It can be argued that one of the ways in which Britain was consistent in their policies towards Mussolini’s Italian invasion Of Abyssinia; an act Of revenge against Abyssinia after their defeat of the Italians in the Battle of Doodad, a small town in what is now to be known as Ethiopia, in which approximately 3000 Italian prisoners of war were tortured, castrated and humiliated after having tried and failed to secure a stronger Italian position within Africa by conquering Abyssinia; was by trying to maintain placated relations between Britain and Italy, so as not to antagonist Bonito Mussolini (Leader of the National Fascist Party, ruling Italy as prime minister from 1922), threatening the safety of Britain.An example of this is how, despite what was thought to e a more effective solution in solving the crisis, it was agreed that the Suez Canal, an artificial waterway in Egypt that connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, would be left open so as not to provoke Italy into declaring war on Great Britain in a ‘mad dog act’. On the other hand, however, Britain’s policies can be considered to be fickle as they claimed they had wanted to adapt a policy of non-intervention, though quickly went against this in their involvement in the enforcement of sanctions and then, later, the Hoarer-Lava Pact. In October of 1935 Abyssinian resident, Hail Salaries, appealed to the League of Nations, formed after the Treaty of Versailles to promote international peace, for help, asking them to arbitrate.The result of this, on the 19th of October, was a policy of sanctions- all members of the League were to cease all forms of trading with Italy to devastate their economy, forcing them out of Abyssinia, though this was not particularly effective as the USA chose to trade with ‘II Duce’ and Italy, as they were not members of the League, allowing US oil manufacturers to benefit from there increased exports. The Hoarer-Lava Pact, organized between British Foreign Secretary, Samuel Hoarer, and French prime minister, Pierre Lava, had it not been leaked to the media the evening before it was to be made public on the 7th December (resulting in Hoarer’s resignation from government and his replacement by distrusting Eden), was planning on simply surrendering to Mussolini.It was agreed that, though Hail Salaries would remain emperor, he would be coerced into allowing Italy to own a fertile third of Abyssinia, who would be provided with passage through the Suez Canal in exchange, planning to allow Italy passage to the Red Sea through Italy and Britain’s own colonies.
This represents inconsistency within British policy because it shows how it appears to have changed from a policy of silence, to a course of action which in no way condones what Italy were doing so as not to seem like they are encouraging Mussolini, an idea with could give Hitler confidence to attempt to gain more power across Europe, until they finally switched to a strategy of appeasement, planning to give into what Italy wanted.Throughout the entire crisis between Abyssinia and Italy, Britain maintained an anti-war policy, in general, no matter the course of action they took to ensure this- the public mood at the time was very influential in this decision as there’s lots of evidence to suggest that a majority of the British population did not want another war, or to be involved in any such violence after having suffered so greatly in the First World War. An example of this would be the East Pelham By-Election on the 25th October 1 933, in which, anti-war labor candidate, John Wilma, won a majority vote (57. 9%) in what was considered to be an easy and obvious win for opposing conservative candidate, who made a speech in which he suggested that he was in favor of re-armament, after East-Pelham MM, Kenyon Vaughan-Morgan, had died. Another example of evidence suggesting that the public mood still supported collective security was the Peace Ballot (1935) organized by Lord Robert Cecil, president of the League of Nations.He launched the National Declaration Committee to represent the support for the League, doing so through a ballot, which involved questions asking if re-armament was still favorable, and if necessary, should violence be used- 90. 6% of those who responded stated that they were in favor of reducing armaments.
In opposition to this argument, many would say that there was simply no way or Britain to maintain any form of consistency as, in a year period, a new prime minister was elected and 2 new foreign ministers appointed. In June of 1935, Conservative, Baldwin, replaced resigned labor leader, Ramsey MacDonald as prime minister of the National Government, representing unpredictability as the 2 leaders enforced different views- Baldwin believing he could handle Mussolini and his advancements, siding with the League of Nations strongly as the public did.