REASONS FOR THE DEFEAT OF ETHIOPIA BY ITALY BY 1936

REASONS FOR THE DEFEAT OF ETHIOPIA BY ITALY BY 1936
  • Disunity in Ethiopia. At this unfortunate moment the provincial governors did not co-operate with the Emperor they even desired to take over throne. The Italians facilitated this disunity by encouraging the Wello- Galla people to fight the Amharic. The Galla chiefs were bribed not to mobilize people against the Italians further the military comander Gansa was also bribed to head his forces to dangerous areas, all this disunity worked in favor of Italians.




  • The arms embargo placed on Italy and Ethiopia by the LON (League of Nations) only affected Ethiopia. This was a white man’s conspiracy to weaken Ethiopia for Italy could provide its own arms.
  • Ethiopia lacked adequate weapons and if any they were faulty, they lacked bullets, their weapons (rifles) were unserviced since the days of Menelik II. Ethiopia had only 11 slow unarmed planes, 3 of which could not leave the ground and one of which had been given to the Red Cross. The air force had only 371 booms and 13 outdated aircraft guns while most of hand rifles could not fire. This gave Italy an upper hand to defeat Ethiopia.
  • Italy under Mussolini had organized their army with all types of arminitions like modern war planes, artillerally, poisonous gas bombs and other explosives. This was unmatched when compared to the Ethiopian army.
  • Ethiopia had very few troops and if any had outdated tactics of war or had forgotten them since Menelik’s death in 1913. This in effect only worked to favor Italians.




  • Lack of assistance from the peasants because soldiers only concentrated in urban areas. They instead gave support to Italians precipitating the Ethiopian defeat.
  • The weakness of the League of Nations, it lacked a strong command force since great powers like USSR, Germany, USA had not joined or had left the League. This denied the League of any strong possible influence it could use to stop the war. This gave an open vent for Italy to crush Ethiopia.
  • Italy was not attacking a colonial power that the League of Nations would be forced to act, Ethiopia was seen as free in the context of colonialism and other powers like Britain and France just watched events to take their own course. They even recognized the Italian conquest of Ethiopia by 1936.
  • The 1929 -34 world economic depression made Ethiopia vulnerable, countries were made severely poor and therefore could not offer any assistance allowing Italy conquer Ethiopia to its satisfaction.
  • Italy got assistance from Somalia, and Eritrea; they offered bases and even fought alongside the Italian army. This reinforcement gave Italy morale hence overpowering Ethiopia in 1936.




  • Haille Sellassie flew to Britain in 1936 for his dear life and left a political vacuum, therefore, leaving Ethiopians without a leader to mobilize the people. This made the natives lose morale to the advantage of Italy.

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