Abyssinia 1935;

Later on in 1935 Italy invaded the African country of Abyssinia in order to add to the Italian Empire.
If Italy was to send supplies to its forces in Abyssinia they would need to go through the Suez Canal. The Suez Canal was controlled by Britain and France, which meant that Britain and France could easily restrict Italian supplies to Abyssinia.
The League of Nations imposed economic sanctions on Italy in hope that it would persuade Italy to end the war, however these sanctions proved useless as Italy’s oil supplies were never cut off.
Britain and France could have stopped Italy by cutting off their supplies with a naval blockade across the Suez Canal, but they did not do this.
Foreign Ministers of Britain and France, Hoare and Laval, secretly met in Paris and dreamed up a plan called the Hoare-Laval Pact, to give Italy most of Abyssinia. But when the pact was accidentally leaked to the press there was such a public outcry that the pact was dropped. Britain and France desperately wanted to keep Mussolini on their side, as they feared the consequences if he teamed up with Hitler.

23/04 Consequences;

Abyssinia was a complete disaster for peace in several ways -
• Italy got away with its aggression, this encouraged other countries to be aggressive.
• Mussolini was annoyed with the League of Nations and moved back to friendship with Hitler.
• Virtually all countries now completely lost faith in the League of Nations as an effective peace keeper.

Rhineland - 1936 Hitler’s Gamble;

In early 1936 Hitler decided to reoccupy (i.e. send in forces) the Rhineland. This was clever timing because the world’s attention was still focused on Abyssinia. By reoccupying the Rhineland Hitler would be breaking both the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact. Reoccupying the Rhineland was a big gamble by Hitler because if the French army were to
Resist the German Army would be too weak to fight back. (Germany lacked the armed forces to resist a French attack). Hitler gambled however, that France and Britain would not want to risk a war - he was right. Further aggression by Hitler was not encouraged.

The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939;

In 1936 civil war broke out in Spain between the Republicans and the Nationalists. Other countries signed a non-intervention agreement saying they would not get involved. This soon changed.

Nationalists Vs Republicans
Supported by Hitler & supported by Russia
Mussolini who sent troops who sent aid &
and arms. Weapons.

What was Britain and France’s response to the war?
Britain and France stayed out of it.
Hitler and Mussolini got involved in Spain for two main reasons;
• they were anti-communist & Russia got involved. Russia were communists who were supporting the Republicans.
• it was a good opportunity to try out new tactics without being in Germany, and try out new weapons
The Spanish Civil War showed Hitler once again, that Britain and France did not want to get involved in conflict, but it also showed that another country might be prepared to oppose Hitler (Russia).


Guernica was a town in Spain. In 1937 Germany bombers completely destroyed it. The Germans said it was a mistake - that they were aiming for a bridge but missed. In reality it was a deliberate experiment to see how effective bombing was.

The bad guys getting together;

In 1936 Germany and Italy made an anti-communist agreement (axis).
In 1937 this pact was also joined by Japan.
Last modified: Thursday, 29 December 2011, 9:02 PM