Research Post 3: When Collective Security Abandoned Abyssinia

Economics. As it does with many things, the Economics of a situation dominates how nations will and can respond to it. Whether to invade or to not invade, to stand against an enemy or to yield, or to apply sanctions or to not, the economics dictate what a nation is willing to commit. This was especially true after the Great Depression, where, in 1935, nations were just starting to recover, but national economies were still very weak compared to their 1928 statuses. Adherence to the gold standard in nations continued to hurt national recoveries by constricting the money supply and preventing the necessary forced economic expansion. Two nations, Great Britain and Italy, that were still very much feeling the strain of the gold standard, knew this, and knew that taking strong economic actions against each other could severely hurt the other’s economy, or at least, that was the strategy that was forwarded by the world populace at the time. However, what I have discovered, through my research, is that the League sanctions, no matter how well intentioned, could not have been successful due to both a British unwillingness to see the sanctions through to their logical conclusion, and by the supplies and businesses of nations outside of the League.

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Research Post 2: When Collective Security Abandoned Abyssinia

I have found, as I continue my study into the response of the world to the Abyssinia Crisis, that the domestic organization of each of the Great Powers directly involved heavily affected their actions during the Crisis. The three major powers directly involved with the Crisis, Great Britain, France, and Italy, each had a very different domestic set of institutions and concerns to their national governments that influenced how they interacted with each other and the League as an institution. Italy, as an authoritarian, Fascist government, organized itself so that the average Italian citizen’s opinion mattered little, and rather the industrialists and industry of the nation influenced the national government more aggressively. The French Government, while a republic, had an executive branch and military apparatus that was extremely concerned about a resurgent Germany and was committed to maintaining the Stresa Front, whilst having a divided civil population that did not express its international desires easily. Britain, as the leading world power with a Liberal Democracy, and with one of the most complex apparatuses of state, had the interesting combination of needing to follow the direction that the people and domestic institutions expressed in voting, but while also having a government apparatus that did not easily change direction and was comparatively conservative. These different styles of governance and domestic interests resulted in fundamentally different approaches between the nations regarding dealing with each other and the League.

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Research Post 1: When Collective Security Abandoned Abyssinia

As I begin my research into one of the major failures of the League of Nations, the Crisis in Abyssinia, and how domestic influences changed the League’s response, I find it necessary to start truly from the basic facts of the issue. However, to start from this base, I need to unravel the story and causes of the Crisis and the League. History has not been kind to the story of the League, for many modern historians now regard the Crisis in Abyssinia as one of the greatest failures of the League, that emboldened enemies of freedom and democracy, and as a tipping point that sent the world once again tumbling towards world war. However, preconceived notions obscure reality, and my first step is to mitigate these ideas that I had from numerous history lessons on the failure of the League. Thus, my examination of the failure of the League of Nations during the Abyssinia Crisis, and domestic influences that affected the decision-making process within said organization, started with a review session.

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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.

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