technically italy just narrowly missed the breakout of world war ii with its invasion of abyssinia or modern day ethiopia the italian prime minister had decided to adopt a new expansionist policy for his country similar to the one taken by their soon-to-be axis ally of the german third reich the prime minister’s justification for his new goals with his eyes set particularly.
on africa was that he had no different intentions than any of the colonial powers who would seize territory on the african continent or anywhere else most of africa was controlled by european powers but one country into east africa was independent and shared a border with other italian territories in the region considering that ethiopia wasn’t a territory of any foreign power and shared.
a border with other italian territories the italian government which already had expansionist ideas considered the african country the best place to start their military actions but what really happened when italy invaded ethiopia the conflict came without warning and was accompanied by no declaration of war rather at five a.m on october third 1935.
marshall emilio de bono led 200 000 italian army men into ethiopia from the neighboring italian territory of eritrea simultaneously a smaller chunk of troops was led by general rodolfo graziani from italian somaliland as the bono crossed the marib river and began to advance with his men onto ethiopian soil the victimized country declared war on their invader despite the lack of such a statement from the italians themselves oddly though ethiopian emperor haile selassie had ordered.
the commander of the ethiopian army of tigra rasayou mangasha to pull his troops back roughly one day’s march away from the marab river additionally the emperor selassie also instructed the commander of the qatar haley selassie gugsa to withdraw to over 30 miles back from the ethiopian border now two days into the campaign the city of adegrat fell to the italian first corps and the following day on october 6th the italian second corps seized the town of adwar.
the advance then slowed down slightly the facts that would quickly displease the italian prime minister when he was informed but for now the next major event occurred on october 11th at which point gugsa who had pulled back from his position at the border with 1 200 men simply surrendered to the italians in actuality less than about one-tenth of googs’s troops were willing to surrender with him but nevertheless italian propaganda latched.
on to this moment and made the act of surrender by the ethiopian forces widely known in another three days on october 14th dibano utilized his newfound power after their initial success to proclaim an end to all slavery in ethiopia this move displayed how drastically unrushed the italian troops were to conquer more territory but it did also benefit the intruders now sleeve owners were not required to feed or provide for their slaves and given that.
a large amount of livestock and other sources of food had been sent south to help provide for the ethiopian army many of the newly freed slaves had no choice but to approach the italians for help with this new success the italians commanded by dibano moved on to capture where debano himself rode in on a white horse to loot the ancient obelisk of exun there was now a lull in progress which further agitated the italian prime minister.
when he got word of the fact that it was not until november 8th that the italian first corps teamed up with the eritrean corps to now take the city of makkale after the new expansion though the line of supply had been lengthened by roughly 56 miles and the roads in ethiopia were not great to begin with which prompted dibano to suggest that.
a new road from macalette and a grant be created before he and his men advanced any further eight days later dibano was promoted and received the honorable rank of marshall of italy but was replaced in ethiopia only a month later due to the leisurely pace of de bono’s campaign next came an initiative known as the christmas offensive the goal of the ethiopians was to attack the italians in the north using a multi-pronged ethiopian offensive split into a left centre and right grouping.
the ethiopians aim to divide the italian troops into two groups clashing the ethiopian right with the italian left and right and then pushing their way into eritrea with the ethiopian left the counter-offensive was to be carried out by raz imru haile selassie raz khasa highly dargah rasmullah gets a yagazu and raz seyum himself in total the ethiopian forces numbered around 190 000 men as compared to the approximately 125 000 italians and eritreans fighting with them as stated before the goal was to split the italian forces.
in two separating the italian first and third corps from one another rasmus lugeta would then work to defeat both isolated italian groups at the same time raz imro’s army of gazam would finally rush to retake edward and then cross the evertring border in hopes of making some progress on their neighbor’s soil the plan.
however did not go as the ethiopians had hoped first the army of gazam was bombed at the very start of their advanced which staggered the ethiopian troops and shook nearly half of the men so badly that they chose to abandon the cause immediately raz imru and the remainder of his men then met up with another ethiopian force led by ayalu beru and began to advance together toward.
the tekaze river whereas imru next sent a small group of men to the north west which the italians followed and attacked from the air as imru had predicted whilst the rest of baru and imru’s men were led by them north east during the night the ethiopians were quickly able to make progress after crossing the river on december 15th the italian defensive was weak and ethiopian morale began to skyrocket.
as they repeatedly beat back their invaders whilst the other ethiopian armies did the same in their respective positions the italians struggled to put up a solid defense for some time but finally on december 26th pietro bedolio received the go-ahead to use chemical warfare more specifically mustard gas as the italians rained mustard gas down on their opponents using air force bombers and special artillery canisters they also began to gain momentum with their more modernized weaponry such as machine guns as compared to the Ethiopians.
the tide of the battle turned in italy’s favor as more men from the italian third and fourth core join the fight at the start of the new year eventually the italian government announced the official annexation of ethiopia and the italian king victor emmanuel iii was named the emperor of ethiopia while italy had claimed authority over the region
the conflicts between local and occupying troops continued right up to the start of the second world war why did italy want to attack ethiopia to begin with the main reason may have stemmed from an earlier conflict between the two sides that the italian prime minister had never been able to forget the battle of adua which had occurred during the first italo-ethiopian war at the close of the 19th.
century had been absolutely beyond embarrassing for the italians the ethiopians had managed to outnumber their opponents and had weaponry supplied by both russia and france which led to a crushing defeat for the italians who had hoped to launch a new campaign of colonial expansion much like that of the second italo-ethiopian war the current italian administration was likely inspired not only by the old plans for expansion but also by a thirst for redemption.
after being humiliated the first time furthermore in december of 1934 a border skirmish broke out along the ethiopian and italian somaliland border that ended with a total of 200 casualties both italy and ethiopia were exonerated after the conflict but the italian prime minister was extremely displeased and believed that the ethiopians should have been held accountable for the deaths they caused and to add yet another motivation.
the annexation of ethiopia had the potential to help the invading nation counteract the effects of the great depression by providing an abundance of mineral resources and further producing job opportunities for unemployed italians this combination of influences likely all implemented a strong justification in the mind of the italian government for a renewed attempt at colonial expansion particularly in ethiopia plus italy had an authoritarian regime and seeks to conquer lands and expand.
as we said in the first part of the video for the italians conquering ethiopia was an opportunity for their expansionist policy considering that italy already controlled the italian somaliland and eritrea which made it even easier for them to make a new move toward occupation on the african continent.
Read More:: How many Japanese Served in the U.S Army in WW2?
Assalam o Aalaikum. My Name is Ayesha Khan and i am SEO Expert and Writer.