The Abyssinian crisis (also known as the First Italo-Ethiopian War) was a significant conflict of the mid 1930’s, involving the Kingdom of Italy and the Empire of Ethiopia. The war had a number of causes, such as the First Italio-Ethiopian War, the state of the world economy at the time, Italian colonial ambitions and the Wal Wal incident. The conflict had huge international implications, affecting the League of Nations, the people of Ethiopia and their emperor, Haile Selassie, as well as Britain and France.
One of the primary causes of the Abyssinia crisis was the pre-existing military rivalry between Italy and Ethiopia, which dated back to the First Italo-Ethiopian war. In this war, Italy had attempted to colonise Ethiopia, but failed to do so, humiliating defeat at the Battle of Adwa in 1896. This defeat was incomprehensible to the Italian public – the Italians had been far better equipped and organised, in comparison with a large but poorly quipped Ethiopian army. The event became looked upon as shameful and the Italian public was extremely embarrassed and disbelieving. These emotions were the foundation of a desire for revenge and redemption accomplished through a second, this time successful attempt at colonising Ethiopia - and so helping to cause the Abyssinia Crisis of 1936-36.
The third cause of the crisis was the great depression. Although not as severely impacted as nations such as Germany, the economy of Italy in the early to mid 1990s was violate and unstable one. Unemployment was high and this inevitably meant that government approval and public morale were low. Ethiopia contained vast, vacant arable land and Italian leaders know it could be utilised to increase agricultural production. In addition to this, leaders also identified the conquest of another country as a way to unite the nation and boost public morale and government support. Therefore, the economic woes grappling Italy