What was the significance of the Abyssinian Crisis in 1935?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one of the most significant elements of the Abyssinia Crisis of the early and mid 1930s was to foster the dismantling of Wilson's Post World War I vision of the world and usher in a new conception of international aggression.  The idea that both Italy and the Ethiopians were willing participants in the League of Nations and the post- World War I framework and would end up being at odds with one another despite such harmony was quite telling.  At a time when the rise of the dictator in 1930s began to raise open questions of how the world was constructed under the League of Nations, the Abyssinia Crisis was one of the first instances where there was a legitimate sense of question about this vision and how the fragile peace constructed after the First World War was not sustainable.  With Hitler's rise in Germany in part due to his constant railing against the world that was constructed by the Treaty of Versailles, the clash between Ethiopia and Italy, members that were in favor of the configuration of the Versailles world, helped to bring credence to Hitler's point that the treaty needed to be scrapped in favor of a vision that enabled nations to form alliances and act in the name of national identity.  This resonated with Italy, who, after the Abyssinia Crisis, began the process of aligning themselves with Germany in a set up that helped to establish the Second World War.


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