The Italian-Ethiopian crisis of 1934-36 and its influence on the formation of American foreign policy
Nymeyer, Earl Ray
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The interwar period was critical to American history because the end of World War I found the United States with a new international identity, a new set of international issues, and an inadequate foreign policy. The reformation of American foreign policy was a difficult process, and took place not in a vacuum, but in a crucible of political and social debate. The Ethiopian crisis of 1934-1936 consisted of a series of events in Africa that had international ramifications and contributed to this debate over American foreign policy. The realignment of international alliances and relationships caused by the conflict between Italy and Ethiopia exerted pressure on the United States to change its foreign policies. The existing American foreign policies of this time were too weak to protect the United States from involvement in another foreign conflict, and needed to be adapted to the modern international situation. The Ethiopian crisis was the event that most specifically illustrated to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the American Congress how flawed the existing policies were, and was the impetus for a change of those policies. The competition between different special interest groups within the American political system present a good example of how foreign policy was formed in the interwar period. The attempts to address the shortcomings of American foreign policies in the interwar period highlighted the shortcomings of the existing system of policy formation and also suggested alternatives to that system.