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Why did the invasion take place?

Why did Mussolini attack Abyssinia? Why did no one stop him? Think about these questions as you read through the historical sources. You can use this worksheet to help you with your study.

Stage 1: Mussolini's motives

Why did Mussolini attack Abyssinia? Choose what you think are the 3 most important reasons for the invasion of Abyssinia. Explain why you think each reason was important.

You can choose from this list or you can think of your own reasons:

  • To recreate the Roman Empire
  • To get an easy victory
  • To help with economic problems in Italy
  • To have revenge for the Italian defeat in 1896
  • To warn Germany
  • To get hold of Abyssinia’s wealth
  • To make up for not getting enough territory from the Treaty of Versailles in 1919
  • To make himself popular in Italy

Record your reasons on this research table. Open the table and print it out or save it to your computer.
Research table 1

Stage 2: The League of Nations

What could the League of Nations have done to prevent the invasion? Decide on 3 actions that the League could have taken to help stop Mussolini in Abyssinia. Explain why you think each chosen action would have worked and why they didn’t do it.

You can choose from this list or you can think of your own actions:

  • Act very quickly to calm the situation after the first fight at Wal-Wal
  • Impose oil sanctions
  • Tell Mussolini off in front of the whole world
  • Ask the USA to help
  • Send in the troops to help Abyssinia
  • Close the Suez Canal to stop Italian ships getting from the Mediterranean Sea to East Africa

Record your reasons on this research table. Open the table and print it out or save it to your computer.
Research table 2