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Ethiopia Invaded by Italy

Ethiopia, one of the only two independent African nations at the time, was invaded on October 3,1935 by Facist Italy under Benito Mussolini. The Italians, seeking revenge for their prior

humiliating loss to Ethiopia over 40 years earlier, committed countless atrocities on the independent African state. Poisonous gas, aerial bomabrdment, flame throwers and

concentration camps were all employed against the ill equipped Ethiopian people.

Black outrage throughout the world was unified. The League of Nations,

forerunner to the UN, was criticized sharply for supplying weapons to Italy and

not to Ethiopia. Such actions confirmed Black suspicion that the war was of racial

motivation and sought to extinguish the last light of African power in the world.

From Kingston to Johannesburg, from Detroit to Ghana, form Port-of-Spain to

Paris, Black men and women offered to go fight in defense of Ethiopia. And as

battles raged between Ethiopians and Italians in Africa, battles raged between

Blacks and Italians in the streets of New York. In South Africa, Black workers

began a lengthy march up the continent to assist their African brothers in Ethiopia.

Elsewhere, ex-service men discarded their European and American citizenships to

bring their military expertise to the defense of Ethiopia. The exiled Ethiopian

Emperor Haile Selassie became a near legendary figure to many. Not before or

ever since was such a strong sense of Pan-Africanism seen throughout the world.

And though Italy succeeded in defeating the African nation, Blacks everywhere

would continue the struggle until Ethiopia was free.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

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