The new Conquering Lion of Judah, Ras Imru! - an Ethiopia TL

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by twistedirregular, May 6, 2018.

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  1. twistedirregular The Nationalist Negus

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    Hello! This is my first attempt at writing a TL centered around the Ethiopian Empire which I am interested in writing more timelines about in the future . . . if I have the time. I welcome constructive criticism from those who have written a TL and have more experience than I do.

    Let me provide some information about Le'ul Ras Imru Haile Selassie.

    Ras Imru was a cousin of Emperor Haile Selassie I and one of the commanders on the northern front in the Second Italo-Ethiopian War of 1935-36, fighting until December of 1936 where he surrendered to the Italians at Gojeb River. He was sent to Ponza in Italy where he would imprisoned by the Italians until 1943 as Italy surrendered to the Allied Powers in their invasion of the Italian peninsula. Ras Imru was an advocate for land reform, becoming more and more leftist to the point where he would have been thought of as a socialist by western European standards. Imru even distributed some of his extensive land base among his followers! His son, Lij Mikael Imru also become an advocate for land reform and became acting Prime Minister during the 1974 coup (for a short time) as his father died in 1980, the only member of the Royal Family to be given a state funeral by the Derg.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
  2. Threadmarks: The Maichew Counterattack of 1936

    twistedirregular The Nationalist Negus

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    "Weep not! Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book and to loose the seven seals thereof."
    - Revelation 5:5

    Emperor Haile Selassie arrived at Quorom where preparations were underway for an Ethiopian confrontation and counteroffensive against Italian troops rapidly advancing as the elite Imperial Guard arrived with him. The Emperor had informed Empress Menen of his plans of attacking prior to leaving and took the advice of his foreign advisors that the Italians were intercepting radio messages, taking advantage of this to send a message to Menen that gave the pretense of attacking on St. George’s Day. Badoglio received this news, preparing to defend as Haile Selassie gained allies such as the local Azebu Galla who agreed to attack Italian flanks and engage the Italians as shifta. The Galla were sent earlier to disrupt the Italians from the construction of defenses and bringing in reserves which hampered Italian forces as their supply lines were harassed. This gave Ethiopian forces a chance to prepare themselves and launch the offensive on March 14 in an attempt to surprise the Italians.

    The Maichew Offensive resulted in Ethiopian victory as Italian troops stationed at Maichew were caught off-guard, many of them still constructing defenses after the Galla had launched attacks on the local Italian forces. Due to Galla attacks, Badoglio depleted the main force for forces that could protect other soldiers and engineers from the Galla as well as for the guerrilla bands that had risen in the Italian-held regions of Tigray. The Italians had expected the Maichew Offensive to come on St. George’s Day and the Italians were unable to fight off the Ethiopian frontal assault on the lines of the uncompleted defensive positions. The Imperial Guard’s discipline and training separated them from the northern armies as they fought with the 2nd Eritrean Division, destroying it as the commander of the unit was about to call in concentrated artillery strikes on his position before dying from an errant shot of an irregular Galla soldier. Despite mounting casualties, Ras Kassa’s army captured Meken Pass as the Eritreans were pushed off and forced to retreat as Badoglio ordered a withdrawal of Italian forces who sustained heavy casualties as they retreated. An Ethiopian victory was secured for one of the first times of the war, boosting the morale of the northern forces who enjoyed spoils from the Italians’ camps that included food and good weapons. Meanwhile, Mussolini continued to pressure Badoglio and Graziani to finish the war but now that the Ethiopians had secured a decisive victory on the northern front and thus those on the southern front were determined to prevent any penetration by the Italians into the southeastern Somali provinces.

    Weather was forcing the Italians to stop relying on vehicles to prosecute of the war including armoured cars and tanks which were unable to drive in the terrible terrain and muddy roads as Ethiopia lacked roads. Badoglio was preparing an offensive of his own to retake Maichew before the bad weather could fully set in and prevent any Italian force from advancing further into Ethiopia. Haile Selassie was making his own preparations for a move of the seat of the government to western Ethiopia as defenses were erected by the Ethiopians for the Italian onslaught that was sure to come. Haile Selassie was aware that the Ethiopian forces on the northern front couldn't stop the Italians from marching on Addis Ababa and attempting to conquer Ethiopia with Graziani's forces on the southern front of which Ethiopian troops in the Ogaden were remarkably holding the lines. The Italian advance had been stopped by the rainy seasons which gave the Ethiopian government time to collect itself and reorganize the northern Ethiopian armies to prepare for an inevitable Italian offensive that might crush what remained of the Ethiopian Army. The Ethiopian Royal Family and the Council of Ministers had moved to the British concession at Gambela where they planned to moved into Anglo-Egyptian Sudan from where the Emperor would go to Geneva - the seat of the League of Nations - and plead Ethiopia's case to its members in hopes that someone could intervene in Ethiopia before she fell to the Italians. Haile Selassie also planned to establish an Ethiopian government-in-exile that would continue diplomatic resistance and assist in the organization of the armed resistance that was to emerge in Ethiopia to battle the Italian occupational forces in their refusal to relinquish their independence to a European colonial power. A Provisional Government was established at the southwestern town of Gore under the administration of former president of the Ethiopian Senate, Wolde Tsadik-Goshu and Ras Imru who was appointed Prince Regent. The end of the rainy season was getting closer and the Italians were preparing for an offensive to push the Ethiopians out of Dessie and eventually capture Addis Ababa, forcing Haile Selassie to go into exile. He knew this, organizing possible resistance movements to emerge all over the country and eventually drive the Italians from Ethiopia. Gore’s purpose was to function as a center of Ethiopian resistance where the Provisional Government could operate from as the Ethiopian resistance operated all over Ethiopia.

    The end of the rainy seasons was going to eventually come and thus, there would be almost nothing to prevent the Italians from capturing Addis Ababa and attempting to colonize one of Africa's last independent states. However, the Ethiopian people would not surrender their independence to the fascist Italians and a patriotic resistance would eventually rise from the ashes of the Ethiopian Empire . . .
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
  3. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    I'm watching this.
     
  4. twistedirregular The Nationalist Negus

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    Thanks! Do you have any suggestions?
     
  5. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    I am also thinking that an Ethiopian victory at Maichew, while only delaying the inevitable as you correctly note, prolongs the war considerably AND therefore has international impact. Mussolini would be hard-pressed to offer significant support for Franco, for example. Also, Italy would be seen as even weaker making both the Entente and Germany less interested in courting her diplomatically, while Badoglio's prestige would be greatly diminished (he would be unlikely to paly the same role he did IOTL in 1943 here) and the poorer military showing might prompt reforms of some kind (unlikely to go much of anywhere given the entrenched corruption and inefficiency of the Fascist regime, but some of the worst rot might be weeded out).
     
  6. twistedirregular The Nationalist Negus

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    What reforms do you think will be implemented and regarding what parts of the Royal Italian Army? And who says that Badoglio won't be sent to political exile somewhere relatively luxurious?
     
  7. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    I don't know enough about the Italian military of the time to comment on detailed military reforms, but if they are sensible, which is not a given, they'd do something to streamline procurement and logistics. They sucked at those in WWII IOTL. Embezzlement was a big part of it, by the way, so just putting some of the worst offenders somewhere relatively harmless might help somewhat.
    Badoglio would certainly be given something to do in a high-sounding and mostly useless post somewhere, but his political clout would be minimal, and probably the regime would take the occasion to fill the upper ranks of the military with its stooges when it can. This would suck for military performance, but make the Army a lot more politically reliable, so, assuming a similar course of WWII for Italy, the July 1943 coup might not happen. Something would take place later, of course, as the monarchy would still seek a way out the hopeless war, but it may end up even messier than IOTL.
     
  8. Threadmarks: The Interregnum?

    twistedirregular The Nationalist Negus

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    "Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph."
    - Emperor Haile Selassie I

    Emperor Haile Selassie was well-aware that his forces were unable to win the war as the Italians soon became stuck in the rains of Tigray whereas his southern armies were holding but it seemed like their lines were close to breaking as Graziani planned for a massive push into the Somali provinces bordering Italian Somaliland. The Maichew Counterattack had given him some time, a month or two at the most that led to the Ethiopian government frantically organizing as politicians in the Ethiopian delegation to the League of Nations in Geneva, attempted to convince the Western powers to issue more effective sanctions on the Italians or repeal the arms embargo. The Provisional Government had already been established at Gore where the current Ethiopian government at Gambela was working alongside it in attempting to garner the favor of the local Oromos, many of whom despised the Amharic-dominated government ruling over them. Haile Selassie appointed Lij Yilma Deressa, a member of the Oromo elite in Welega, as a representative of the Oromos which satisfied them as Yilma Deressa soon became Minister of Finance of the Emperor's Cabinet. Not knowing how long exile could last, Haile Selassie ordered that Ethiopia's national gold stocks and funds be moved to London as the British agreed to assist the Ethiopian Royal Family and government to eventually move to London as they decided to move in troops to protect their concession.

    The Ethiopians had managed to secure one diplomatic victory from the League of Nations - the repealing of the arms embargo on Ethiopia. Stockpiles of new equipment and weapons flowed into Ethiopia from the surrounding British and French colonies where they had been held up in the European-controlled ports. Arms from Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Germany and Denmark finally made their way into the dying country as the more pro-Ethiopian western politicians had managed to convince the other delegations that pro-Ethiopia support was increasing amongst the publics of the developed world. One important factor for all of this was that the Emperor had finally allowed for western journalists cooped up in Addis Ababa to venture out to the front lines and record what was happening on the Ethiopian side as pictures and footage were sent back to their respective countries.

    [​IMG]
    (Soldiers of the northern Ethiopian armies advancing forward in the Battle of Maichew, circa. 1936)

    [​IMG]
    (Two Ethiopian soldiers manning a makeshift anti-aircraft emplacement around Addis Ababa, circa. 1936)

    [​IMG]
    (Emperor Haile Selassie and a few advisors posing around duds at Dessie, circa. 1936)

    On the southern front, the "African Hindenburg Line" was being revised as modifications were made to the positions of the Ethiopian forces under the command of Ras Nasibu and his Turkish advisor, Wehib Pasha as it seemed Graziani was going to launch his own offensive while under pressure from Mussolini and Badoglio to relieve the Italian forces in the north. The erratic rains in the Ogaden was making things for the Butcher of Fezzan harder as the terrain of the Ogaden was transformed into mud and stiffening Ethiopian resistance was making it difficult, a near-fanatical determination to prevent southern Ethiopia from falling into Italian hands. Limited gains had been made into southern Ethiopia as Mussolini had intended for the southern front to be a more secondary front but with the Ethiopian victory in Tigray, it looked as if it was becoming more active as Rome cabled orders to Mogadishu to advance into the Ogaden and capture Harar. The heavy rains and thick mud were major obstacles to the Italian advance as it seemed the Ethiopians were everywhere and launching constant attacks on Italian forces, harassing them from their shelter in caves and on plateaus as the Italians were being forced to pay for every inch of their real estate.

    The Provisional Government was sufficiently organized enough as the new European arms were distributed amongst what remained of Ethiopia's armies, caches of weapons being placed all over what remained of the Ethiopian Empire in order to spark potentially successful revolts once Haile Selassie left for exile. The northern and southern armies received a minor boost in morale at these new weapons replacing their old and more worn-out rifles that they had been fighting the Italians with since they invaded in 1935, often utilizing captured Italian equipment to replace these old rifles. The Provisional Government watched as the Emperor organized with Ras Imru, planning out where effective armed resistance movements could take place - the northern and western provinces were quite mountainous, providing a potential base for their political leadership to relocate to, should the Provisional Government's position at Gore become untenable and too unsafe.

    The renewal of the Italian initiative and advance were going to come eventually . . . would the Ethiopians be ready for it?
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
  9. Threadmarks: The Ethiopian Patriots - Part 1

    twistedirregular The Nationalist Negus

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    Lij Elias Makonnen gripped his rifle, an Italian Carcano rifle he had stolen from the dead body of an Eritrean soldier that attempted to kill one of his comrades, watching intently as Italian and Eritrean troops were marching into Addis Ababa whose streets were abandoned by her people. A small group of Italian and Eritrean soldiers were posing for a picture with their rifles and light machine guns in front of a journalist that held a camera to do so while their fellow soldiers inspected their surroundings as a lorry carrying wounded Italian and Eritrean troops moved into the area. Elias looked to his right, his friend Fikre manning the concealed Hotchkiss machine gun whose barrel was pointed at the slowly increasing number of Italian forces in the street in front of their apartment as to his left, his comrade Solomon held another Carcano rifle that was also ready to fire.

    Elias looked over at Fikre, saying, "On three, we fire." and allowed himself to smile as Fikre nodded and turned his attention towards the Italians in the street as his finger was pressed down slightly on the trigger as he waited for the order to fire. Solomon shifted as he closed one eye and chose a target, a younger-looking Italian soldier who was currently posing with his light machine gun in front of the same journalist in what seemed to be a heroic pose as an Eritrean soldier proudly displayed the Italian flag in the background.

    "One."

    Fikre himself had also sighted his own targets, the Italians waiting for a turn to take a picture as well.

    "Two."

    Elias had chosen the Italian officer who was smiling proudly as he stood next to the journalist, seeming akin to a father who was proud of his son's achievements.

    "Three."

    With that, the three Ethiopians opened fire on their targets in the crowd - Elias put a bullet between the officer's eyes, Solomon dropping the Eritrean soldier with one bullet to the chest and Fikre having felled the group of 5 Italians with a burst of fire. Across the street, rifle and machine gun fire opened up from a nearby restaurant on the enemy soldiers that had been taken by surprise by the sudden attack as an Italian officer barked orders for everyone to get down and attempt to find the sources of fire as he tugged a wounded Italian soldier to cover and fired in the direction of the guns. Elias flinched as a bullet nearly hit him and instead hit the wall of the room behind them, placing another cartridge of ammunition into rifle before firing at the Italians and Eritreans below them. Fikre took the chance to reload the machine gun and shoved a tray of bullets into its chamber, spraying the street with bullets and watching with grim satisfaction as 3 Eritreans went limp. Solomon had managed to lob a stolen Italian grenade into the mass of Italian troops who were pressing themselves to the ground and praying as a bullet kicked up dust near their heads.

    Elias' head perked up as someone in the adjacent building shouted, "Forward! ATTACK!" as the Italian officer spitting curses at the Ethiopians firing on them went limp from a couple of bullets to the lungs as the shooter leapt out of the window. It was Grazmach Yohannes Desta, a veteran of the northern front who was followed by the main force of guerrillas who cried out, "URAH!" as they ran forward to take on Italian and Eritrean soldiers head on - some of them armed with nothing more than daggers and swords but they launched themselves forward anyway. Elias watched as an Ethiopian with a dagger threw himself onto a Italian soldier, driving it into the Italian's chest and wrenching it as he sheathed the dagger in favor of the Carcano rifle which was used to bayonet an Eritrean in the back. Elias tapped the shoulders of his friends and motioned to the ensuing fight in the streets, "Shall we, gentlemen?" which caused them to smile as Fikre picked up his French Lebel rifle and ran outside with them. Elias roared, grabbing an Italian soldier and locking him into a chokehold as Elias slit his throat and left the Italian to drown in a pool of his own blood while Fikre bashed an Eritrean soldier in the head before he could pull the pin from his grenade and repeatedly brought down the butt of his rifle onto his head. Soon, the Eritrean soldier's face was nothing more than a mess of blood and bone as Fikre moved on from the dead body and replaced it with an Italian soldier who suffered a shot to the heart from Fikre's French rifle. Solomon was preoccupied with preventing an Italian soldier from shoving his bayonet into his gut as Solomon laughed to himself and saw Elias coming up on the Italian to shove the Italian's own bayonet into the side of his neck and left it there as the Italian collapsed, choking in a pool of his own blood as he wrenched the bayonet out and gripped the wound. The Italian looked up at Elias and Solomon, gargling in Amharic, "D-Damn blacks, I-I'll kill y-you . . ." and reaching out with a bloody hand which eventually fell limp as the Italian finally died of his wound and the two guerrillas watched as their fellow brothers and sisters gain a victory over the Italian force which was reduced to nothing more than a squad of Italians and Eritreans that surrendered.

    Elias looked on as the Ethiopian guerrillas rifled through the belongings of the Italian and Eritrean corpses, not only taking what was essential such as weapons and ammunition but their watches and rings as well while the prisoners looked on with thinly-veiled disgust and anger. Elias himself was guilty of doing so as he managed to get an Italian uniform and a very nice pocket-watch alongside a Greek Fisherman-cap that he quickly become fond of before deciding to sit back and watch the show of the Ethiopians pickpocketing the corpses. Grazmach Yohannes yelled, "Alright, time to go, lads!" as they soon stopped looking for anymore goodies and moved on, leaving the Italian and Eritrean prisoners in the street without any arms as the band of guerrillas blended into the terrain surrounding their former capital city.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
  10. CountDVB Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully Ethiopia can keep Eritrea this time around (and maybe have Djibouti as well)
     
  11. twistedirregular The Nationalist Negus

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    Perhaps.
     
  12. CountDVB Well-Known Member

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    Well, they will need access to the sea. That would definitely help them out alot.
     
  13. twistedirregular The Nationalist Negus

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    It would but I can't spoil anything.
     
  14. Threadmarks: The March of the Iron Will and the Battle of Addis Ababa

    twistedirregular The Nationalist Negus

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    "Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots."
    - Chronicles 14:9-15

    With the end of the rains, there was nothing preventing the Italians from launching their offensive to take Dessie with overwhelming numerical and material support as an Italo-Eritrean Army of 125,000 men had soon prepared for what seemed to be the final showdown between the Ethiopian Empire and Kingdom of Italy. Despite executing fierce and fanatical resistance to the Italian advance, the Ethiopian defenders of Dessie were eventually overwhelmed and what remained of the defensive forces was forced into fleeing into the countryside from where they would continue the armed resistance. As they advanced on the road to Addis Ababa, the Italians would face constant resistance as guerrilla bands formed from the nationalist peasantry and remnants of the Ethiopian Army fought against the Italians. Lij Haile Mariam Mammo lead one of the first Shewan guerrilla bands in the Battle of Chacha where the Italian mechanized column was attacked by Haile Mariam's men who managed to inflict 200 casualties on the Eritrean soldiers before Lij Haile Mariam Mammo called for a withdrawal after the capture of multiple rifles, light machine guns and grenades. The Italians faced similar attacks on the road to Addis Ababa, the 1st Eritrean Brigade managed to establish a base on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, albeit after suffering fairly heavy casualties from various guerrilla bands under the command of commanders such as Haile Mariam Mammo, Balcha Safo and the sons of Ras Kassa. From there, the Italians focused on encircling Addis Ababa with 100,000 troops as an Italo-Eritrean force of 25,000 made its way into the urbanized city to consolidate the Italian position in Addis Ababa and prevent any uprisings from occurring but these Italian and Eritrean forces would find a welcoming gift left behind by Emperor Haile Selassie and the residents of Addis Ababa.

    The Battle of Addis Ababa was the last major engagement between conventional Ethiopian forces and the Italians who would find themselves deep within the city as they were attacked by veterans that had been apart of the northern Ethiopian armies as well as the more nationalist residents of Addis Ababa that hadn't fled - this included European expatriates from Greece and Armenia. An Italian company was massacred as it was taken off-guard by Ethiopians under the command of Shambel Yohannes Desta, a well-planned and executed ambush that had only left 40 Italians alive of which 10 had been captured and the remaining managed to escape. Yohannes Desta was currently commander of all Ethiopian forces in Addis Ababa as he had been appointed such prior to Abebe Aregai's leaving for the relocated seat of the government to Gore and so, the Ethiopians would continue to hold onto what they could of their former capital. Eventually, the 18,500 Italo-Eritrean soldiers were reinforced with more men and firepower as the city was being relentlessly bombarded with Italian artillery which would scare some of Yohannes' men into deserting and surrendering to the Italian forces but the Shambel would crack down on this, promising to shoot anyone who showed signs of deserting. Another Italian force of 10,000 Italians would be drawn from the encircling force and assist in a joint capturing of Addis Ababa which would prove successful as the Battle of Addis Ababa ended similarly to Dessie - the Ethiopians being overwhelmed by Italian numerical and material superiority. Marshal Badoglio would enter Addis Ababa once the city had fallen and proclaim Ethiopia pacified despite the fact that the Italians were only occupying the northern provinces and continuing to expand into the southeastern regions where an active Ethiopian Army of 14,000 was still resisting under command of Ras Desta Damtew. Meanwhile, Graziani had managed to break advance farther past the border and through the African Hindenburg Line - established by Ras Nasibu and Wehib Pasha - as he finally captured the city of Harar.

    The Ethiopian Royal Family and Imperial Government fled from Gambela to Khartoum, escorted by British and Ethiopian troops as they rested before venturing to Port Sudan to move from there to Palestine and from there, the Ethiopian government-in-exile would move to Geneva to secure support from the member states of the League of Nations. Haile Selassie and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lorenzo Taeazaz spoke in front of the delegations representing different countries from all over the world as Haile Selassie delivered what few saw to be an influential speech in Amharic instead of English or French. The speech below:

    "I, Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, am here today to claim that justice which is due to my people, and the assistance promised to it eight months ago, when fifty nations asserted that aggression had been committed in violation of international treaties.

    There is no precedent for a Head of State himself speaking in this assembly. But there is also no precedent for a people being victim of such injustice and being at present threatened by abandonment to its aggressor. Also, there has never before been an example of any Government proceeding to the systematic extermination of a nation by barbarous means, in violation of the most solemn promises made by the nations of the earth that there should not be used against innocent human beings the terrible poison of harmful gases. It is to defend a people struggling for its age-old independence that the head of the Ethiopian Empire has come to Geneva to fulfil this supreme duty, after having himself fought at the head of his armies.

    I pray to Almighty God that He may spare nations the terrible sufferings that have just been inflicted on my people, and of which the chiefs who accompany me here have been the horrified witnesses.

    It is my duty to inform the Governments assembled in Geneva, responsible as they are for the lives of millions of men, women and children, of the deadly peril which threatens them, by describing to them the fate which has been suffered by Ethiopia. It is not only upon warriors that the Italian Government has made war. It has above all attacked populations far removed from hostilities, in order to terrorize and exterminate them.

    At the beginning, towards the end of 1935, Italian aircraft hurled upon my armies bombs of tear-gas. Their effects were but slight. The soldiers learned to scatter, waiting until the wind had rapidly dispersed the poisonous gases. The Italian aircraft then resorted to mustard gas. Barrels of liquid were hurled upon armed groups. But this means also was not effective; the liquid affected only a few soldiers, and barrels upon the ground were themselves a warning to troops and to the population of the danger.

    It was at the time when the operations for the encircling of Makalle 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. In order to kill off systematically all living creatures, in order to more surely to poison waters and pastures, the Italian command made its aircraft pass over and over again. That was its chief method of warfare.

    The very refinement of barbarism consisted in carrying ravage and terror into the most densely populated parts of the territory, the points farthest removed from the scene of hostilities. The object was to scatter fear and death over a great part of the Ethiopian territory. These fearful tactics succeeded. Men and animals succumbed. The deadly rain that fell from the aircraft made all those whom it touched fly shrieking with pain. All those who drank the poisoned water or ate the infected food also succumbed in dreadful suffering. In tens of thousands, the victims of the Italian mustard gas fell. It is in order to denounce to the civilized world the tortures inflicted upon the Ethiopian people that I resolved to come to Geneva. None other than myself and my brave companions in arms could bring the League of Nations the undeniable proof. The appeals of my delegates addressed to the League of Nations had remained without any answer; my delegates had not been witnesses. That is why I decided to come myself to bear witness against the crime perpetrated against my people and give Europe a warning of the doom that awaits it, if it should bow before the accomplished fact.

    Is it necessary to remind the Assembly of the various stages of the Ethiopian drama? For 20 years past, either as Heir Apparent, Regent of the Empire, or as Emperor, I have never ceased to use all my efforts to bring my country the benefits of civilization, and in particular to establish relations of good neighbourliness with adjacent powers. In particular I succeeded in concluding with Italy the Treaty of Friendship of 1928, which absolutely prohibited the resort, under any pretext whatsoever, to force of arms, substituting for force and pressure the conciliation and arbitration on which civilized nations have based international order.

    In its report of October 5th 193S, the Committee of Thirteen recognized my effort and the results that I had achieved. The Governments thought that the entry of Ethiopia into the League, whilst giving that country a new guarantee for the maintenance of her territorial integrity and independence, would help her to reach a higher level of civilization. It does not seem that in Ethiopia today there is more disorder and insecurity than in 1923. On the contrary, the country is more united and the central power is better obeyed.

    I should have procured still greater results for my people if obstacles of every kind had not been put in the way by the Italian Government, the Government which stirred up revolt and armed the rebels. Indeed the Rome Government, as it has today openly proclaimed, has never ceased to prepare for the conquest of Ethiopia. The Treaties of Friendship it signed with me were not sincere; their only object was to hide its real intention from me. The Italian Goverment asserts that for 14 years it has been preparing for its present conquest. It therefore recognizes today that when it supported the admission of Ethiopia to the League of Nations in 1923, when it concluded the Treaty of Friendship in 1928, when it signed the Pact of Paris outlawing war, it was deceiving the whole world. The Ethiopian Government was, in these solemn treaties, given additional guarantees of security which would enable it to achieve further progress along the specific path of reform on which it had set its feet, and to which it was devoting all its strength and all its heart.

    The Wal-Wal incident, in December, 1934, came as a thunderbolt to me. The Italian provocation was obvious and I did not hesitate to appeal to the League of Nations. I invoked the provisions of the treaty of 1928, the principles of the Covenant; I urged the procedure of conciliation and arbitration. Unhappily for Ethiopia this was the time when a certain Government considered that the European situation made it imperative at all costs to obtain the friendship of Italy. The price paid was the abandonment of Ethiopian independence to the greed of the Italian Government. This secret agreement, contrary to the obligations of the Covenant, has exerted a great influence over the course of events. Ethiopia and the whole world have suffered and are still suffering today its disastrous consequences.

    This first violation of the Covenant was followed by many others. Feeling itself encouraged in its policy against Ethiopia, the Rome Government feverishly made war preparations, thinking that the concerted pressure which was beginning to be exerted on the Ethiopian Government, might perhaps not overcome the resistance of my people to Italian domination. The time had to come, thus all sorts of difficulties were placed in the way with a view to breaking up the procedure; of conciliation and arbitration. All kinds of obstacles were placed in the way of that procedure. Governments tried to prevent the Ethiopian Government from finding arbitrators amongst their nationals: when once the arbitral tribunal a was set up pressure was exercised so that an award favourable to Italy should be given.

    All this was in vain: the arbitrators, two of whom were Italian officials, were forced to recognize unanimously that in the Wal-Wal incident, as in the subsequent incidents, no international responsibility was to be attributed to Ethiopia.

    Following on this award. the Ethiopian Government sincerely thought that an era of friendly relations might be opened with Italy. I loyally offered my hand to the Roman Government. The Assembly was informed by the report of the Committee of Thirteen, dated October 5th, 1935, of the details of the events which occurred after the month of December, 1934, and up to October 3rd, 1935.

    It will be sufficient if I quote a few of the conclusions of that report Nos. 24, 25 and 26 "The Italian memorandum (containing the complaints made by Italy) was laid on the Council table on September 4th, 1935, whereas Ethiopia's first appeal to the Council had been made on December 14th, 1934. In the interval between these two dates, the Italian Government opposed the consideration of the question by the Council on the ground that the only appropriate procedure was that provided for in the Italo-Ethiopian Treaty of 1928. Throughout the whole of that period, moreover, the despatch of Italian troops to East Africa was proceeding. These shipments of troops were represented to the Council by the Italian Government as necessary for the defense of its colonies menaced by Ethiopia's preparations. Ethiopia, on the contrary, drew attention to the official pronouncements made in Italy which, in its opinion, left no doubt "as to the hostile intentions of the Italian Government."

    From the outset of the dispute, the Ethiopian Government has sought a settlement by peaceful means. It has appealed to the procedures of the Covenant. The Italian Government desiring to keep strictly to the procedures of the Italo-Ethiopian Treaty of 1928, the Ethiopian Government assented. It invariably stated that it would faithfully carry out the arbitral award even if the decision went against it. It agreed that the question of the ownership of Wal-Wal should not be dealt with by the arbitrators, because the Italian Government would not agree to such a course. It asked the Council to despatch neutral observers and offered to lend itself to any enquiries upon which the Council might decide.

    Once the Wal-Wal dispute had been settled by arbiration, however, the Italian Govemmcnt submitted its detailed memorandum to the Council in support of its claim to liberty of action. It asserted that a case like that of Ethiopia cannot be settled by the means provided by the Covenant. It stated that, "since this question affects vital interest and is of primary importance to Italian security and civilization" it "would be failing in its most elementary duty, did it not cease once and for all to place any confidence in Ethiopia, reserving full liberty to adopt any measures that may become necessary to ensure the safety of its colonies and to safeguard its own interests."

    Those are the terms of the report of the Committee of Thirteen, The Council and the Assembly unanimously adopted the conclusion that the Italian Government had violated the Covenant and was in a state of aggression. I did not hesitate to declare that I did not wish for war, that it was imposed upon me, and I should struggle solely for the independence and integrity of my people, and that in that struggle I was the defender of the cause of all small States exposed to the greed of a powerful neighbour.

    In October, 1935. the 52 nations who are listening to me today gave me an assurance that the aggressor would not triumph, that the resources of the Covenant would be employed in order to ensure the reign of right and the failure of violence.

    I ask the fifty-two nations not to forget today the policy upon which they embarked eight months ago, and on faith of which I directed the resistance of my people against the aggressor whom they had denounced to the world. Despite the inferiority of my weapons, the complete lack of aircraft, artillery, munitions, hospital services, my confidence in the League was absolute. I thought it to be impossible that fifty-two nations, including the most powerful in the world, should be successfully opposed by a single aggressor. Counting on the faith due to treaties, I had made no preparation for war, and that is the case with certain small countries in Europe.

    When the danger became more urgent, being aware of my responsibilities towards my people, during the first six months of 1935 I tried to acquire armaments. Many Governments proclaimed an embargo to prevent my doing so, whereas the Italian Government through the Suez Canal, was given all facilities for transporting without cessation and without protest, troops, arms, and munitions.

    On October 3rd, 1935, the Italian troops invaded my territory. A few hours later only I decreed general mobilization. In my desire to maintain peace I had, following the example of a great country in Europe on the eve of the Great War, caused my troops to withdraw thirty kilometres so as to remove any pretext of provocation.

    War then took place in the atrocious conditions which I have laid before the Assembly. In that unequal struggle between a Government commanding more than forty-two million inhabitants, having at its disposal financial, industrial and technical means which enabled it to create unlimited quantities of the most death-dealing weapons, and, on the other hand, a small people of twelve million inhabitants, without arms, without resources having on its side only the justice of its own cause and the promise of the League of Nations. What real assistance was given to Ethiopia by the fifty two nations who had declared the Rome Government guilty of a breach of the Covenant and had undertaken to prevent the triumph of the aggressor? Has each of the States Members, as it was its duty to do in virtue of its signature appended to Article 15 of the Covenant, considered the aggressor as having committed an act of war personally directed against itself? I had placed all my hopes in the execution of these undertakings. My confidence had been confirmed by the repeated declarations made in the Council to the effect that aggression must not be rewarded, and that force would end by being compelled to bow before right.

    In December, 1935, the Council made it quite clear that its feelings were in harmony with those of hundreds of millions of people who, in all parts of the world, had protested against the proposal to dismember Ethiopia. It was constantly repeated that there was not merely a conflict between the Italian Government and the League of Nadons, and that is why I personally refused all proposals to my personal advantage made to me by the Italian Government, if only I would betray my people and the Covenant of the League of Nations. I was defending the cause of all small peoples who are threatened with aggression.

    What have become of the promises made to me as long ago as October, 1935? I noted with grief, but without surprise that three Powers considered their undertakings under the Covenant as absolutely of no value. Their connections with Italy impelled them to refuse to take any measures whatsoever in order to stop Italian aggression. On the contrary, it was a profound disappointment to me to learn the attitude of a certain Government which, whilst ever protesting its scrupulous attachment to the Covenant, has tirelessly used all its efforts to prevent its observance. As soon as any measure which was likely to be rapidly effective was proposed, various pretexts were devised in order to postpone even consideration of the measure. Did the secret agreements of January, 1935, provide for this tireless obstruction?

    The Ethiopian Government never expected other Governments to shed their soldiers' blood to defend the Covenant when their own immediately personal interests were not at stake. Ethiopian warriors asked only for means to defend themselves. On many occasions I have asked for financial assistance for the purchase of arms That assistance has been constantly refused me. What, then, in practice, is the meaning of Article 16 of the Covenant and of collective security?

    The Ethiopian Government's use of the railway from Djibouti to Addis Ababa was in practice a hazardous regards transport of arms intended for the Ethiopian forces. At the present moment this is the chief, if not the only means of supply of the Italian armies of occupation. The rules of neutrality should have prohibited transports intended for Italian forces, but there is not even neutrality since Article 16 lays upon every State Member of the League the duty not to remain a neutral but to come to the aid not of the aggressor but of the victim of aggression. Has the Covenant been respected? Is it today being respected?

    Finally a statement has just been made in their Parliaments by the Governments of certain Powers, amongst them the most influential members of the League of Nations, that since the aggressor has succeeded in occupying a large part of Ethiopian territory they propose not to continue the application of any economic and financial measures that may have been decided upon against the Italian Government. These are the circumstances in which at the request of the Argentine Government, the Assembly of the League of Nations meets to consider the situation created by Italian aggression. I assert that the problem submitted to the Assembly today is a much wider one. It is not merely a question of the settlement of Italian aggression.

    It is collective security: it is the very existence of the League of Nations. It is the confidence that each State is to place in international treaties. It is the value of promises made to small States that their integrity and their independence shall be respected and ensured. It is the principle of the equality of States on the one hand, or otherwise the obligation laid upon smail Powers to accept the bonds of vassalship. In a word, it is international morality that is at stake. Have the signatures appended to a Treaty value only in so far as the signatory Powers have a personal, direct and immediate interest involved?

    No subtlety can change the problem or shift the grounds of the discussion. It is in all sincerity that I submit these considerations to the Assembly. At a time when my people are threatened with extermination, when the support of the League may ward off the final blow, may I be allowed to speak with complete frankness, without reticence, in all directness such as is demanded by the rule of equality as between all States Members of the League?

    Apart from the Kingdom of the Lord there is not on this earth any nation that is superior to any other. Should it happen that a strong Government finds it may with impunity destroy a weak people, then the hour strikes for that weak people to appeal to the League of Nations to give its judgment in all freedom. God and history will remember your judgment.

    I have heard it asserted that the inadequate sanctions already applied have not achieved their object. At no time, and under no circumstances could sanctions that were intentionally inadequate, intentionally badly applied, stop an aggressor. This is not a case of the impossibility of stopping an aggressor but of the refusal to stop an aggressor. When Ethiopia requested and requests that she should be given financial assistance, was that a measure which it was impossible to apply whereas financial assistance of the League has been granted, even in times of peace, to two countries and exactly to two countries who have refused to apply sanctions against the aggressor?

    Faced by numerous violations by the Italian Government of all international treaties that prohibit resort to arms, and the use of barbarous methods of warfare, it is my painful duty to note that the initiative has today been taken with a view to raising sanctions. Does this initiative not mean in practice the abandonment of Ethiopia to the aggressor? On the very eve of the day when I was about to attempt a supreme effort in the defense of my people before this Assembly does not this initiative deprive Ethiopia of one of her last chances to succeed in obtaining the support and guarantee of States Members? Is that the guidance the League of Nations and each of the States Members are entitled to expect from the great Powers when they assert their right and their duty to guide the action of the League? Placed by the aggressor face to face with the accomplished fact, are States going to set up the terrible precendent of bowing before force?

    Your Assembly will doubtless have laid before it proposals for the reform of the Covenant and for rendering more effective the guarantee of collective security. Is it the Covenant that needs reform? What undertakings can have any value if the will to keep them is lacking? It is international morality which is at stake and not the Articles of the Covenant. On behalf of the Ethiopian people, a member of the League of Nations, I request the Assembly to take all measures proper to ensure respect for the Covenant. I renew my protest against the violations of treaties of which the Ethiopian people has been the victim. I declare in the face of the whole world that the Emperor, the Government and the people of Ethiopia will not bow before force; that they maintain their claims that they will use all means in their power to ensure the triumph of right and the respect of the Covenant.

    I ask the fifty-two nations, who have given the Ethiopian people a promise to help them in their resistance to the aggressor, what are they willing to do for Ethiopia? And the great Powers who have promised the guarantee of collective security to small States on whom weighs the threat that they may one day suffer the fate of Ethiopia, I ask what measures do you intend to take?

    Representatives of the World I have come to Geneva to discharge in your midst the most painful of the duties of the head of a State. What reply shall I have to take back to my people?"

    Haile Selassie's speech had poured shame onto the members of the League of Nations, especially Great Britain and France whom were already under fire following the showing of the Second Italo-Ethiopian War which exposed the Italians' atrocities and behavior towards international law. London allowed for the Ethiopian Royal Family, exiled Imperial Government and the now company-sized Imperial Guard force to stay at a large-scale mansion in Bath as the British agreed to allowing the Imperial Guard to stay intact and be equipped with Great War-era arms in return for the Emperor not getting involved in affairs back in Ethiopia.

    Meanwhile, the Provisional Government had already begun fighting against the Italians launching an invasion into western Ethiopia which was the only thing left of the Ethiopian Empire as General Nasi's troops in southern Ethiopia were informed of the Provisional Government by Italian agents amongst the local Oromos that continued to despise the Ethiopian government despite the attempts of Haile Selassie and Imru to hurriedly assimilate the Oromos into the Provisional Government. Despite these setbacks, the Provisional Government would not collapse so easily . . .
     
  15. generalurist Map Staring Expert

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2013
    Well, this is VERY interesting. I'm quite curious what the post-war will look like. I wonder if the shame of this will make the Entente less willing to appease Hitler?

    I'm having trouble following the altered course of the war due to the lack of dates. Giving dates for key events like when Haille Selassie fled to Britain or when Addis Ababa finally would make it much easier to follow the timeline, in my opinion.
     
  16. twistedirregular The Nationalist Negus

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Location:
    The Kingdom of Abyssinia
    Thank you! As for the Entente and Hitler, who knows? ;)

    Ah, I apologize - I haven't been entirely clear on dates but Haile Selassie fled to exile in the ATL around May 5th or 6th, similarly to IOTL whereas Addis Ababa fell around a week later than OTL because the Italians were facing more stubborn resistance along the road to Addis Ababa as well as in the city itself. Anything else I should know?
     
  17. GoulashComrade Huey Newton's Edgier Twin

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2017
    Location:
    The Austin Commune
    Yes, another East Africa TL! I can't wait to see where you go with this - I honestly believe that Ras Imru was the only post-Haile Selassie member of the Solomonic dynasty with the will and political ability to bring Imperial Ethiopia into the modern era. Hopefully, his Ethiopian Empire will actually be a multicultural federation of Ethiopia's peoples instead of an Amhara elite ruling over surly Tigrayans, Oromos, and Somalis. If you need any help as far as information on the Somali tribes of the Haud and the Ogaden, I'd be more than glad to help!


    All Hail the Red Ras!
     
  18. twistedirregular The Nationalist Negus

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Location:
    The Kingdom of Abyssinia
    Thank you! That's one of the reasons I chose Ras Imru, it was because he was much more reform-oriented than Haile Selassie was, following the liberation of Ethiopia in which he became more focused on further centralizing his power over the Ethiopian state and unwilling to implement certain reforms that his educated intelligentsia wanted. As for a multicultural federation, who knows? Oh, thank you for volunteering to help me with the Somali tribes - I'll ask you in the future!

    All Hail the Red Ras!
     
    GoulashComrade and Hvalrossen like this.
  19. Hvalrossen Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2018
    Will there be any retaliations against civilians? The Italians might get angry or feel humiliated, who might suffer their wrath?
     
    GoulashComrade likes this.
  20. generalurist Map Staring Expert

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2013
    There's other East Africa TLs? What are they called, sounds interesting.
     
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