3 October 1935
In 1935, the League of Nations was faced with another crucial test. Benito Mussolini, the Fascist leader of Italy, had adopted Adolf Hitler's plans to expand German territories by acquiring all territories it considered German. Mussolini followed this policy when he invaded Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) the African country situated on the horn of Africa. Mussolini claimed that his policies of expansion were not different from that of other colonial powers in Africa. The aim of invading Ethiopia was to boost Italian national prestige, which was wounded by Ethiopia's defeat of Italian forces at the Battle of Adowa in the nineteenth century (1896), which saved Ethiopia from Italian colonisation. Another justification for the attack was an incident during December 1934, between Italian and Abyssinian troops at the Wal-Wal Oasis on the border between Abyssinian Somaliland, where 200 soldiers lost their lives. Both parties were exonerated in the incident, much to the disgust of Mussolini, as he felt Abyssinia should have been held accountable for the incident. This was used as a rationale to invade Abyssinia. Mussolini saw it as an opportunity to provide land for unemployed Italians and also acquire more mineral resources to fight off the effects of the Great Depression.
Toynbee, A. 1946. A Study of History, London: Oxford University Press.