IGCSE History
Term 1
Term 2
Term 3
Term 4
Term 5
Exams and Revision

How successful was the League of Nations in the 1930s? - Abyssinia Role Play

The Guilty Men?

Foreign Secretary 
Samuel Hoare
Secretary of State for War
 Viscount Halifax
Prime Minister 
Stanley Baldwin
Chancellor of the Exchequer 
Neville Chamberlain
Home Secretary
 John Allsebrook Simon

Above are the key members of the British Cabinet at the time of the Abyssinian Crisis. These are the men who were faced with the difficult decision of how to respond to Mussolini’s invasion. At the end of the Second World War they were condemned as the ‘Guilty Men’, responsible through their policy of appeasement, for the failure of Britain to stand up to the dictators.

It is the 5th October 1935. The Prime Minister has called an emergency meeting of Cabinet to deal with the question of Italy’s invasion of Abyssinia two days previously. Each of his Ministers has been briefed by their department and are ready to report back to the PM. At the end of the meeting the PM will sum up what will be the government’s response.

The class will be divided into groups of five. Each student is to research the attitude of their allocated Cabinet minister and his department of state and prepare their 'brief' for the emergency meeting. Tradition dictates that the Prime Minister will call on the Foreign Secretary to speak first but after that discussion should be improvised under the guidance of the PM. When everyone has had their say, it is the job of the PM to summarise the views of the meeting and reach a conclusion that all members of the Cabinet will defend together in public. This is called 'collective responsibility'. Click on your allocated character to begin your research.

See videos of previous roleplays