“The hour is grave. Arise everyone, take up your arms and rush to the defence of your country. Rally to your chiefs. Obey them wholeheartedly. Repel the invader. Those unable owing to infirmity must help in this sacred quarrel with prayer. God be with us. Forward for the Emperor and country,”

-Heile Salassie 1935

In August of 2012, the Mayor of Affile, in Italy, was able to obtain $160,00 in regional funds and also some private money for the building of a Mausoleum dedicated to preserving the memory of Field Martial Rodolfo Graziani, the “Butcher of Ethiopia.” Graziani was also responsible for countless deaths in Libya, many of them in concentration camps. The words on the monument were to be “Fatherland” and “Honor.” This would be very much like a German mayor using public funds to build a monument to Adolph Eichmann. In any event, this did not go down well in many places, especially Ethiopia. (See link to full story at bottom,)

French Imagining Ethiopian Army

SOFREP published a piece of mine about the three Ethiopian “Kagnew” (“Conqueror”) battalions in the Korean War. I was interested not least of all because my father was the first liaison officer to the first battalion deployed in 1951. In reviewing Ethiopia’s history, especially during the years 1935-1947, it is a wonder that Ethiopia was willing to place its soldiers in battle alongside those of countries that had caused it great harm through acts of commission or omission. Its early history with the United Nations was less than rewarding.

Ethiopia was a flourishing civilization at the time of the Roman Empire. It was the first empire to adopt Christianity (about 40 years before Rome). Ethiopia’s church is closely related to the Coptic Christian Church in Egypt. Rome and Ethiopia got on very well. Ethiopia these days about 70% Christian, 20% Muslim (no major problems there) and 10% Animist, Ethiopians can be very light skinned, or very dark. For the most part their features are not “African” but rather more “Semitic” from many hundreds of years of interaction with Arabs of various nationalities. Their food is spicy and more along Arab lines.

Ethiopia managed to avoid being a victim of the “Scramble For Africa.” In the 1890s, Italy tried to conquer Ethiopia (for details see Kagnew article). Italy suffered a crushing defeat, many soldiers killed, many taken prisoner (properly treated and released to the Italian government) and much equipment lost. The defeat at Adwa (also spelled Adowa) was far worse than the British had suffered at Isandlwana, The Italians had more men and far more modern weapons. The desire for revenge for Adwa would burn for decades,


Rodolpho Graziani

Italy did not become a single nation until well into the 19th Century, after a great deal of conflict. Being late to “form a band,” they were also late “going on tour.” England, France and others had colonies. Italy decided to catch up and wound up with Eritrea and Italian Somalia. Italy wanted more, but after Adwa left Ethiopia alone for a time.