Abstract: When Collective Security Abandoned Abyssinia

At the advent of World War Two, the geo-political state of the world was filled with aggression and chaos. The throes of the Great Depression were racking the world’s economic systems, new and destructive ideologies were sweeping through national governments, and at the center of it all, the newly created League of Nations, a supranational organization designed to arbitrate peace and promote prosperity, was failing to prevent war and other aggressive actions from nations. This failing of the League of Nations is known to be total, but the significant part of the failure, the reason why the League of Nations failed, is a question that needs to be thoroughly answered. I am conducting this research project to discover why and how the League of Nations’ governing bodies failed or were unable to abide by its collective security mandate during the Abyssinia Crisis.

To determine how these governing bodies of the League of Nations failed, I will examine the factors that contributed to the how and why the League came to the decisions that it did, and these factors can be laid out into three distinct blocks. The first group of factors are state interests and preferences; an examination of the state interests and preferences of the great powers of the world and how these interests affected their foreign policies will yield information as to why the states sought the resolutions that they did. The second group of factors are strategies in conflict, and I will examine where conflicts of interests occurred, strategies that actors adopted in the pursuit of their interests, and what the outcomes of these interactions were. These interactions and their outcomes will demonstrate what states were willing to do to solve the issues at hand. The third group of factors are the League’s governing bodies, and I will examine the bodies where these disputes took place. Since the League was designed as a forum to settle disputes, I will critically examine this notion, and I will scrutinize how League procedures affected the conduct of states. With this information, to be drawn from numerous sources at the National Archives and Library of Congress, I will be able to explain exactly how and why the League of Nations acted in the manner that it did during the Abyssinia Crisis, with the hope of drawing conclusions on how not to operate in the modern day.