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
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.