Italy found the area know as the Ethiopian highlands very appealing as
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Italy found the area know as the Ethiopian highlands very appealing, as did most of the imperialist powers during the time of the rule of Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie. Since Italy had been late in the scramble for Africa, they had lost most of their opportunities to get some of this lush, green land. Rather, they were left with an area know as Eritrea, best described as a dry, desolate desert region. Even though Italy had signed the twenty-five year Treaty of Friendship with Ethiopia in 1928, Italy wanted that land, and they would use force if necessary to get it.
Another treaty that angered and disappointed Italy even further was the Treaty of Versailles. Again, in this treaty and sharing of land, Italy was for the most part overlooked, having wanted some of that beautiful land found in the Ethiopian Highlands. Italy looked upon this land as a great chance for agricultural growth in their country. The cool climate and fertile, volcanic soils of Africa so much wanted by Italy were held by Ethiopian Emperors for a very long period of time, not to be sold, or even shared with Italy. For this reason, Benito Mussolini had a great deal of interest in these lands. The frustration that had built up over the years due to lack of security of the Ethiopian Emperors of their mountainous lands made Mussolini very interested in this land. He also wanted revenge for what had occurred at the 1896 Battle of Adowa, where thousands of Italian lives were taken by Ethiopian forces.
As a result of this uprising, war was soon following, and much sympathy became built up for the Ethiopian people, especially the Emperor, Haile Selassie. Many writings and views came via American journalists, especially James Baldwin. However, with all this world sympathy aside for the less-equipped Ethiopians, one group that did not show sympathy was the Roman Catholic Church.
During the 1930’s, Ethiopia was seen as the “bad neighbor” to most of the European countries, especially Italy. It was very easy for Italy to accuse Ethiopia of boundary problems because of the way the desert boundary of Italian Somaliland and Harar was not clearly defined. This boundary was where many nomadic Somalis traveled across in their long journeys. Tensions of this situation involving Italy and Benito Mussolini and Ethiopia started to flare with an assault on Italy brought on by aggravated Ethiopian soldiers. This situation, known as the incident at Wal-Wal, was not major, and it was quickly resolved by help from Haile Selassie, but it did eventually lead to more proportionate uprisings along that same border.
In 1930, Italian forces had supposedly built forts at certain positions in this Somali nomadic region. Since there was no immediate resistance brought on by the Ethiopians, the Italians had “assumed that the international community had recognized their rights over this area.” When an inspection of this border-area was done by an Anglo-Ethiopian boundary commission, they found the Italian positions to be controversial on their route to set territorial markers. The Italians protested this decision made by the commission, and the commission left the scene, to prevent any danger. However, they did leave behind some members of the Ethiopian military. These soldiers fought the Italian forces in a battle that started the eruption of fighting in this Italo-Ethiopian uprising.
When the League of Nations was brought into the matter in September, 1935, they found both the Italians and the Ethiopians guilty of this incident in Wal-Wal. A treaty was attempted to be set up stating that theses matters could be resolved according to the Ethiopians lead was directly rejected by Italy. Soon after this unresolved attempt at peace, On October 3, 1935, Italy attacked Ethiopia from the border at Wal-Wal without any direct warning, except the overall feeling of war in this whole situation. Almost instantly, Italy was declared the aggressor, and the beginning of the war began to become closer and closer.
As the beginning of the war came closer, Haile Selassie remained in Addis Abeba and tried to plan for the upcoming war. To him, as well as many others, this war seemed to be a sure victory for the Italians. The Ethiopian army continued “demanding weapons munitions, food,
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Battle of Adwa, Military history of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, Ethiopian National Defense Force, Second Italo-Ethiopian War, Battle of Maychew
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