Sheba's Sons - Haile Selassie goes to Tokyo

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Hagre, Sep 23, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: Sheba's Wrath

    Hagre Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Greater Ethiopia
    Sheba's Wrath
    It was during the ceremony celebrating the submission of Ethiopian aristocrats to Rome and distribution of alms to the impoverished of Addis Ababa that two assassins - Abraham Deboch and Moges Asgedom - struck. In accordance with the plan drafted by Heruy Wolde Selassie, a total of 10 grenades were flung at Viceroy Rodolfo Graziani and the group accompanying him, a combination of Italian colonial officials and Ethiopian collaborators, who were unaware of the two Eritreans until it was too late. Shrapnel from the grenades' explosions turned the procession into chaos as Italians and Ethiopians alike bolted for safety as Graziani was torn into by approximately 365 fragments and would later bleed out while being rushed to the nearest medical facility. In the meantime, the Italian soldiers guarding Graziani wildly fired into the crowd and killed thousands, one Italian official going as far as to turn his revolver onto the aristocrats who had been observing the ceremony and order that Italian forces in Ethiopia be given a week to do carte blanche to the Ethiopian populace [1] to avenge Graziani. Using the chaos to their favor, Abraha and Moges fled the scene with the assistance of a sympathetic taxi driver with whose help they fled the city and eventually made contact with the units under Aberra Kassa, delivering reports of their success to the Regent, much to his grim satisfaction.

    In Addis Ababa, Italian settlers and soldiers rampaged across the city where they killed countless Ethiopians, burned their homes to the ground, claimed the houses of wealthier Ethiopians and generally wreaked havoc on the Ethiopian populace to the cries of "Duce! Duce!" and "Civilta Italiania!" that mixed with the cries of Ethiopians as they were struck down. This violence was soon extended to the rest of Ethiopia where Italian forces pillaged and killed Ethiopians indiscriminately in spite of Graziani's attempts at appealing to the allegedly downtrodden ethnic and religious groups, driving more Ethiopians into the hands of Imru's movement and bolstering the offensive he commanded. By the end of the week, around 50,000 people had been brutally murdered at the hands of the Italian troops and their Askari companions, having completed the task of avenging Graziani with tens of thousands of lives and ridding themselves of any potential cooperation from Ethiopia's people whilst also unintentionally expanding the ranks of the Patriots. The Italians were also joined by their puppets in the National Ethiopian Army and Royal Army of Oromia in carrying out their own atrocities, further betraying their own populations. It had led the Patriots to grow from a mere 40,000 men to an entire field army of 100,000 men across the occupied Empire.

    Graziani's assassination was followed by that of Hailu's during Yohannes Iyasu's attack on Gondar and Jifar narrowly avoided the same fate when Dejazmach Geresu Duki launched an all-out assault on Jimma. The only thing preventing the fall of these towns to Patriot control was the hasty relocation of Italian units from the southern front, the Italians bringing down their firepower on the advancing Patriot columns and forcing them back. The same thing was happening in Hararghe as Nasibu coordinated a series of attacks against the Italian garrisons in Dire Dawa and Harar, exploiting the anger of the nomadic Somalis at Italy's bombardment of several mosques in Harar and commanding them to support a rout. The Hararis themselves had been horrified at the looting, killing and destruction of their namesake city's mosques and upon Nasibu lending his support to help them, they happily accepted and rose up against their collaborating lords to drive out the Italian units occupying the city. This was at least successful as Nasibu's men marched into the heart of Harar and for a time, managed to hold onto the city and defend it against the repeated Italian attacks until the city was reduced nearly to rubble and eventually seized back by the Italians in late 1937 to early 1938.

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    Geresu Duki observes his men march across the Omo River, March 1937.

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    Harari volunteers on the outskirts of Harar, March-April 1937.

    The February Offensive proved to be a failure despite inflicting relatively heavy casualties on the Italian and satellite forces, even making some gains. It failed to achieve most of its strategic objectives as the Italians reoccupied the bigger cities, leaving those units that'd taken them mauled and ruthlessly subjugated the natives of those population centers. It did have the effect of improving moral amongst the soldiers under Imru's command and the general populace who'd almost resigned themselves to the Italian occupation after Ras Desta's army had been wiped out and Desta himself nearly captured [2] in Sidamo province. In fact, the successful assassinations and subsequent reprisals had inspired resistance to the Italian presence, many coming to believe that the Imperial government and armies hadn't abandoned them to Rome and many more joining the ranks of those same guerrillas operating under the central command of Imru's movement.

    Rome itself was shocked at the wave of assassinations that swept Italian-occupied Ethiopia and Mussolini was enraged at the death of the Butcher of Fezzan, replacing him with the more liberal Duke of Aosta, Prince Amedeo who set to work attempting to rectify the damages from the Patriots' attacks and in the pacification of the native Ethiopian populace. Under his tenure, there would be the release of hundreds of Ethiopian prisoners from the concentration camps in the Dahlak Archipelago and Somali coastline as well as the easing of the repression and the formulation of a new colonial policy toward the Ethiopian aristocracy in which they were to assist in the governance of the Italian East African colony. However, this was too little, too late - the Ethiopian population was overwhelmingly sympathetic toward Imru's Patriots and increasingly hostile to the Italian colonial administration who, despite Amedeo's overtures, had revealed their true colors after Yekatit 12. Not to mention, Rome had yet to figure out how to handle the Patriotic movement adequately, the pacification units in the Highlands coming back slaughtered while Imru oversaw the reorganization of his guerrilla armies and prepared them for the use of more unconventional means, having since shed the opinion that his men were capable of directly attacking the Italians without taking heavier casualties.

    More importantly, the failure of the February Offensive had done nothing for the degrading relationship between Imru and Haile Selassie, the former angered at the glaring issues of Heruy's theoretical plan and more so at the presence of Ethiopian soldiers in China since Japan's invasion in 1937. It would be the beginning of the end between the two royals, especially as it begun becoming clear that the Emperor was becoming completely subject to the whims of Tokyo and that the supposedly free Imperial Ethiopian Army was under the command of the Japanese officer corps that had come to power with Sadao Araki's insistence. Perhaps it was this that contributed the most to the emergence of Imru at the forefront of Ethiopia when it regained its independence in the midst of the Second World War.

    ----
    [1] The Italian official is Federal Secretary Guido Cortese and that bit about him firing his sidearm into the group of Ethiopian dignitaries is IOTL but the extension of the period of Yekatit 12 is an addition on my part for the successful assassination of the Viceroy. See Haile Selassie's War by Anthony Mockler for more.

    [2] ITTL, he's not captured and executed by the Italians, barely managing to escape and instead heading for the Ethiopian plateau to link up with Imru.
     
  2. Threadmarks: Sheba's Panthers

    Hagre Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2019
    Location:
    Greater Ethiopia
    Sheba's Panthers

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    The Duke of Aosta arrives in Ethiopia and is received by Amedeo Guillet, March 1937.

    Upon becoming the Viceroy of Italian East Africa, Amedeo had inherited the many problems of Graziani's colonial administration and needed to deal with Imru's insurgents. He went with a more liberal approach, setting free the hundreds in concentration camps spread across the Italian colonial empire and repatriated them back to Ethiopia where they were supported by the colonial administration and closely monitored, regardless of their backgrounds. The Duke of Aosta was particularly interested in exploiting the submission of the Ethiopian aristocracy to relieve some of the pressures of governing a restive Ethiopia [1] with a realization that feudal culture in Ethiopia entailed the need for traditional leadership to oversee the populace. Although their influence and power was significantly curbed, the aristocrats were to act as agents of Italy and facilitate Ethiopian participation in their becoming subjects of Mussolini's New Roman Empire in the hopes that would rectify the worse of the February massacres. Amedeo's willingness to include those aristocrats, alongside indigenous cooperation, could be seen in the establishment of the Council of Empire [2] which was to be a political assembly of six members representing the six governorates and peoples that made up Ethiopia. Proposed members included Ras Hailu of Amhara, Sultan Abdullahi of Harar, Abba Jifar of Oromia, Ras Seyoum of Tigray and Ras Gugsa of Eritrea.

    There'd even been plans to introduce an East African branch of the PNF in Ethiopia but the assassination of Hailu and hospitalization of Jifar led Rome to postpone the implementation of the Council of Empire as Italian forces rampaging in Ethiopia clashed with Imru's troops intervening. In Amhara, Afawarq replaced Hailu as "Meri" of the Amhara Kingdom and eagerly begun instituting his reforms, emulating Mussolini's own moves toward Italy's Fascization across the '20s and cooperated with Italy in what he saw as strengthening Ethiopia, starting with the Amhara nucleus. This led to Afawarq, interestingly enough, making an effort to encourage Amhara nationalism in a bid to increase his own support and granted clemency to captured Patriots, in direct opposition with Rome's orders to execute captured Patriots, in order to conscript them into the ranks of the National Ethiopian Army. In Oromia, the Sultan had finally recovered enough by the end of February to focus on governing his dominion and mimicked Afawarq in bolstering the ranks by issuing orders for conscription into the Royal Oromo Army to support the Italian pacification campaigns being carried out against Geresu Duki's men. All the while, these two nations clashed with one another over the atrocities that their forces committed against each other's populace, Rome's divide-and-conquer policies often running counter to the support role those unofficial Askaris were playing when combined.

    Imru had observed with bemusement when Italy attempted to exploit the Ethiopian aristocracy, promptly failing when he reacted with the necessary assassinations being applied and when they ended up being freeloaders dependent on hand-outs from Rome as a result of the confiscation of their landed estates. The pacification campaigns had done little to dislodge his men from their dominance of the countryside but inflicted heavy casualties on the attackers, especially when they attempted to employ armored support and were unceremoniously destroyed by small squads. It led a Holeta cadet to say, "The Italians are good at digging trenches and we are good at converting trenches into graves. They, too, know this. We know each other very well." [3] when Italian positions were overrun. However, despite Ethiopian success in the expansion of the guerrilla networks and attacks against Italian forces, they were too ill-equipped and lacking in support for the task of reclaiming their dense population centers. It didn't help that much of what Haile Selassie had promised was stuck abroad - in Japan who'd become bogged down in eastern China and in need of more manpower to sustain their advance, turned to the Ethiopian community and called on them to "volunteer" so that they could loyally serve both Hirohito and Haile Selassie - with the ultimate aim of liberating Ethiopia, and potentially Africa, from European rule.

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    Ethiopian soldiers in China, August 1937.
    Speaking of the Chinese, things had not been going well for Nanjing since the assassination of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek during the 1936 Xi'an Incident [4] and the ascendance of his son, Chiang Wei-Kuo, to power as the new President of the Chinese Republic. Chiang's death sparked the Kuomintang's factionalization, something that was only abated by the emergence of the Blue Shirts Society at the forefront of the Chinese government, owing to its control of the valuable Whampoa Military Academy and influential members that were already in office under Kai-Shek. Exploiting his father's martyrdom and corruption in all levels of Chinese government, Chiang Wei-Kuo managed to replace his father as President and begun to reorganize the Kuomintang along the lines of both Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany. It wasn't too long before the new administration in Nanjing was asserting itself and reassuming the same position of dominance that Kai-Shek's government had after the Northern Expedition of the late '20s, turning towards the Fascist nations of Europe in order to receive assistance in the area of reorganizing the National Revolutionary Army. Still suspecting Tokyo of supporting Imru and angry at them for harboring Haile Selassie, Mussolini agreed to send advisors to China alongside those of the existing German Military Mission as a means of getting even with the Japanese.

    Meanwhile, Marcus Garvey had denounced the Dominicans for the wholesale slaughter of their Haitian citizens and threw his support behind Jean Prince-Mars' decision to intervene. This was seen in the support that manifested in the form of shipments of much-needed arms and machine tools, accompanied by a combined team of veteran Universal African Corps officers. The small number of Haitian cadets that trained at the Martin Delany Military Academy [5] in Monrovia were hurriedly sent back to Haiti before they could finish their education, owing to the HNU government's need for Black officers to replace Mulatto officers in the midst of the war with the Dominicans. By the 1930s, the Dominican Army had evolved into a centralized, well-disciplined and well-equipped force that was under Trujillo's complete control, capable of the counteroffensives that followed the Haitians' initial attacks and successfully recovered all the land that had been lost up to the Haitian border by November. All the while, the Dominican National Police continued to root out Haitians hiding amongst the Afro-Dominican community and vigorously persecute them, either driving them out or outright killing them as the reorganization of the Haitian officer corps was complete by the time the support from Liberia arrived.

    The Haitian counterattacks came all across the Dominican frontier, led by the more well-trained and well-equipped Haitian units who threw themselves at the Dominican positions with reckless abandon. For the first time in the war since October, the Dominicans were forced to retreat and Haitian forces commanded by volunteers from the African Universal Corps pursued them relentlessly, launching attack after attack, regardless of losses, into the Dominican Republic proper. It all came to an end with both countries having sustained relatively heavy casualties - the Haitians much more than their Mestizo counterparts - and its larger northern neighbor in the United States promising to intervene unless both agreed to peace, which they promptly did. After a month of negotiations in Washington, Port-au-Prince and Santo Domingo had agreed to return to the pre-November borders of 1937 as well as for Santo Domingo to repatriate all of its Haitians to Haiti and with a total compensation sum of $US 725,000. In Haiti, Jean-Mars hailed Haitian "victory" and expulsion of the "barbarous descendants of the genocidal Spanish Conquistadors" while Trujillo lavishly praised the Dominican soldiers for standing steadfastly and for saving the Republic from the "uncivilized Negroid hordes of the Dark Continent."

    Despite total casualties numbering in the high thousands, the war was popular with Haiti's public in the defense of their downtrodden brethren in the east and when their same oppressor reared its ugly head in the form of the Dominicans' conquest and subjugation of Hispaniola's Blacks, the war of liberation was soon changed to that of a war of defense. The ongoing purges of the Mulatto elite were quickened as many came to see them as a third column, owing partly to Prince-Mars' ruthless criticisms of Stenio Vincent's connections to Trujillo's government [7], and pre-existing dissent toward Haiti's Mulatto bourgeoisie would boil over from fear into anger at the past injustices. It helped complete Port-au-Prince's program of supplementing and replacing the Mulatto officer corps with the cadets that had been trained in Monrovia while also allowing unemployed Haitians job opportunity in the areas of public works, expansion of the armaments industry, etc. as the economy somewhat recovered from the Great Depression. The compensation of the Washington Treaty was partially diverted toward the setting up of government programs that employed skilled instructors from the Liberian-owned Negro Factories Corporation and in spite of everything, the Haitian economy was making a gradual comeback to the economic boom it'd experienced in the Roaring Twenties as Port-au-Prince begun to invite Black businessmen over the New World to invest in Haiti.

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    Haitian artillery bombards Dominican positions, December 1938.
    In Monrovia, the officers arriving from Haiti were received with pompous celebrations, although Marcus Garvey had noticed they seemed to be a bit muted in contrast to the Black Star Regiment. Although there had been much pride taken in Liberian troops fighting in Ethiopia and Haiti, many simply wanted their sons to return home and the internationalist orientation of Liberian nationalism started to swing to that of a more territorial-based nationalist stance that insisted Liberia focus on itself instead of overextending itself across the Negro world without resources to spare. This had usually been the stance taken by the UNIA members who'd lived much of their lives in their native Liberia and by Americo-Liberian elites integrated into the Garveyite government, most notably William Tubman. Tubman's famous quote shows this clearly when he states, "Have we not the right, in the face of all these difficulties, beyond and over our sacred rights to demand the unification of Liberia and her former territories so that we restore to ourselves living space which was so wrongly stolen from us? Europe has found living space for herself in the remote lands that constitute the Dark and Yellow Continents - even the Egyptians have found living space for excess population in the Sudan. Why should Liberia not have the right to demand not to be strangled in a strip of land that is too narrow for us, and how else shall we manage otherwise as time passes and our number doubles? Liberia has the right to aspire to become a Great West African Empire, the guardian of the Atlantic African Coast, to be the leader of Western African nations." [8]

    This was partially facilitated by Liberian officers that had come back after serving in Ethiopia and/or Haiti, arguing that it was high time for the Liberians to secure their homes before any affairs overseas. These men were arguing for Liberia to instead focus her efforts primarily and almost entirely on that of West Africa or else they'd succumb to the same fate the Ethiopians had in '36. The extensive Garveyist networks in the British and French West African colonies were to be used to whip up the native populations into a nationalistic frenzy that would reverberate throughout the region and with Liberian officers at its head, its independence was to be enforced by West African bayonets. Seeing Nazi Germany as an act to follow, they were strongly in favor of the restructuring of Liberia along National Socialist lines and this was seen in men like Carlos A. Cooks who later admitted to admiring Hitler and would be all too happy to see Hitler declare war on the whole of Europe [9] to allow for the Africans to reclaim Africa. To a lesser extent, there was also admiration for Mussolini's Italy and even the suggestion that an alliance be made with Rome against the encroaching influence of Socialism on African intellectuals and in direct opposition to the USSR's promises to bring Communism worldwide. However, this was immediately shot down and there was no guarantee that Italy wouldn't backstab Liberia in the process and attempt to colonize her. The forming of a bloc such as this one would split the Universal Negro Improvement Association into Black internationalist and Liberian nationalist factions, something that alarmed Garvey and forced him to confront issues that came with the nature of the UNIA as 1938 came around.

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    Veterans of the Universal African Corps on drill, January 1938.

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    [1] This was attempted by the Italian colonial administration and Ministry of Colonies but failed to have any positive result after Yekatit 12. See Italy and the Treatment of the Ethiopian Aristocracy, 1937-1940 by Alberto Sbacchi for more.

    [2] This is all IOTL. See the above link for more.

    [3] This is just really a modified quote from Samora Yunis during the Eritrean-Ethiopian War of '98.

    [4] An errant shot from an eager army officer kills Chiang during the Incident ITTL.


    [5] Mostly a reference to Martin Delany, the father of Black nationalism.

    [6] See The Modern Military Under Trujillo for more.

    [7] Stenio was not exactly popular IOTL when he came to power in '34, especially owing to his connections with Trujillo's regime and the Mulatto bourgeoisie. See Red and Black in Haiti: Radicalism, Conflict and Political Change, 1934-1957 by Matthew J. Smith for more.

    [8] A modified quote from that of Muhammad Ali Aluba regarding Egyptian living space in Sudan in 1942. For the exact quote, see the World Future Fund article on Totalitarianism in the Islamic World and Nazi Germany for more.

    [9] There was quite a bit of admiration for Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany on the part of Black nationalists during the '40s. See Under Cover - My Four Years in the Nazi Underworld of America by John Roy Carlson for more.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
  3. twistedirregular Negus Negast

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Location:
    The Kingdom of Abyssinia
    Interesting timeline. Reminds me of my Ras Imru one, although it seems yours is much more detailed yet straight to the point.
     
    Alpha-King98760 and Hagre like this.
  4. Hagre Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2019
    Location:
    Greater Ethiopia
    That was actually a major inspiration behind this TL, especially with the decision of having Imru replace Haile Selassie after the war.

    For anyone who hasn't read the timeline, here's the link to the new Conquering Lion of Judah, Ras Imru! timeline.
     
    twistedirregular likes this.
  5. Threadmarks: When That Day Comes

    Hagre Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2019
    Location:
    Greater Ethiopia
    When That Day Comes

    Excerpt from A History of African Radicalism by Paul Gilroy

    Ethiopia's collapse in '36 had left Liberia and Egypt as the sole independent nations of Africa and it was at that point that the Ethiopian example was made an important case for what happened to countries who failed to modernize in the face of European colonialism. It was with the example of Italian-occupied Ethiopia that the respective governments of Liberia and Egypt pursued extensive programs of armament that was intended to support their armed forces to defend against what was increasingly perceived to be rampant European imperialism. In Egypt, there still remained the vestiges of the continued British occupation which remained a sore reminder and Ahmad Husayn's government took steps to rectify this by placing pressure on London, playing up fears of Mussolini going mad and attacking the Suez Canal. The increasing presence of Italian soldiers in colonial Libya and occupied Ethiopia inadvertently reinforced this, especially with Mussolini's attempts to assure the British government that he had little intention to interfere in an affair that did not concern it. Although the pro-Italy Young Egypt Party maintained party-to-party links with its Italian counterpart, Husayn was aware of the Italians' designs on Egypt itself and this reinforced a widespread notion that Egyptian rearmament was necessary for the maintenance of Egypt's embryonic independence.

    Meanwhile, in Liberia, Marcus Garvey had overseen the transformation of the Liberian Frontier Force from an ill-trained and ill-equipped militia into a respectable fighting force that actually outmatched the units defending the nearby British and French colonies. Appalled at the state of the Liberian military when he emigrated in 1927, Garvey had set to work expanding the existing Universal African Corps with assistance from the many African-American veterans of the Great War [1] into something rivaling the LFF itself and started integrating the former into the latter when he came to power in '31. These veterans proved to be invaluable in the service of the Garveyite state, properly reorganizing and reforming the Liberian Frontier Force in tandem with the UAC leadership and competent Liberian officers. In addition to the LFF's reform and expansion, Garvey personally oversaw the expansion of the Negroes Factories Corporation into the arms manufacturing and standardized the LFF's equipment, starting with making the 1903 Springfield rifle the standard rifle of the Liberian soldier. Although successful in the regular production of small arms to thoroughly equip the Liberian Frontier Force, the LFF was noticeably lacking in heavy artillery and armored units that the NFC was struggling to produce.

    By 1938, the Liberian Frontier Force had grown to 9,772 men with many of them having served in Ethiopia or Haiti from 1935-38 and was considered a formidable fighting force capable of successfully taking on the British and French garrisons stationed in the colonies nearby, Charles Young [2] himself praising Garvey for the reform of the LFF. Despite being considerably slowed by Washington's restrictions, Blacks that had joined the Universal Negro Improvement Association continued to be recruited in the Liberian Program and continued immigrating to Liberia [3] which had effectively replaced Ethiopia in the Black Diaspora by the late 1930s. To a lesser extent, this was also happening with Blacks coming from the Caribbean (mostly Jamaicans) and South America. However, the Liberian Frontier Force now possessed a steady influx of able-bodied manpower that would be the basis of the African Liberation campaign that many of the UNIA's dogmatic officials continued to believe in, even as Garvey toned down his rhetoric. Interestingly, the Garveyite government took cues from Italy's demographic colonization of its Libyan colony under Italo Balbo and although it avoided much of the violence that had occurred under Graziani, Monrovia was willing to crack down particularly harshly on the historically troublesome ethnic groups like the Kru and expropriate them from their land in favor of Black settlers from the Americas.

    Speaking of emulating Italian colonization, Marcus Garvey had done much to denounce it and side with the pro-Ethiopia sentiment reverberating through Africa but he continuing praising the Fascist powers that were Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany even in the Second World War. His infamous quote, "We were the first Fascists, when we had 100,000 disciplined men, and were training children, Mussolini was still an unknown. Mussolini copied our Fascism." in 1937 seems proof of this and has been used by Garvey's critics to denounce him as little else than a "Brown Fascist." This could also be seen in other quotes made at the time and Garvey's open admiration of Hitler [4] that represented the disturbing growth of pro-National Socialist trend not just in Liberia but in the non-European world too. An example of this is Husayn's moves toward establishing party-to-party relations with the NSDAP in March 1938, at the height of Italo-German tensions over the German annexation of Austria, and praised both Hitler's support for Nationalist factions and General Franco's many accommodations particularly for his Moroccan soldiers. This may have been done to redirect Italian ambitions in North Africa to Central Europe where Mussolini saw Austria in the context of a grander New Roman Empire project. In the meantime of Italy's distractions in Spain, Austria and Ethiopia, Husayn stuck to Young Egypt's promises and begun vigorously expanding the Egyptian state's role in the economy to counteract British predominance and support Egyptian militarization.

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    Egyptian troops on drill in Sudan, March 1938.

    Pro-Nazi sentiment could also be felt in the UNIA where some, like Carlos Cooks and William Tubman, concluded that another European War was inevitable and Germany would eventually emerge victorious in a long, drawn-out war of attrition that would see the Third Reich control most of Europe, sans the USSR. In the process, West European colonial empires would disintegrate with their homelands' focus on defense of its European frontiers and a Continent-wide uprising that would see Black Africans liberate themselves from the shackles of decades of brutal imperialism. It was only natural that the Germans would seek the cooperation of Africa's independent governments that would expel the Western Allies from Africa entirely and further cripple them by cutting off their access to their precious colonies. In coordination with Egypt, the British, French and Italian armies would be driven across the Mediterranean and destroyed by German forces, effectively ushering in German control over Europe. The Germans, tied down in pacification and integration of its new territories, would be too busy to subvert African governments while strengthening themselves, forming into a Pan-African Bloc to stave off the plans of organizations like the Reich Colonial League [5] to reclaim former colonies. Thus, the world would be divided into several spheres: German-controlled Europe, Japanese-dominated Asia and Liberian-led Africa.

    The Liberian High Command was not as eager to embrace these proposals, Charles Young pointing out that Liberian forces might be able to successfully annex Sierra Leone, in addition to parts of the Gold Coast and Guinea but nothing else. Although the UNIA possessed an extensive network in West Africa, there was no guaranteeing that all or even most West Africans would rise up in favor of the Liberian "liberation," in which the Garveyites had done a fine job influencing West African nationalism [6] and potentially encouraged anti-Liberian nationalism in the process. Not to mention that the chapters in central and southern Africa were being cracked down upon with vigor in response to the wave of anti-colonialism and nationalism in Africa, the ones in British and French West African colonies doing better under liberal regimes. The LFF High Command also pointed out that the Liberian military was sorely lacking in heavy artillery and armor to support the well-trained and well-armed light infantry. This all meant although the LFF had surely improved and might've been capable of knocking out their European counterparts, it wouldn't be able to carry out much other than blitzkrieg and static defense when faced with a massive counteroffensive from the combined might of the Anglo-French empires.

    Despite the LFF's protests, Garvey ordered that his commanders outline a plan but acceded to the protests that the LFF was incapable of conquering all of West Africa and focused on places where the Garveyite networks were the strongest and the LFF could count on local support. This was followed by the gradual dissemination of arms in that colony, in addition to Guinea and Nigeria where Garveyite cadres showed a willingness in favor of Liberian "intervention and liberation," as Liberian agents begun to join the ranks of the colonial garrisons. The escalation of the Spanish Civil War lends concrete evidence to the pro-Nazis, especially with Franco's push via Morocco and the Italo-German intervention against the Republicans in July 1936. Moscow's support for the Republican government only reinforces this further and the narrative of another European war on the horizon attracts more to their side as Europe seems ready to burst at the seams over this new conflict. Garvey gave the order to partly mobilize the Universal African Corps when the International Brigades were organized under Republican command in September 1936, the Nationalists threatening to overrun the Republican militias with the vastly superior Army of Africa's regulars.

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    Moroccan soldiers around Madrid, July 1938.

    Excerpt from Prevail: The Inspiring Story of Ethiopia's Victory over Mussolini's Invasion, 1935-1945 by Jeff Pearce
    Much of 1938 was spent rebuilding the units mauled or lost in the February Offensives, mobilizing and in isolation of Haile Selassie's Provisional Government in Tokyo. Imru was content to oversee the small-unit attacks that had become the norm but Lorenzo Taezaz had pointed out that not just the Emperor-in-exile was demanding larger-scale attacks but the restive population was too, desiring revenge. In the Ogaden and Sidamo, Nasibu Emmanuel managed to exploit the anger of local Muslims at the destruction of Harar's mosques and amass a calvary force of southern nomads. Under Imru's orders, Nasibu begun attacking Italian forces stationed in the Ogaden, personally leading a series of coordinated attacks by Somali calvarymen against the Italian-controlled towns in the east and struck Kelafo, the center of Sultan Olol Diinle's collaborationist administration. Diinle was killed by an errant bullet in the midst of the calvary charge and Kelafo was placed under Patriotic control within a day, Nasibu having kicked out the Somali levies. They soon attract the attention of the Somali Askaris positioned close to the former border with Italy's Somaliland colony located at Mustahil and they moved to retake the town, only to be wiped out in a pre-emptive strike as Nasibu withdrew into the surrounding countryside.

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    Oromo and Somali calvary in Bale, June 1938.

    Although the town soon fell back into Italian hands, the loss of such a prominent collaborator dealt a heavy blow to the Italian colonial administration and its ties with the local Somalis. After all, Harar was to be considered Islam's fourth holiest city by them and the destruction it was subject to didn't present a positive image to them, already having isolated the Hararis. It was only through Diinle that the Somalis of the area had remained somewhat amicable to the Italian presence even when Italian soldiers rampaged in Jijiga and Dire Dawa but the Patriots' influence was growing by the day. Imru himself was reported to have made promises of delivering religious freedom and autonomy to the Ogadeni Somalis, noting that these Catholics had already betrayed Ethiopia's Orthodox Christians and slaughtered their fellow Muslims in that Libyan colony under the now-dead Butcher of Fezzan. Contrary to Italian propaganda, the Orthodox Christians had been willing to treat their Muslim brothers as fellow Ethiopians and Imru urged them to rise up against the "accursed Catholic infidels," daring to refer to play on the historical enmity between the Catholic Portuguese and Muslim Adal Sultanate. Who was to say that they wouldn't be next?

    Besides the increasing anti-Italian feeling in the Muslim provinces and Nasibu's attacks, the Italian colonial administration was being hampered by the mounting losses that Italian forces were suffering and even more so by Mussolini's decision to commit Italian "volunteers" to Franco's Nationalists in July 1936. This meant that even with the rampant assassinations of officers and even generals like Guglielmo Nasi in the talks of March 1939 [7] and need for skilled manpower, Italy was actually withdrawing entire divisions from occupied Ethiopia and replacing them with conscripts from Italy proper or more colonial soldiers. They weren't exactly successful in achieving their colonization aims, having failed to settle the 35,000 Italians that had been encouraged to go to Ethiopia and forcing them to remain within the cities where Rome had planned they would come to replace the native Ethiopians in their grand redesign of Addis Ababa. The fertile lands that were promised to them were also spread across the Highlands and southern provinces, of which both were predominantly under Patriotic control. Not to mention the growing financial burdens of maintaining their presence in Ethiopia while simultaneously spending millions on the development of their colonial empire [8] and on supplying the Nationalists in Spain with adequate equipment that were showing just how worth attempting to make Ethiopia an Italian colony was.

    Worse was growing international opinion against the Italian occupation of Ethiopia, many countries in the League having refused to recognize, and against the atrocities that defined Rome's presence in Ethiopia as the Ethiopian and Liberian delegates continued showing evidence of said atrocities that Mussolini either tried to downplay or outright deny. This had led to isolation amongst the Western countries, even when they seemed to be supporting Italy against Germany in the Austrian crisis and led Italy to look toward Germany as a possible ally even with the Germans' support for Imru's movement. Hitler's anti-Asian stance and hardline anti-Communism had only reinforced Mussolini's increasingly positive perception of him as they both moved closer toward an outright alliance aimed at defending the Fascist powers of Europe from the Western democracies. This is what ultimately drove the final nail into the coffin of Italy's dream of a grand colonial empire as Germany declared war on Poland and subsequently defeated the Western Allies, joining the Axis in June 1940 when French collapse was confirmed inevitable by the German drive on Paris. This would finally convince the Allied Powers to take pity on the occupied Ethiopians and support Imru in his venture to restore Ethiopian sovereignty with British assistance, seeing Ethiopian troops march back into Addis Ababa exactly to the day that the capital had fallen into Italian hands.

    [​IMG]

    Imru's Imperial Guardsmen poised to retake back the cities, September 1939.

    ----
    [1] Not a few African-American veterans of World War I joined the Universal Negro Improvement Association, often radicalized by Garvey's moving speeches after their experiences arriving back home from the egalitarian France and often turning to other radical nationalist organizations like the African Blood Brotherhood. See Vanguards of the New Negro: African American Veterans and Post-World War I Militancy by Chad L. Williams for more.

    [2] ITTL, Charles Young lives longer and eventually becomes a citizen of Garveyite Liberia, rapidly rising through the LFF's ranks.

    [3] It was during the 1920s that the narratives of "African Liberation" and other related material begun to come to the forefront of radical nationalism amongst African-Americans. This included an identification of African-Americans and Blacks in the New World as a whole with their African brethren, more specifically Ethiopia under Haile Selassie. However, the rise of Liberia under Garvey and fall of Ethiopia in 1936 has allowed for Liberia to replace Ethiopia, leading increased immigration to Liberia with the support of the UNIA. See Black Land: Imperial Ethiopianism and African America by Nadia Nurhussein for more.

    [4] Surprisingly, this was also IOTL. In spite of his supposed pro-Ethiopia sentiment, Marcus Garvey maintained a favorable view of the Fascist powers of Europe and even wanted to emulate them in some ways in his dream of a grand African Empire which would've already been proto-Fascist in essence anyways. See Marcus Garvey's views of Fascism as they relate to the Black struggle for equal rights: an analysis of commentaries from The Black Man, 1935-1939 by Francine M. King and Black Fascisms: African American Literature and Culture Between the Wars by Mark Christian Thompson for more.

    [5] AKA the Reichskolonialbund.

    [6] See The Garvey Movement in West Africa by R.L. Okonkwo for more.

    [7] Negotiations and attempts to attract Ras Abebe Aregai to the Italian side were constantly made by the colonial administration, nearly ending in March 1940 when Nasi agreed to meet with Abebe Aregai and was tipped off by an Ethiopian informer that the guerrilla commander planned to ambush him with 20,000 men. These talks are bumped up earlier, owing to the mounting losses suffered by Italy and Nasi is actually killed during his approach to Abebe Aregai's base in Menz. See Haile Selassie's War by Anthony Mockler and Prevail: The Inspiring Story of Ethiopia's Victory over Mussolini's Invasion, 1935-1941 by Jeff Pearce for more.

    [8] See Serendipitous Resistance in Fascist-Occupied Ethiopia, 1936-1941 by Charles Schaefer and Revisiting resistance in Italian-occupied Ethiopia: The Patriots’ Movement (1936-1941) and the redefinition of post-war Ethiopia by Aregawi Berhe for more.
     
  6. twistedirregular Negus Negast

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    Nice to hear that my timeline inspired yours. It also looks like Haile Selassie will be too far away to reclaim his throne by the time the Allies invade the AOI colony - I wonder how this Imru is different from that of OTL? Maybe he ends up actually implementing his Socialistic ideas and returning Moscow's diplomatic overtures, becoming closer to the USSR?
     
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  7. Hagre Well-Known Member

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    I'll confirm that Imru does indeed implement more Socialist ideas ITTL but not which ones or that he'll necessarily become closer to the Soviets because of them.
     
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  8. twistedirregular Negus Negast

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    I feel like Imru's Ethiopia ends up looking like Kwame Nkrumah's Ghana or Julius Nyerere's Tanzania as opposed to the doctrinaire position of the EPRP and Derg IOTL. It'd be interesting to see him become one of the foremost proponents on African Socialist ideology alongside the aforementioned leaders, though I don't think Garvey would approve.
     
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  9. Threadmarks: Sheba's Liberation

    Hagre Well-Known Member

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    Sheba's Liberation

    Excerpt from Prevail: The Inspiring Story of Ethiopia's Victory over Mussolini's Invasion, 1935-1945 by Jeff Pearce
    Italy's invasion of British Somaliland in August 1940 saw the colony fall to Italian forces within weeks, forcing the British into the Red Sea and expanding the Empire at the latter's expense. It was followed up by the Italian incursions into Sudan that ended in Italian victory as Eritrean Askaris took Kassala, Gallabat, Qeissan, Kurmuk and Dumbode over the course of July. The string of victories was ended with the halting of Italy's advance in Sudan and the fortification of the towns that had fallen to Italian forces in such rapid succession. It was the volatile situation in East Africa that Archibald Wavell, Commander-in-Chief Middle East, approved the mobilization of three Free Ethiopian brigades from refugees spread across Sudan and Kenya. The few battalions formed in August 1940 in British Somaliland had fought alongside British units in their retreat to the Red Sea were moved from Aden to Kenya where they became the trained and experienced core of the Alula Legion, [1] or Free Ethiopian Forces. Their training ended in September 1940 as William Platt's Indian units started arriving and Alula's Legion was attached to the 5th Indian Division which stood poised to attack Gallabat and did so in November.
    A deception campaign developed by Lt.-Colonel Dudley Clarke managed to trick the Italians into believing that instead of launching an invasion of Italian Eritrean and occupied Ethiopia, the British were going to utilize the newly arrived Indian divisions in the reconquest of British Somaliland. Although initially successful, it backfired when the Italians sent two of their divisions to Eritrea in the evacuation of Somaliland in November and caused delays in Platt's plans to invade in February 1941. Thankfully, Imru received word of those reinforcements and managed to arrange for Abebe Aregai to launch coordinated assaults on the reinforcements, tying down and spreading Italian forces thinner while British invasion from Sudan and Kenya was inevitable. The 1st Infantry Brigade of Alula's Legion took part in the opening salvo against their enemies' positions on the Sudanese border with Ethiopia and forced them back into Eritrea. Despite Agordat was taken relatively easily, Barentu doesn't budge as easily and only falls in early February when the Ethiopians, supported by Sudanese machine gunners, outflank the Italians and force them back towards Karen. It was there that the Italians exploited the mountainous terrain that, if left undefended, would see the colonial capital Asmara left open to the Allied advance and the loss of Italian Eritrea would surely force Italian capitulation in East Africa.

    [​IMG]

    Ethiopian soldiers and a British officer pose with two captured Italian tanks in Eritrea, January 1941.

    In the Ethiopian interior, Imru was ecstatic at Mussolini's decision to join the Axis and at the British agreeing to his demands through Lorenzo Taezaz in Khartoum, especially pleased with the explicit recognition of Imru's authority over Haile Selassie who bitterly protested this from Tokyo. There was a sharp increase in attacks against the Italian-controlled towns and the destruction of entire units patrolling the Patriots' territories in futile attempts at pacification, something the Duke of Aosta did not fail to notice and was forced to spread his men thin in battle with these wild guerrillas. The British counterattacks into Eritrea and the western provinces of Gondar and Gojjam were done in tandem with the renewed Patriot push on Debre Marqos and Debre Tabor under Dejazmach Belay Zeleke and Lij Yohannes Iyasu respectively. To Imru and everyone else's surprise, that troublesome Italian fortification had fallen and Debre Marqos had been returned to Ethiopian rule which meant that the road to Debre Tabor and Bahir Dar were open to Patriot forces with mounting British support. It also left the Italian colonial administration even more isolated from Amedeo when he ordered Italian forces to relocate to Gondar, Amba Alagi, Dessie and Jimma who had yet to fall to Allied forces and provided some modicum of natural defense with the local terrain. However, he also ordered that the city be surrendered to Imru to avoid a potential slaughter of the settlers.

    It was on the day of Italian forces entering Addis Ababa in 1936 that Imru and his men marched into the city, formally accepting the surrender of the city's governor Agenore Frangipani and proclaiming to those who'd been under the Italian boot for the past five years that Ethiopia was free. The Italians were in retreat everywhere, under unrelenting attack from his commanders across the country - Nasibu's calvarymen were besieging Dire Dawa, Harar and Jijiga, Yohannes Iyasu was cooperating with Alula's Legion in the Battles of Culqualber Pass and Gondar, Ras Seyoum Mangesha supporting British forces in Amba Alagi and Geresu Duki's coordinating assaults on Saio with the Belgians. The liberation of Addis Ababa seems to have only strengthened the determination to take these sites and by extension, a willingness to take heavy losses, something that resembled the same resolve that Ethiopian troops displayed in the Christmas Offensive only five years earlier. This was especially true of the Free Ethiopian soldiers who'd been soldiers in the Second Italo-Ethiopian War and then refugees in Sudan or Kenya, desiring to redeem themselves and their homelands as the British found a use for them in being shock troops assaulting the Italians. These men, with their formal British-style training and courage, were praised by their British officers and recommended by William Platt himself to Imru as they moved to Gondar.

    [​IMG]

    Imru is welcomed back by Addis Ababa, May 1941.

    In Kenya, the 1st South African Division penetrated past Italian defenses on the Kenyan frontier and pushed into Sidamo province with the support of the 11th and 12th African Divisions. They were supposed to meet up with Ras Desta at Negele, being well received by both Desta and the local population who'd been rallied to the call to arms since the Neqempte massacre of July '36. In spite of the annual rains, fighting continued in the southern provinces where the Patriots launched attack after attack on the Italian-controlled towns, anti-Italian sentiment on the rise and becoming more vocal in Jimma. Pietro Gazzera was also alarmed at the Patriots' growing numbers, realizing that a good amount of them were men from the colonial ranks and that he was cut off from the relocated command in Gondar when Duki's men severed their communications with them. This was shortly followed by a massive assault on Jimma that saw the Patriots employ artillery that had been captured from the Italians or supplied by the British to bombard the city into surrendering, Duki not wanting to waste his men on the costly house-to-house fighting. Sultan Jifar was killed in the fighting with stray shrapnel from a nearby explosion tearing into him and killing him. His death made many realize the utter uselessness of continuing to fight on against the Patriots, leading them to surrender en masse. Gazzera managed to break out with a small contingent of loyal Askaris towards Gondar where what remained of the Italian Army in Ethiopia was gathering to make a last stand.

    It was at Amba Alagi where Amedeo was captured and at Gondar where the last remnants of the Italian forces under Gazzera were wiped out and Gazzera was killed in a British artillery strike. Although it didn't mean the end of Italian resistance which continued as guerrilla warfare until November 1943, conventional warfare stopped and Ethiopia was freed from Italy. Imru declared the establishment of a Regency and concluded the Anglo-Ethiopian Agreement of 1941 that provided Ethiopia with assistance in reconstruction and organizing a modern military when the Imperial Ethiopian Army was established in June 1941. The agreement also formally brought Ethiopia into the Second World War as Imru issued a declaration of war against the Italians and Germans, establishing the Ethiopian Expeditionary Force out of 3,000 [2] men in June 1941 and dispatched it to the North African Front. However, Imru would find a new issue with European imperialism from a supposed ally: Great Britain.

    ----
    [1] Named after the famous Ethiopian commander, Ras Alula.

    [2] IOTL, there were already plans to send 2,500 Ethiopian troops to the Middle East in late 1942 and was approved by the British War Office before Haile Selassie requested the withdrawal of the British Military Mission. See The Ethiopian Army: From Victory to Collapse, 1977-1991 by Fantahun Ayalew for more.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  10. Hagre Well-Known Member

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    Garvey won't approve, considering his stance on Socialism/Communism and how that'll play into the post-WWII world ITTL.
     
  11. Ebanu8 Emperor of Abyssinia

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    A bitter power struggle may ensue, I believe, between Imru and Haile Selassie.
     
  12. Hagre Well-Known Member

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    It doesn't help that Imru is the one in Addis Ababa and Haile Selassie's on another Continent. What do you think'll happen?
     
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  13. Ebanu8 Emperor of Abyssinia

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    If they do not at least put aside their differences when Ethiopia is truly liberated, and Haile returns to his homeland, they may likely come to blows, sooner or later.
     
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  14. Sceonn Peace at a Bargain Price

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    Unlikely, Haile Selassie is safe and sound in Japan while sending Etheopian boys to fight and die for an Axis power while Imru has been slugging it out with the rank and file eventually leading the counter strike that pushed out the invaders.
     
  15. Hagre Well-Known Member

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    There's the issue of his bloodline which I'm surprised no one has brought up, considering Imru comes to power after World War II.
    Imru "slugging it out with the rank and file" very accurately describes the Occupation from 1936-41 but you raise good points here. No one, least of all Japan's Ethiopian community, is exactly happy at the thought of Ethiopian soldiers fighting and dying in East Asia while their homeland is free.
     
  16. Wolttaire Well-Known Member

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    Aug 4, 2018
    Just want to say this is an fantastic and well thought out timeline that is well researched!!! Bravo!
     
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  17. Hagre Well-Known Member

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    Nice to see someone else think so! What do you think so far?
     
  18. Wolttaire Well-Known Member

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    pretty cool and intresting twist on history and the pods will be watching to see what happens next
     
  19. Hagre Well-Known Member

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    The next chapter will probably revolve around what's been going on around the world during this time, as well as the North African campaign and a little something with Liberia.
     
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  20. Ebanu8 Emperor of Abyssinia

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    Ooh, Liberia. Interesting what will happen there.
     
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