Italy in the 1920's 13

Italy in the 1920’s Part 13

Only in April did Great Britain show signs of interest in the Ethiopian case. On one of his trips to Rome, Minister Eden proposes to Mussolini the sale of Ogaden to Italy, which England would have compensated to Ethiopia with the sale of the port of Zeila and of an area of ​​territory from this port of British Somalia. to the Ethiopian territory. But this proposal is unacceptable. The Ogaden territory is arid, economically almost useless. The port of Zeila, in Ethiopian hands, means a freer supply of weapons for the negus and a more serious Abyssinian threat for Italy.

But it is now evident that the governments of London and Paris support the Ethiopian provocation. The arbitration commission, gathered in Paris and chaired by the minister of Greece in Paris Nicola Politis, issues a singular judgment which, while affirming very clearly that ” no responsibility could be attributed to the Italian government and its agents in the places”, however also tends to eliminate, with evasive phrasing, an Ethiopian responsibility, as if the rifles had fired themselves in Ual-Ual.

According to, Italian military preparation must therefore continue and accelerate. In August 1935, the British and French foreign ministers agreed in Paris on a new conciliation proposal for Italy: collective assistance from the League of Nations for the economic development and collective reorganization of Ethiopia, which would then be entrusted to the three neighboring nations – England, France and Italy – and eventually all of Italy would be abandoned. This formula has only one value: it provides the international demonstration of Ethiopia’s inability to develop and reorganize itself with its own resources. But it alters, for the benefit of England and France, the principles of the previous agreements between the three powers, which recognized the prevailing Italian positions, and it does not give the Italian government any guarantee of political and military disarmament against Italian interests. The Italian government must refuse. In the meantime, a movement of open hostility to Italy has been created in a large part of the British and French press, especially in the democratic and anti-fascist areas.

On 4 September the Italian representative presented to the League of Nations a memorial on the Ethiopian situation, with the documentation of the Abyssinian aggressions, declaring that the Italian government refuses to negotiate in Geneva on an equal footing with Ethiopia, which has voluntarily excluded itself. by the League of Nations having not fulfilled the conditions proposed and accepted for its entry. On 6 September the Council of the League of Nations decided to appoint a commission of five members to examine the Italo-Ethiopian conflict and to find a formula for a peaceful solution. But on the same day, with an evident intimidating gesture, the British government decides a strong naval concentration in the Mediterranean. On 18 September the Committee of Five presented its conclusions: collective assistance of the League of Nations to Ethiopia with the addition of slight territorial adjustments between Italy and Ethiopia on the coast, encouraged by England and France, and recognition of a prominent Italian interest in Ethiopia’s economic development. But even these proposals deliberately forget the substantial value of the previous agreements reached between Italy, Great Britain and France and do not provide Italy with any guarantee against a repetition of the Ethiopian aggressions.

On 28 September, the general mobilization of Ethiopia is announced. A proclamation launched by the negus says that: “after the victory, as a reward for their services to the king of kings, Eritrea and Somalia will be given to the warriors”. It is no longer the time for delays and doubts. The Ethiopian threat, encouraged by the attitude of British diplomacy and the large staged movement between the leftist parties and newspapers of Europe, requires prompt remedial action. On 3 October the Italian troops, under the command of General Emilio De Bono, pass the Mareb and enter Ethiopian territory.

This rapid succession of dates has substantial value. It proves that the Italian action begins only four days after the definitive ascertainment of the Ethiopian offensive plan, revealed by the general mobilization, and fifteen days after the demonstration of the hostile attitude of the League of Nations. The Kellogg-Briand Pact, which outlaws war, contains a fundamental reservation for the right to self-protection. The British government in its policy of reaction to the Italian enterprise denied Italy this right, but at the same time it exercised it itself when with 15,000 men it invaded the territory of the independent tribes, somewhat agitated, beyond the northern border. -west of India.

Four days after the start of the Italian action, a committee of the League of Nations was formed in Geneva, with irregular procedure, to judge the Italian action. The next day, at the request of the Ethiopian delegate, it condemns Italy for violating the corporate agreement, without even having taken into consideration the Italian memorial which documents Ethiopia’s long aggressive policy and explains the Italian reasons. On 10 October it was decided in Geneva to apply Article 16 of the pact against Italy, that is the financial and economic sanctions that will come into force on 18 November and aim at the isolation of Italy with the refusal of foreign credits and the closing of the markets to Italian exports. A part of these sanctions, that of the suspension of credits,

Italy therefore faces its East African enterprise with two war fronts: one military against the Ethiopian armed masses and the other political and economic against the states that declared themselves sanctioned – no less than 52 – coalesced by British politics which takes initiative of the command and the violent offensive.

The military action, prepared by General Emilio De Bono in the few months preceding the start of the enterprise, with a grandiose transformation of the ports and the road structure of Eritrea and Somalia, takes place under the high command of Marshal Badoglio who in seven months he brings the troops to the occupation of Addis Ababa in the heart of the Ethiopian empire (see Italo – Ethiopian, guerra, App.).

Italy in the 1920's 13

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