Italy in the 1920's 12

Italy in the 1920’s Part 12

A fiercely national political regime that defends its people in its elementary demographic entity, in its historical mission, in its right to power, legitimized by its capacity for work and civilization, could not therefore remain extraneous to this dispersion of living forces. productive of the nation caused by emigration. In fact, the intervention of the fascist government immediately turned to stem emigration and instead strengthen all national economic possibilities.

According to, this policy of economic restoration also developed towards colonial territory. In fact, in Libya, after the reoccupation, which took place between 1923 and 1924, of the Garian, Misurata, Nalut, Gadames, Misda and other areas, largely abandoned during the world war, a new continuous policy began, and no longer episodic, of enhancement of colonial territories, considered an integral part of the national territory, for demographic, economic and military purposes, with the creation of large colonization companies and the progressive transfer of Italian peasant families.

But the results of this willing policy are not enough. The Italian and colonial territories cannot follow with their productivity and their resources the needs of a great nation, ascending in its demographic entity and in the tone of its civil life. For this reason the fascist government had turned to the Ethiopian territory with the hope of finding there the means of a peaceful economic expansion in collaboration with the Abyssinian government.

It should be remembered here that in the past England itself had pointed out Ethiopia to Italy as a field for its expansion. It is England, in fact, that pushes Italy to occupy Massawa, as a starting point for inward penetration, to get help in businesses against Mahdist agitation and to stem the expansion of France. When he established himself in Egypt in 1883, it was still England that defined, through a collaboration with Italy, the spheres of influence in East Africa. The Italo-British protocols Rudinì-Dufferin of 1891 and those of Crispi-Clare Ford of 1894 in fact reserve almost the entire Ethiopian territory for Italian influence and confirm the direction of the Italo-Ethiopian treaty of Uccialli of 1889, concluded with Menelik, which all the Ethiopia under the Italian protectorate. This address was reconfirmed with the Italian-Franco-British tripartite treaty of 1906 and further specified in a Mussolini-Graham agreement of 1925, with which Italy and England committed themselves to mutual aid for the construction of a railway. Italian through the Ethiopian territory, which connected Eritrea to Somalia, west of Addis Ababa, and for the regulation of the waters of Lake Tana, mostly tributaries of the Nile.

It is precisely by following this policy that Italy signs a pact of friendship and collaboration with Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on 2 August 1928. In the preamble to this pact it was said that the two countries were committed to developing their economic relations. In his art. 3 it was specified that the two countries would endeavor “to expand and make existing trade prosper”. Attached to the pact was also a convention that provided for the construction of a road from Assab to Dessié for the direct development of this trade with a free port right to Ethiopia in Assab. But the pact could never have any follow-up. Every Italian economic initiative has found unbreakable barriers on Ethiopian territory. To the Italian engineers who had to trace the route of the Assab-Dessié road, he was even prevented from entering Ethiopian territory for their studies. To these economic impediments was added the series of aggressive acts. Ethiopia deliberately closed itself off to Italy’s expansive policy of peace and collaboration. And with this resistance, the basis, recognized by the British themselves, of the whole system of Italian colonial possessions in Eritrea and Somalia was missing.

The Abyssinian aggressive attempt at Ual-Ual dates back to 5 December 1934. The Italo-Ethiopian friendship pact provided for the procedure of conciliation and arbitration for each incident. Italy follows this path. But already on 14 December an Ethiopian mobilization was reported in the provinces of Harar and Ogaden. On December 19, in a meeting in ras, convened by the negus, an Ethiopian attack on the Italian colonies was unanimously decided, minus two. The next day a new partial Ethiopian mobilization begins in many provinces. At the end of December, the first Ethiopian offensive deployments against the two still defenseless Italian colonies are already detected. It is estimated that 58,000 men have gathered against the borders of Somalia and 16,000 against Eritrea.

Under these conditions, the conciliation and arbitration procedure takes place slowly and appears to be useless. All the more so as there is an evident Franco-British tendency to avoid the open recognition of an Ethiopian responsibility. On January 29, the Italian government proposes to the British government to examine the Ethiopian situation in view of its gravity. He receives no response. The quadrumvir general De Bono, minister of the colonies, is sent to Eritrea to organize the Italian defense. A first Italian mobilization of the two divisions “Gavinana” and “Peloritana” is ordered between 5 and 11 February. But the situation worsened. In April it appears that half a million Ethiopian armed forces have already been mobilized, while only 30,000 Italian soldiers have arrived in the two colonies.

Italy in the 1920's 12

About the author