25 August. On 19 June, Ethiopia requested neutral observers.
From 23 to 24 June, the United Kingdom tried to quell the crisis, sending Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Anthony Eden to try to broker a peace agreement. The attempt was unsuccessful, and it became clear that Mussolini was intent on conquest. On 25 July, the United Kingdom imposed an embargo on arms sales to both Italy and Ethiopia. Many historians believe that the embargo was a response to Italy's decree that it would view arms sales to Ethiopia as an act of unfriendliness toward Italy while other observers believe that the United Kingdom was protecting her economic interests in East Africa. The United Kingdom also cleared its warships from the Mediterranean, allowing Italy further unhindered access to eastern Africa.
On 26 July, the league confirmed that no fifth member of the arbitration panel had been selected. On 3 August, the League limited arbitration talks to matters other than the sovereignty of Walwal.
On 12 August, Ethiopia pleaded for the arms embargo to be lifted. On 16 August, France and the United Kingdom offered Italy large concessions in Ethiopia to try to avert war, but Italy rejected the offers. On 22 August, Britain reaffirmed its commitment to the arms embargo.
On 4 September, the league met again and exonerated both Italy and Ethiopia of any culpability in the Walwal incident, on the ground that each nation had believed Walwal was within its own territorial borders. On 10 September, Pierre Laval, Anthony Eden, and even Sir Samuel Hoare agreed on limitations to sanctions against Italy.
On 25 September, Ethiopia again asked for neutral observers.
On 27 September, the British Parliament supported the initiative of Konni Zilliacus and unanimously authorized the imposition of sanctions against Italy should it continue its policy towards Ethiopia.
On 28 September, Ethiopia began to mobilize its large, but poorly equipped army.
On November 7, the Irish Free State passed the "League of Nations Bill", placing sanctions on Italy.
The war and occupation
On 3 October 1935, shortly after the league exonerated both parties in the Walwal incident, Italian armed forces from Eritrea invaded Ethiopia without a declaration of war, prompting Ethiopia to declare war on Italy, thus beginning the Second Italo–Abyssinian War.
On 7 October in what would come to be known as the Riddell Incident, the League of Nations declared Italy to be the aggressor, and started the slow process of imposing sanctions on Italy. The sanctions were limited, however. They did not prohibit the provision of several vital materials, such as oil, and were not carried out by all members of the League. The Canadian delegate to the League, Walter Riddell, suggested that the League add steel and oil to the sanctions, which caused the world press to speak of the "Canadian initiative" and of the bold decision taken by the prime minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King in pressing for oil sanctions against Italy. Riddell had acted on his own, and was promptly disallowed by Mackenzie King, who characteristically announced that it was absolutely untrue that he made a decision as he in fact had made no decision about anything, saying he had never heard of this "Canadian initiative" in Geneva. Mackenzie King's opposition to Riddell's "Canadian initiative" was motivated by domestic politics as Mussolini was widely admired in Catholic Quebec, especially by the nationalistic Quebecois intelligentsia, and King's Liberal Party had just won the majority of the seats in Quebec in the 1935 election. King was terrified of the possibility of Canada taking the lead in imposing oil sanctions against Italy would cause the Liberals to lose their seats in Quebec in the next election, hence no more was heard of the "Canadian initiative"..
The United States, generally indifferent to the League of Nations' weak sanctions, increased its exports to Italy, and the United Kingdom and France did not take any serious action against Italy, such as blocking Italian access to the Suez Canal. Even Italy's use of chemical weapons and other actions that violated international norms did little to change the League's passive approach to the situation.
In late December 1935, Hoare of the United Kingdom and Laval of France proposed the secret Hoare-Laval Plan, which would have ended the war but allowed Italy to control large areas of Ethiopia. Mussolini agreed to consider the Hoare-Laval plan to buy time as he was afraid of oil sanctions against Italy, but he had no intention of accepting it. The plan caused an outcry, and heavy public criticism in the United Kingdom and France when the plan was leaked to the media. Hoare and Laval were accused of betraying the Abyssinians, and both resigned. Their plan was dropped, but the perception spread that the United Kingdom and France were not serious about the principles of the league. The war continued, and Mussolini turned to German dictator Adolf Hitler for alliance.
In March 1936, Hitler marched troops into the Rhineland, which had been prohibited by the Treaty of Versailles. The French were now desperate to get Italian support against German aggression directly on their border, so would not take any further action with sanctions. France was prepared to give Abyssinia to Mussolini, so his troops were able to continue their war relatively unchallenged by the rest of Europe.
Haile Selassie was forced into exile on 2 May. All the sanctions that had been put in place by the League were dropped after the Italian capture of the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on the 5th of May 1936. Ethiopia was then merged with the other Italian colonies to become Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana, or AOI).
Ethiopia never officially surrendered, and pleaded for help from foreign nations, such as Haile Selassie's 7 June 1936 address to League of Nations. As a result, there were six nations which did not recognize Italy's occupation in 1937: China, New Zealand, the Soviet Union, the Republic of Spain, Mexico and the United States. Italian control of Ethiopia was never total, due to continued guerrilla activity, which the British would later use to their advantage during World War II. However, by 1940 Italy was in complete control of three-quarters of the country.
The end of the AOI came quickly during World War II. In early 1941, as part of the East African Campaign, Allied forces launched offensive actions against the isolated Italian colony. On 5 May 1941, five years after the Italians had captured his capital, Emperor Haile Selassie entered Addis Ababa.
There were also major impacts on the League of Nations: