Sub-Saharan Africa 1935: Abyssinia Crisis
In the 1920s, Mussolini’s Fascists had risen to power in Italy, adopting an increasingly aggressive foreign policy. In 1934 their expanding claims in Somalia led to a clash with Ethiopia, which brought the dispute to the League of Nations. However Mussolini secretly wanted an excuse to conquer Ethiopia and continuously rejected the League’s attempts at arbitration.
11 Dec 1931 Statute of Westminster▲
The Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the Statute of Westminster, establishing legislative independence of the self-governing Dominions of the British Empire from Britain. The act was effective immediately in Canada and the Union of South Africa, and was considered irrelevant by the Irish Free State. Of the remaining Dominions, Australia and New Zealand would ratify the act in the 1940s, while Newfoundland would never adopt it due to financial difficulties.
22 Sep 1932 Establishment of Saudi Arabia▲
The government of the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd, under King Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman (’Ibn Saud’), proclaimed the unification of the two kingdoms as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
30 Jan 1933 Chancellor Adolf Hitler▲
In a coalition agreement between the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP or Nazi party) and the German National People’s Party (DNVP), German President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Nazi leader Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany. From here Hitler would move swiftly to consolidate absolute power.
20 Jul 1934 Sara Triangle▲
In response to Italian demands, the British ceded the northwest portion of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan to Italian Libya. Known as the ‘Sara Triangle’, the territory consisted almost entirely of uninhabited desert.
5 Dec 1934-3 Oct 1935 Abyssinia Crisis▲
Ethiopian and Italian Somali troops clashed at Walwal, an Italian fortified post deep inside the Ethiopian-claimed Ogaden. The following day, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia protested Italian aggression but was countered when Duce Benito Mussolini’s Italian government demanded an apology and compensation. The dispute was brought before the League of Nations, but not only did Italy continuously reject arbitration measures, it also began building up forces in East Africa.
7 Jan 1935 Mussolini-Laval Accord▲
French Foreign Minister Pierre Laval and Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini signed the Franco-Italian Agreement in Rome, Italy, to compensate Italy for its sacrifices in World War I. By the terms of the agreement, France would cede a small amount of territory from French Somaliland to Eritrea and a large desert stretch - the Aozou Strip - from Chad to Libya. France also agreed to give Italy a free hand in its dispute with Ethiopia. However, the Italian Parliament refused to ratify the accord, rejecting it as too minimal.
15 Jan 1935 Italian East Africa▲
The Italian colony of Eritrea and protectorate of Somalia were united to form the colony of Italian East Africa, with its capital at Mogadishu and Emilio de Bono as High Commissioner. Ethiopia would be added to the colony after its conquest the following year.