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In the most comprehensive study in any language of the background to the Italian-Ethiopian War, the author investigates how the leaders of the great, and lesser, powers reacted to Mussolini’s open preparations for his invasion of Ethiopia in October 1935, and analyzes the profound consequences of their actions. Skillfully disentangling the complex political, diplomatic, and military events, George Baer shows that Great Britain and France, in particular, found themselves caught between their obligations to the Covenant of the League of Nations and their desire to maintain good relations with Italy. Unable to act decisively, they let Mussolini’s war begin and left an empty shell in Geneva, thus setting the stage for World War II.