December 05, 2013

On this day December 5th...

DARC Ethiophile Chronicles

On the 5th of December, 1934 Benito Mussolini determined to establish an Italian
empire and to avenge Italy's defeat in 1896 at Adowa by the Ethiopians
invades Eritrea. A border clash at Wal Wal (also referred to as Ualual)
in Southern Ethiopia along the border of Somaliland increased the

The conflict had its roots in the rise of fascism in Italy, and in
Mussolini's ambition to avenge Adowa, and win Italy ‘a place in the
sun’. He and his aide Emilio De Bono decided, in 1933, to invade
Ethiopia ‘no later than 1936’. The pretext was the Wal Wal incident of
December 1934, when Ethiopian forces clashed with Italian colonial
troops, which had infiltrated 62 miles (100 km) into Ethiopian
territory. Mussolini used the ensuing period of negotiations to build
up his armies in Italian Eritrea and Somalia. They eventually numbered
200, 000 men. Britain and France, which together controlled the
remainder of the coastline around Ethiopia, imposed an arms embargo on
both parties. This fell heavier on Ethiopia, which imported arms, than
on Italy, which manufactured them.

Mussolini's armies finally attacked, from the north and south, without
any declaration of war, on 3 October 1935. They enjoyed vast
superiority in weapons, and total control of the air. The League of
Nations declared Italy guilty of aggression, but imposed only
ineffective economic sanctions. The Italian advance, from Eritrea under
De Bono, was initially slow, and that from Somalia under Gen Rodolfo
Graziani (the subsequent Italian viceroy) relatively unimportant.
Mussolini accordingly dismissed De Bono, in November, and replaced him
by Gen Pietro Badoglio, a career soldier, whom he authorized to use
chemical weapons. The Italians, who employed heavy aerial bombardments
via airplanes that were blessed by Pope Pius XI and used mustard gas
extensively, then advanced rapidly. This was the same gas that was
later used by Hitler against the Jews in Germany. The Italian Fascists
forces defeated Emperor Haile Sellassie's chiefs early in 1936, and the
monarch's own army at Mai Chew, at the end of March 1936, and entered
Addis Ababa on 5 May.

The Emperor appealed to the League in vain, on 30 June.  On 30 June,
Emperor Haile Sellassie 1st 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!")

H.I.M. Haile Sellassie 1st 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 Italian conquest was soon recognized by most of the
world, and the Emperor’s speech became most prophetic.

Soon after Benito Mussolini’s fascists cohorts Adolf Hitler began
exterminating the Jews and turned on every Nation in the exact order by which they
recognized Italian Victor Emmanuel III as Emperor of Ethiopia.
Ethiopian patriotic resistance nevertheless continued throughout the
Italian five-year occupation.

For further information and the most detailed description of the
genocide to be found anywhere please reserve the Ethiopian Holocaust Traveling
Museum by contacting DARC Foundation at

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