Italialaiset turvautuivat jopa laajamittaiseen taistelukaasun käyttöön.
Kansainvälinen yhteisö tuomitsi Italian sotatoimet, joissa Etiopian itsemääräämis- oikeutta loukattiin, ja Kansainliitto asetti hyökkääjää vastaan talouspakotteita. Keisari Haile Selassie pakeni Isoon-Britanniaan. Toisen maailmansodan aikana vuonna 1941 liittoutuneet ajoivat italialaiset miehittäjät maasta, ja Etiopian itsenäisyys palautettiin.
Hyökkäystä suvereeniin Etiopiaan Italia puolusteli vuonna 1934 tapahtuneella Wal Walin välikohtauksella. 23. marraskuuta 1934 brittien ja etiopialaisten yhteinen rajavaltuuskunta saapui Wal Walin keitaalle Ogadenissa. Valtuuskunta kohtasi yllättäen Italian Somalimaasta tulleen italialaisen joukko-osaston.
Britit vetäytyivät välttääkseen kansainvälisen selkkauksen, mutta etiopialaiset jäivät. Seuraavien kahden viikon aikana syntyi epäselvä laukaustenvaihto ja taistelukontakti, jonka aloittajaksi kumpikin osapuoli syytti toisiaan.
Italia vaati tiukasti julkista anteeksipyyntöä, kipurahoja, kunniaa Italian lipulle ja vastuullisten rankaisemista, mistä Etiopian hallitus luonnollisesti kieltäytyi, sillä se olisi merkinnyt itsemääräämisoikeuden kaventamista ja Italian mahdin tunnustamista. Benito Mussolini kieltäytyi neuvottelemasta keisarin kanssa, ja Haile Selassie vei kiistan Kansainliittoon. Kansainliitto keskusteli asiasta kuukausia saavuttamatta yksimielisyyttä, minkä aikana Italia valmistautui sotaretkeen.
Vaikutus: Italialaiset veivät Aksumin obeliskin Roomaan voitonmerkkinään.
»Siksi päätin saapua henkilökohtaisesti paikalle antamaan todistukseni kansaani vastaan suoritetusta rikoksesta ja varoittamaan Eurooppaa tuhosta, joka sitä odottaa, jos se myöntyy tapahtuneen tosiasian edessä. Keisari Haile Selassien puheesta Kansainliitolle 30. kesäkuuta 1936»
Etiopia oli 1900-luvulle tultaessa harvoja länsimaiden kolonisaatiolta säästyneitä afrikkalaisia valtioita. Italia oli yrittänyt laajentaa vaikutusvaltaansa Afrikan sarvessa jo 1800-luvulta alkaen, jolloin käyty ensimmäinen Italian–Etiopian sota päättyi eurooppalaisen vallan tappioon Adowan taistelussa.
1930-luvulla poliittiset jännitteet kasvoivat Euroopassa ja diktaattorit nousivat valtaan. Abessinian kriisi ja sitä seurannut sota, jonka seurauksena tuhat vuotta vanha afrikkalainen itsenäisyys lakkautettiin. Tapaus osoitti Kansainliiton hampaattomuuden ja demokraattisesti hallittujen länsivaltojen haluttomuuden puuttua aggressioon, mikä vahvisti fasistien jalansijaa myös Euroopassa.
Tämä myötävaikutti osaltaan suuremman konfliktin, toisen maailmansodan syttymiseen vain kolme vuotta myöhemmin
---------------------------------- Obelisk of Axum
The Second Italo-Ethiopian War, also referred to as the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, was a colonial war that started in October 1935 and ended in May 1936. The war was fought between the armed forces of the Kingdom of Italy and the armed forces of the Ethiopian Empire (also known at the time as Abyssinia). The war resulted in the military occupation of Ethiopia.
|Second Italo-Ethiopian War|
|Part of the Interwar Period|
Italian artillery in Ethiopia in 1936.
|Commanders and leaders|
| Victor Emmanuel III|
Sultan Olol Dinle
| Haile Selassie I|
|Approx. 500,000 combatants (Approx. 100,000 mobilized)|
Approx. 595 aircraft
Approx. 795 tanks
|Approx. 800,000 combatants (~330,000 mobilized)|
Approx. 3 aircraft
Approx. 3 tanks
|Casualties and losses|
|10,000 killed1 (est. May 1936)|
44,000 wounded (est. May 1936)
9,555 killed (est. 1936–1940)
144,000 sick and wounded (est. 1936–1940)
Total: ~20,000 killed and ~188,000 wounded or sick
|Approx. 275,000 combatants killed, 500,000 wounded Approx.|
Total: ~775,000 killed or wounded
|Official pro-Fascist Italian figures are around 3,000, which Alberto Sbacchi considers deflated.|
Based on 1,911 killed in the first six months of 1940; Ministry of Africa figures for 6 May 1936 to 10 June 1940 state 8,284 men were killed, which Sbacchi considers "fairly accurate data."
Politically, the war is best remembered for exposing the inherent weakness of the League of Nations. Like the Mukden Incident in 1931 (the Japanese annexation of three Chinese provinces), the Abyssinia Crisis in 1935 is often seen as a clear demonstration of the ineffectiveness of the League. Both Italy and Ethiopia were member nations and yet the League was unable to control Italy or to protect Ethiopia when Italy clearly violated the League's own Article X.
The positive outcome of the war for the Italians coincided with the zenith of the international popularity of dictator Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime, in a phase called "the age of consensus" during which foreign leaders praised him for his achievements. Historians like James Burgwyn called the victory of Mussolini "a capital achievement", but he was forced to accept the Anschluss between Nazi Germany and Austria, and to begin a political tilt toward Germany that finally destroyed him and Fascist Italy in World War II
The Italo-Ethiopian Treaty of 1928 stated that the border between Italian Somaliland and Ethiopia was twenty-one leagues parallel to the Benadir coast (approximately 73.5 miles). In 1930, Italy built a fort at the Welwel oasis (also Walwal, Italian: Ual-Ual) in the Ogaden and garrisoned it with Somali Ascari (dubats) (irregular frontier troops commanded by Italian officers). The fort at Welwel was well beyond the twenty-one league limit and the Italians were encroaching on Ethiopian territory.
In November 1934, Ethiopian territorial troops, escorting the Anglo-Ethiopian boundary commission, protested against Italy's incursion. The British members of the commission soon withdrew to avoid embarrassing Italy. Italian and Ethiopian troops remained encamped in close proximity.
In early December 1934, the tensions on both sides erupted into what was known as the "Wal Wal incident." The resultant clash left approximately 150 Ethiopians and 2 Italians dead and led to the "Abyssinia Crisis" at the League of Nations.
On 4 September 1935, the League of Nations exonerated both parties for the Wal Wal incident. The United Kingdom and France, keen to keep Italy as an ally against Germany, did not take strong steps to discourage an Italian military buildup. Italy soon began to build its forces on the borders of Ethiopia in Eritrea and Italian Somaliland.
Italy was able to launch its invasion without interference primarily due to the United Kingdom and France placing a high priority on retaining Italy as an ally in case hostilities broke out with Germany. To this end, on 7 January 1935, France signed an agreement with Italy giving them essentially a free hand in Africa to secure Italian co-operation. Next, in April, Italy was further emboldened by being a member of the Stresa Front, an agreement to curb further German violations of the Treaty of Versailles. In June, non-interference was further assured by a political rift that had developed between the United Kingdom and France following the Anglo-German Naval Agreement.
A last possible foreign ally of Ethiopia to fall away was Japan, which had served as a model to some Ethiopian intellectuals; the Japanese ambassador to Italy, Dr. Sugimura Yotaro, on 16 July assured Mussolini that his country held no political interests in Ethiopia and would keep neutral in Italy's coming war. His comments stirred up a furor inside Japan, where there had been popular affinity for the African Empire. Despite popular opinion, when the Ethiopians approached Japan for help on 2 August they were refused completely: even a modest request for the Japanese government to officially state its support for Ethiopia in the coming conflict was denied.
With an attack appearing inevitable, Emperor Haile Selassie ordered a general mobilization of the Army of the Ethiopian Empire. His new recruits consisted of around 500,000 men, some of whom were armed with nothing more than spears and bows. Many soldiers carried more modern weapons, including rifles, but many of these were from before 1900 and were outdated.
According to Italian estimates, on the eve of hostilities the Ethiopians had an army of 350,000–760,000 men. But only about one-quarter of this army had any kind of military training and the men were armed with 400,000 rifles of every type and in every kind of condition.
In general, the Ethiopian armies were poorly equipped. They had about 200 antiquated pieces of artillery mounted on rigid gun carriages. There were also about 50 light and heavy anti-aircraft guns (20 mm Oerlikons, 75 mm Schneiders, and Vickers). The Ethiopians even had some Ford truck-based armored cars and a small number of Fiat 3000 World War I-era tanks.
Etiopian 37 mm pompom gun
The serviceable portion of the Imperial Ethiopian Air Force included three outmoded Potez 25 biplanes. A few transport aircraft were also acquired between 1934 and 1935 for ambulance work. In all, the air force consisted of 13 aircraft and four pilots at the outbreak of the war. The Ethiopian Air Force was commanded by a French pilot, Andre Maillet.
Ethiopian Potez 25
The best Ethiopian units were the Emperor's "Kebur Zabagna" (Imperial Guard). These troops were well-trained and better equipped than the other Ethiopian troops. The Imperial Guard, however, wore a distinctive greenish-khaki uniform of the Belgian Army, which stood out from the white cotton cloak (shamma) worn by most Ethiopian fighters. Unfortunately for its wearers, the shamma proved to be an excellent target. The skills of the Rases, the generals of the Ethiopian armies, ranged from relatively good to incompetent.
In April 1935, the build-up of the Royal Italian Army (Regio Esercito) and the Regia Aeronautica (Royal Air Force) in East Africa (Africa Orientale) started in earnest. In a few months, eight regular, mountain, and blackshirt infantry divisions arrived in Eritrea and four regular infantry divisions arrived in Italian Somaliland. These units alone represented 685,000 soldiers. This number does not include the Italian units already in East Africa, colonial units, or units arriving during the war. For example, there were 400,000 Italian soldiers in Eritrea and 285,000 in Italian Somaliland before the new divisions arrived. The huge army forming up in East Africa also included a great number of logistical and support units. The Italian force also included 200 journalists.
The equipment for the build-up alone included 6,000 machine guns, 2,000 pieces of artillery, 599 tanks, and 390 aircraft. Before these arrived, the Italians had 3,300 machine guns, 275 artillery pieces, 200 tankettes, and 205 aircraft. Thanks to the Regia Marina (Royal Navy), the Italians had tons of ammunition, food, and other necessary supplies. The Italians also had motor vehicles to move supplies and troops while the Ethiopians carried supplies in horse-drawn carts.
During this campaign the Italians placed considerable reliance on their Royal Corps of Colonial Troops (Regio Corpo Truppe Coloniali, or RCTC) – indigenous regiments recruited from the Italian colonial possessions of Eritrea, Somalia, and Libya. The most effective of these Italian officered units were the Eritrean native infantry (askaris) who were often used as advance troops. As advance troops, the Eritreans often suffered heavy casualties accordingly. The Eritreans also provided cavalry and artillery units. The "Falcon Feathers" (Penne di Falco) was one prestigious and colorful Eritrean cavalry unit. Other RCTC units employed in the invasion of Ethiopia included irregular Somali frontier troops (dubats), regular Arab-Somali infantry and artillery, and Libyan infantry.
In addition to their own colonial troops from Eritrea, Somalia, and Libya, the Italians had a variety of local semi-independent "allies" who fought for them. In the north, the Azebu Galla were one of several groups induced to fight for the Italians. For many reasons, the Galla were willing to sweep down on the fleeing Ethiopians. In the south, the Somali Sultan Olol Dinle commanded a personal army that advanced into the northern Ogaden alongside the forces of Italian Colonel Luigi Frusci. The Sultan was motivated by his desire to take back lands that the Ethiopians had taken from him. The Italian colonial forces even included some Yemenis recruited from across the Gulf of Aden.
On 28 March 1935, General Emilio De Bono was named as the Commander-in-Chief of all Italian armed forces in East Africa. In addition, he was the Commander-in-Chief of the forces invading from Eritrea, the "northern front". De Bono had under his direct command a force of nine divisions in three Army Corps: The Italian I Corps, the Italian II Corps, and the Eritrean Corps.
General Rodolfo Graziani was De Bono's subordinate. He was the Commander-in-Chief of forces invading from Italian Somaliland, the "southern front". Initially he had two divisions and a variety of smaller units under his command. His forces included a mix of Italians, Somalis, Eritreans, Libyans, and others. De Bono regarded Italian Somaliland as a secondary theatre that needed primarily to defend itself and possibly aid the main front with offensive thrusts if the enemy forces there were not too large.
As the invasion began, aircraft of the Royal Italian Air Force scattered leaflets asking the population to rebel against Haile Selassie and support the "true Emperor Iyasu V". Forty-year-old Iyasu had been deposed many years earlier but was still in custody.
De Bono's invasion of Abyssinia
At precisely 5:00 am on 3 October 1935, De Bono crossed the Mareb River and advanced into Ethiopia from Eritrea without a declaration of war. In response to the Italian invasion, Ethiopia declared war on Italy. At this point in the campaign, roadways represented a serious drawback for the Italians as they crossed into Ethiopia. On the Italian side, roads had been constructed right up to the border. On the Ethiopian side, these roads often transitioned into vaguely defined paths.
On 5 October, the Italian I Corps took Adigrat and, by 6 October, Adwa was captured by the Italian II Corps. Haile Selassie had ordered Duke (Ras) Seyoum Mangasha, the Commander of the Ethiopian Army of Tigre, to withdraw a day's march away from the Mareb River. Later, the Emperor ordered Commander of the Gate (Dejazmach) Haile Selassie Gugsa, also in the area, to move back fifty-five and thirty-five miles from the border.
On 11 October, Dejazmach Haile Selassie Gugsa and 1,200 of his followers surrendered to the commander of the Italian outpost at Adagamos. De Bono notified Rome and the Ministry of Information promptly exaggerated the importance of the surrender. Haile Selassie Gugsa was Emperor Haile Selassie's son-in-law. But less than a tenth of the Dejazmach's army defected with him.
On 14 October, De Bono issued a proclamation ordering the suppression of slavery. However, after a few weeks he was to write: "I am obliged to say that the proclamation did not have much effect on the owners of slaves and perhaps still less on the liberated slaves themselves. Many of the latter, the instant they are set free presented themselves to the Italian authorities, asking 'And now who gives me food'?" The Ethiopians themselves had attempted to abolish slavery, but only in theory.
Each Ethiopian Emperor since Tewodros II had issued "superficial" proclamations to halt slavery, but always without real effect. Only with the Italian proclamation of their Empire in summer 1936, slavery was totally and effectively abolished in Ethiopia.
By 15 October, De Bono's forces advanced from Adwa for a bloodless occupation of the holy capital of Axum. General de Bono entered the city riding triumphantly on a white horse. However, the invading Italians he commanded looted the Obelisk of Axum.
De Bono's advance continued methodically and, to Mussolini's consternation, a bit slowly. On 8 November, the I Corps and the Eritrean Corps captured Makale welcomed by the local population.
Haile Selassie shoots to Breda 20mm aa gun
This proved to be the limit of how far the Italian invaders would get under the command of De Bono. On 16 November, De Bono was promoted to the rank of Marshal of Italy (Maresciallo d'Italia), but by December he was replaced with Marshal of Italy Pietro Badoglio because of the slow, cautious nature of De Bono's advance. In November the imprisoned former emperor Iyasu also died, in undetermined circumstances.
Haile Selassie decided to test this new Italian commander with an offensive of his own. What became known as the Ethiopian "Christmas Offensive" had as its objectives the splitting of the Italian forces in the north with the Ethiopian center, crushing the Italian left with the Ethiopian right, and invading Eritrea with the Ethiopian left.
Ras Seyum Mangasha held the area around Abiy Addi with about 30,000 men. Ras Imru Haile Selassie with approximately 40,000 men advanced from Gojjam toward Mai Timket to the left of Ras Seyoum. Ras Kassa Haile Darge with approximately 40,000 men advanced from Dessie to support Ras Seyoum in the center in a push towards Warieu Pass. Ras Mulugeta Yeggazu, the Minister of War, advanced
from Dessie with approximately 80,000 men to take positions on and around Amba Aradam to the right of Ras Seyoum. Amba Aradam was a steep sided, flat topped mountain directly in the way of an Italian advance on Addis Ababa.
The four commanders had approximately 190,000 men facing the Italians. Ras Imru and his Army of Shire were on the Ethiopian left. Ras Seyoum and his Army of Tigre and Ras Kassa and his Army of Beghemder were the Ethiopian center. Ras Mulugeta and his "Army of the Center" (Mahel Sefari) were on the Ethiopian right. A force of 1,000 Ethiopians crossed the Tekeze river and advanced toward the Dembeguina Pass (Inda Aba Guna or Indabaguna pass).
The Italian commander, Major Criniti, commanded a force of 1,000 Eritrean Infantry supported by L3 tanks. When the Ethiopians attacked, Criniti's force fell back to the pass, only to discover that 2,000 Ethiopian soldiers had occupied it. Criniti's force was encircled and taking fire from all directions. In the first Ethiopian attack, two of Major Criniti's officers were killed, and Criniti himself was wounded.
Criniti's force attempted to use their L3 tanks to break out, but the rough terrain immobilized the vehicles. The Ethiopians slaughtered the infantry, then swarmed the tanks and killed their two-man crews. Italian forces organized a relief column made up of tanks and infantry to relieve Major Critini, but it ran into an Ethiopian ambush on the way. The Ethiopians occupying the high ground rolled boulders in front of and behind several of the tanks, immobilizing them.
The Ethiopians picked off the Eritrean infantry, and swarmed the tanks. The other tanks were immobilized by the terrain and unable to advance further. The Ethiopians set two of these tanks on fire. Meanwhile, Major Critini achieved a breakout, having ordered his men to fix bayonets and charge. Although half of the Major Critini's force was killed in the fierce fighting, they managed to break out of the Ethiopian encirclement. The Ethiopians claimed to have killed 3,000 Eritrean troops during the Christmas offensive.
Black period of the war
The ambitious Ethiopian plan called for Ras Kassa and Ras Seyoum to split the Italian army in two and isolate the Italian I Army Corps and the Italian III Army Corps in Mekele. Ras Mulugeta would then descend from Amba Aradam and crush both corps. According to this plan, after Ras Imru retook Adwa, he was to invade Eritrea.
In November, the League of Nations condemned Italy's aggression and imposed economic sanctions.
The Hoare–Laval Pact
In early December 1935, the Hoare–Laval Pact was proposed by Britain and France. Under this pact, Italy would gain the best parts of Ogaden and Tigray. Italy would also gain economic influence over all the southern part of Abyssinia. Abyssinia would have a guaranteed corridor to the sea at the port of Assab; however, the corridor was a poor one and known as a "corridor for camels".
Mussolini was ready to agree to the pact, but he waited some days to make his opinion public. On 13 December, details of the pact were leaked by a French newspaper and denounced as a sell-out of the Abyssinians. The British government disassociated itself from the pact and both the British and the French representatives associated with the pact were forced to resign.
Use of poison gas
The Ethiopian offensive was ultimately stopped due to the superiority in modern weapons like machine guns and heavy artillery of the Italian forces.
However, after the 26 December killing of downed Italian pilot Tito Minniti, Badoglio asked for and was given permission to use chemical warfare agents such as mustard gas. Mussolini stated that the gas used was not lethal, but only a mixture of tear gas and mustard gas (this gas was lethal in only about 1% of cases; its effectiveness was as a blistering agent).
The Italian Air Force attacked and bombed a field hospital run by the Swedish Red Cross – a war crime in itself. Count Carl Gustaf von Rosen served as an ambulance pilot and he later recounted that the hospital was marked with Red Crosses. He also confirmed that mustard gas was used. The Swedish Red Cross secured photographic evidence of Ethiopian civilians with damages from mustard gas.
The Italians attempted to justify their use of chemical weapons by citing the exception to the Geneva Protocol restrictions that referenced acceptable use for reprisal against illegal acts of war. They stated that the Ethiopians had tortured or killed their prisoners and wounded soldiers.
Caproni Ap 1
The Italians delivered the poison gas by special artillery canisters and with bombers of the Italian Royal Air Force. While the poorly equipped Ethiopians experienced some success against modern weaponry, they did not understand the "terrible rain that burned and killed."
First Battle of Tembien, Battle of Amba Aradam, Second Battle of Tembien, Battle of Shire and Battle of Maychew
As the progress of the Christmas Offensive slowed, Italian plans to renew the advance on the northern front got under way. In addition to being granted Mussolini's permission to use poison gas (but not mustard gas), Badoglio received additional ground forces. The elements of the Italian III Corps and the Italian IV Corps arrived in Eritrea during early 1936.
In these months there were three bloody battles: from 20 to 24 January, the First Battle of Tembien was fought. The outcome of this battle wasn´t a decisive Italian victory, but the threat Ras Kassa posed to the I Corps and III Corps was neutralized.
from 10 to 19 February, the Battle of Amba Aradam was fought. The outcome of this battle was a decisive Italian victory and the destruction of the army of Ras Mulugeta.
from 27 to 29 February, the Second Battle of Tembien was fought. The outcome of this battle was a decisive Italian victory and the destruction of the armies of Ras Kassa and Ras Seyoum.
Indeed on 20 January, the Italians resumed their northern offensive at the First Battle of Tembien in the broken terrain between the Warieu Pass and Makale. The fighting proved inconclusive and, on 24 January, the battle ended in a draw, with the Italians having suffered 10 casualties and the Ethiopians 8,000 casualties. But, for all intents and purposes, the threat posed by the Christmas Offensive was over. The Ethiopians were never to split the Italian army and they were never to invade Eritrea.
While Graziani had already done so during the Battle of Genale Doria on the southern front, it was during the First Battle of Tembien that Badoglio unleashed on the northern front the use of phosgene as a weapon. The supposed Ethiopian "threat" to Italian-held Makale and the resultant use of poison gas, Haile Selassie said:
"It was at the time when the operations for the encircling of Makale were taking place that the Italian command, fearing a rout, followed the procedure which it is now my duty to denounce to the world. Special sprayers were installed on board aircraft so that they could vaporize, over vast areas of territory, a fine, death-dealing rain.
Groups of nine, fifteen, eighteen aircraft followed one another so that the fog issuing from them formed a continuous sheet. It was thus that, as from the end of January 1936, soldiers, women, children, cattle, rivers, lakes, and pastures were drenched continually with this deadly rain. To systematically kill all living creatures, to more surely poison waters and pastures, the Italian command made its aircraft pass over and over again. That was its chief method of warfare".
In early February, the Italians captured Amba Aradam and destroyed Ras Mulugeta's army in the Battle of Enderta. The battle on the ground was lopsided in the Italians' favour; the Ethiopians suffered massive losses. The use of poison gas destroyed a small part of Ras Mulugeta's army, according to the Ethiopians. During the slaughter following the attempted withdrawal of his army, both Ras Mulugeta and his son were killed. The Italians lost 800 killed and wounded while the Ethiopians lost 6,000 killed and 12,000 wounded.
In early March, the army of Ras Imru was attacked, bombed, and defeated in what was known as the Battle of Shire. Despite resistance, the Italians successfully crushed his army. The Italians had suffered approximately 1,000 casualties and the Ethiopians 4,000, with almost the entire army ultimately neutralized as a fighting force.
On 31 March 1936 at the Battle of Maychew, the Italians defeated an Ethiopian counter-offensive by the main Ethiopian army commanded by Emperor Haile Selassie. The outnumbered Ethiopians could not overcome the well-prepared Italian defences. For one day, the Ethiopians launched near non-stop attacks on the Italian and Eritrean defenders, until the exhausted Ethiopians withdrew while successfully counter-attacked.
The Italian Royal Air Force (Regia Aeronautica) finished off what was left of Haile Selassie's army by attacking the survivors at Lake Ashangi with mustard gas. The Italians had 400 casualties, the Eritreans 873, and the Ethiopians 11,000. On 4 April, Haile Selassie looked with despair upon the horrific sight of the dead bodies of his army ringing the poisoned lake.
Southern front Main articles: Battle of Genale Doria and Battle of the Ogaden
On 3 October 1935, Graziani implemented his "Milan Plan". The limited objectives of this plan were to remove Ethiopian forces from various frontier posts and to test the reaction to a series of probes all along the southern front. While incessant rains worked to hinder the plan, within three weeks the Somali villages of Kelafo, Dagnerai, Gerlogubi, and Gorahai in Ogaden were in Italian hands.
Late in the year, the initiative on the southern front went over to the Ethiopians as it had gone over to them on the northern front. Ras Desta Damtu formed up his army in the area around Negele Borana with the goal of advancing on Dolo and invading Italian Somaliland. Between 12 and 16 January 1936, the Italians defeated his advancing and then withdrawing army during what became known as the Battle of Genale Doria. In reality there was very little fighting on the ground as Graziani primarily used the Italian Air Force and (according to Ethiopians) some poison gas to destroy Ras Desta's army.
After a lull in February 1936, the Italians in the south prepared a major thrust towards the city of Harar. On 22 March, the Italian Air Force bombed Harar and Jijiga as a prelude. Both cities were reduced to ruins even though Harar had been declared an "open city".
On 14 April, Graziani launched his attack against Ras Nasibu Emmanual to defeat the last Ethiopian army left. This attack was known as the Battle of the Ogaden. The Ethiopians were drawn up behind a defensive line that was termed the "Hindenburg Wall", which was designed by the chief of staff of Ras Nasibu, Wehib Pasha, a seasoned ex-Ottoman commander. Ten days after the battle began, the last Ethiopian army had totally disintegrated. 200 Italian soldiers and 15,000 Ethiopian soldiers were killed or wounded.
Badoglio's force marched into Addis Ababa on 5 May and restored order. While there never was a formal surrender, the Second Italo-Abyssinian War was over and on 1 June Italy officially merged Ethiopia with Eritrea and Italian Somaliland, calling the new state Africa Orientale Italiana (Italian East Africa).
But only on 18 December 1936 Ras Imru finally surrendered to the Italians near the Gojeb River. Consequently Italy declared the country pacified: some Ethiopian leaders like Dejazmach Gebrehiwet Michael, Dejazmach Amde Ali, Dejazmach Ayalew Birru, Dejazmach Habtemichael, the author Afework Gebreyesus, Mengesha Wube, and some local chiefs/Ras started to collaborate with the Italians in 1937.
Italian perspective: "Will you be worthy of it?"
King-Emperor Victor Emmanuel III waited for the crowds in the Quirinal Palace on Quirinal Hill. Months earlier, when the Ethiopian adventure first started, he told a friend: "If we win, I shall be King of Abyssinia. If we lose, I shall be King of Italy."
"Emperor! Emperor! Salute the Emperor!" ("Imperatore! Imperatore! Salute Imperatore!") chanted the crowd when Victor Emmanuel, in full Army uniform, showed himself on a balcony. The first Emperor in Rome in hundreds of years raised his withered hand to the visor of his cap and said nothing. Elena, his Queen-Empress did not appear. She was in bed with a broken toe from falling off a stepladder in her library while reaching for a book.
While the Italian King-Emperor was silent, the Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini was not. When victory was announced by Mussolini from the balcony of the Palazzo Venezia in Rome, the Italian population was jubilant.
From his balcony, Mussolini proclaimed: "During the thirty centuries of our history, Italy has known many solemn and memorable moments – this is unquestionably one of the most solemn, the most memorable. People of Italy, people of the world, peace has been restored. The crowds would not let him go—ten times they recalled Mussolini to the balcony and cheered and waved while the boys of various Fascist youth organizations sang the newly composed 'Hymn of the Empire' (Inno dell'impero)."
Four days later, the same scene was repeated when Il Duce in a speech about the "shining sword" and the "fatal hills of Rome" announced:
"At last Italy has her empire." And he then added: "The Italian people have created an empire with their blood. They will fertilize it with their work. They will defend it against anyone with their weapons. Will you be worthy of it?"
This was Mussolini's hour of glory. He knew that the Italian nation was united around him as it never was before. He knew that the exultation that he witnessed was genuine. And the Italian people appeared to have good cause for rejoicing. Italy gained a vast territory and untold mineral riches... riches much magnified by Italian propaganda. Fascism was never so popular and the shouts of military victory drowned out the muttered grumbles about some underlying economic ills.
Ethiopian perspective: "It will be you tomorrow"
Haile Selassie passes through Jerusalem on his way to exile in England.
While the Italian people were rejoicing in Rome, Haile Selassie was crossing the Red Sea in the British cruiser HMS Enterprise. On 4 May, he had sailed from Djibouti. The British Mandate of Palestine was his destination on his way to England via Gibraltar. Two days after his arrival in Jerusalem, Haile Selassie sent a telegram to the League of Nations, in which he wrote:
"We have decided to bring to an end the most unequal, most unjust, most barbarous war of our age, and have chosen the road to exile in order that our people will not be exterminated and in order to consecrate ourselves wholly and in peace to the preservation of our empire's independence... we now demand that the League of Nations should continue its efforts to secure respect for the covenant, and that it should decide not to recognize territorial extensions, or the exercise of an assumed sovereignty, resulting from the illegal recourse to armed force and to numerous other violations of international agreements."
The Ethiopian Emperor's telegram caused several nations to temporarily defer recognition of the Italian conquest.
On 30 June, Haile Selassie spoke at the League of Nations and was introduced by the President of the Assembly as "His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of Ethiopia" ("Sa Majesté Imperiale, l'Empereur d'Ethiopie"). In response, a group of jeering Italian journalists began yelling insults and had to be ejected before he could speak. The Romanian Chairman, Nicolae Titulescu, famously reacted to the buffoonery exhibited by the Italian journalists. He jumped to his feet and shouted: "Show the savages the door!" ("A la porte les sauvages!")
Haile Selassie then gave a stirring speech denouncing Italy's actions and criticizing the world community for standing by. At the conclusion of his speech, which appeared on newsreels throughout the world, he warned that:
"It is us today. It will be you tomorrow."
The international response to the Italian aggression was mixed. As stirring as Haile Selassie's speech before the League of Nations was, his resolution for the world body to deny recognition of the Italian conquest was defeated. In addition, he was not granted a loan to finance a resistance movement. On 4 July 1936, the League of Nations voted to end the sanctions imposed against Italy in November 1935. By 15 July, the sanctions were lifted.
On 18 November 1936, the Italian Empire was officially recognized by the Empire of Japan. Italy in turn recognized the Japanese occupation of Manchuria.
The Italian invasion of Ethiopia meant that the Stresa Front was at an end. During the war, Hitler supplied the Ethiopians with 16,000 rifles and 600 machine guns in the hope that Italy would be weakened when he moved against Austria. By contrast, France and Britain recognized Italian control over Ethiopia in 1938.
Mexico was the only country to strongly condemn Italy's sovereignty over Ethiopia, respecting Ethiopian independence throughout. Mexico was amongst only six nations in 1937 which did not recognize Italy's occupation, along with China, New Zealand, the Soviet Union, the Republic of Spain, and the United States.
But three years later only Joseph Stalin's USSR officially recognized Selassie, and the U.S. government considered recognizing the Italian Empire with Ethiopia included.
On 10 June 1940, Mussolini entered World War II and joined Hitler as his Axis ally. As a result, the colony of Italian East Africa proved to be short-lived. Initially, the Italians attacked British and Commonwealth forces in the Sudan, Kenya, and British Somaliland. In August, the Italians even overran all of British Somaliland and forced the British and Commonwealth forces there to flee. But, by the end of 1941, during the East African Campaign, Ethiopia was liberated from Italian control by a combination of British, Commonwealth, Free French, Free Belgian, and Ethiopian forces.
While in exile in England, Haile Selassie had sought to gain the support of the Western democracies for his cause. But he had little success until World War II broke out. During that war, the British and the Ethiopian Emperor sought to cooperate with Ethiopian and other local forces in a campaign to dislodge the Italians from Ethiopia. Haile Selassie went to Khartoum, where he established closer liaison with both the British headquarters and the resistance forces within Ethiopia.
On 18 January 1941, Emperor Selassie crossed the border into Ethiopia near the village of Um Iddla. Two days later the Emperor joined Gideon Force, a small British-led African regular force. The standard of the Lion of Judah was raised again. By 5 May, the Emperor and an army of Ethiopian Free Forces entered Addis Ababa. Following the Italian defeat, the victorious forces faced a guerrilla war carried out by remnants of Italian troops and their allies that only ended in last quarter of 1943 after the formal surrender of Italy.
Among other things, the Treaty of Peace with Italy signed between the Italian Republic (Repubblica Italiana) and the victorious powers of World War II on 10 February 1947 in Paris, included Italy's formal recognition of Ethiopian independence and an agreement to pay $25,000,000 in reparations. Ethiopia became an independent nation again, and Haile Selassie was restored as its leader. At the time of this treaty, Ethiopia presented Italy with a bill of its own for damages inflicted during the course of Mussolini's colonial adventure. Claimed were the loss of 2,000 churches, the loss of 525,000 houses, and the slaughter and/or confiscation of six million beef cattle, seven million sheep and goats, one million horses and mules, and 700,000 camels. The bill for this presented to the Economic Commission for Italy came to £184,746,023.
In addition, these human losses were recorded by the Ethiopians:
275,000 – combatants killed in action; 78,500 – patriots killed during the occupation (1936–1941); 17,800 civilians killed by bombings and 30,000 in the February 1937 massacre; 35,000 – persons who died in concentration camps; 24,000 – patriots executed by Summary Courts; 300,000 – persons who died of privations due to the destruction of their villages.
The Total was 760,300 human losses. The Italians disputed this huge amount, arguing that real Ethiopian casualties were half those losses.