Italy - Historic League of Nations

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					                     MVHSMUN 25th Annual Conference
                   General Assembly Topic Synopsis
                   Developing the Future, Resolving the past

                                   Historic League of Nations
                                       Samantha LaPera

        My name is Samantha LaPera and I‟m a sophomore. This is my second year
participating in the Model United Nations program. “The League of Nations was an
international organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference in 1919–
1920.” Its main goal was to help maintain a peaceful world. They dealt with everything
from disarmament to global welfare. The Historic League of Nations is believed to have
been an idea of the British foreign secretary, Edward Grey and then it was later adopted
by President Woodrow Wilson. When the impending World War II was not stopped by
the League of Nations, it was proven that the League was no longer useful. The official
end of the League of Nations was on April 18, 1946. That day was the 21st and last
meeting of the League, and all 34 nations that attended voted that the League should be
ended except for Egypt which abstained. The League had some weaknesses, but they did
have some successes. For instance, those of Albania, Austria and Hungary, and Greece
and Bulgaria proved to be significant victories of the League. Even then, the League had
some major forces working against them. The failure of the League of Nations was
mainly due to the fact that it was lacking in its own armed force and it did not have strong
support from other major countries. In this committee, you are given a situation or event
that the Historic League of Nations has dealt with in the past and you have to find a way
to resolve it as the country you are representing would. One of the topics you will be
discussing is the conflict between Italy and Ethiopia that started in 1935 and lasted for
about a year. The Historic League of Nations had attempted to resolve this conflict, but
its attempts were unsuccessful. Hopefully, you will succeed.

Topic Background
         It was discovered that Italy was preparing for a battle of some sort when large
shipments of weapons were found being imported to Italy. In reality, Mussolini was
preparing for an attack on Ethiopia. Mussolini wanted Ethiopia so that he could gain
power. This seems somewhat trivial seeing as Ethiopia did not produce any significant
resources and it was not a wealthy country. Even then, Ethiopia did have a significant
geographical value. When the news reached the United States, President Roosevelt sent a
letter to Mussolini warning against war in Africa. He said that it “would be a world
calamity the consequences of which would adversely affect the interests of all nations.”
Ambassador Long was willing to take action to prevent the upcoming war. He said that,
“Italy must either be defeated now and prevented from realizing its ambitions in East
Africa, „or the trouble will continue on through for a generation as an additional irritation
to European politics and an additional menace to world peace.” At the same time, many
                      MVHSMUN 25th Annual Conference
                    General Assembly Topic Synopsis
                    Developing the Future, Resolving the past

nations were working independently of the Historic League of Nations to gain allies for
the impending WWII. Benito Mussolini is the dictator of Italy and has hopes of gaining
control over Northern Africa and the Mediterranean. At the same time, Britain placed an
arms embargo against both Italy and Ethiopia along with removing their warships from
the Mediterranean. This proved to be beneficial for Italy because this cleared the pathway
to Ethiopia and kept Ethiopia from growing stronger. On October 3, 1935, Mussolini sent
in Italian troops to take over Ethiopia. Ethiopia did not stand a chance because
Mussolini‟s army had more than double the amount of combatants that Ethiopia had. To
make matters worse, Ethiopia‟s army had little to no training while Italy had a much
stronger force. After its first attack, Italy backed off in attempt to avoid trouble with the
League of Nations and any other countries that were allied with Italy. The Historic
League of Nations pardoned both nations for breaking the rules against aggression, but
shortly after, Italy attacks again. The League again tried to resolve the problem by asking
other nations to place economic sanctions against Italy. This attempt is also unsuccessful
because the League of Nations had lost the support of many powerful countries. With few
nations supporting the League, hopes for peace melt away. The League of Nations still
holds onto the idea that the war can be ended peacefully even though the situation gets
worse as Italy uses chemical weapons like mustard gas against the people. Later on, the
League loses the support of not only Italy, but Britain and France because the media finds
out about a plan, devised by Britain, France, and Italy, to allow Italy to control huge parts
of Ethiopia. Secretary Hull of the United States said that the US planned to keep their
nose out of other country‟s business, but he hoped that the United States could set an
example for the countries at war. Later it was found that the US was exporting increased
amounts of copper, oil, trucks, tractors, and scrap metal to Italy for war purposes. All of
this poses a problem to the internal community because it increases greater tensions
between countries at a very inconvenient time. For instance, tension increases between
countries ruled by dictatorship (fascist) and the independently ruled countries
(democratic). Not only that, but it challenges world peace and it could possibly be
speeding up the time between now and World War II.

Possible Solutions
        A possible solution could be for more powerful countries to attempt to intervene
with force. Another solution would be to attempt to have a more successful economic
sanction against Italy. You could also evacuate people from Ethiopia and gain control
again after Mussolini has run his course. Another solution could be to investigate both
Ethiopia and Italy‟s actions and see if they have any other violations to international
laws. If so, this would allow you to be able to take better action. It is vital that you find
your own innovative take on the topic and that you come up with your own solution to
the problem.

Bloc Positions
                     MVHSMUN 25th Annual Conference
                   General Assembly Topic Synopsis
                   Developing the Future, Resolving the past

European Bloc Nations like France and Britain are trying to remain allies with Italy in
case of an attack from Hitler. Some European countries are willing to sway at the chance
that Italy does something to benefit them.
Western Bloc Most (developed) western nations are hoping to encourage peace and do
not support the conflict. They believe that more conflict at this time will worsen the
already impending World War II.
Asian Bloc Nations like Japan are supporters of Ethiopia and are opposed to Italy
attacking Ethiopia. This is because Japan and other Asian countries have close relations
with Ethiopia.
African Bloc Africa is against Italy attacking Ethiopia. This is because Mussolini is
attempting to gain all of North Africa, not just Ethiopia.

Questions that Should Be Taken into Consideration
       1. Does your country support Mussolini‟s choice to invade Ethiopia?
       2. How does this invasion affect your country?
       3. How is your country involved?
       4. Does your country believe that Mussolini should be stopped or that he is just in
       his actions?
       5. What can your country do to resolve this problem?

Helpful Sites and Resources/My Bibliography
1. CIA World Fact book:
This website is extremely helpful for section one of your position paper
2. If you need a good example of a position paper to model, go to this website, but ignore
the section of UN involvement.
3. The official UN website:
4. This website gives a somewhat western perspective to the conflict.
5. This site gives a brief overview of the topic.
6. A brief history of Ethiopia can be found here, and it includes information on
7. Another good site for background on the situation.

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