ABSTRACT

On 30 December 1934, Mussolini informed his military advisors of his decision to destroy Ethiopia. ‘Time is working against us’, he warned. Soon Ethiopia would be transformed from a feudal kingdom into a centralised state capable of large-scale mobilisation. Purchases of advanced military equipment from Europe combined with the related training programmes had significantly raised the quality of its armoury. ‘In my view’, Mussolini declared, ‘Ethiopia’s military preparations are a serious potential threat to our colonies, especially if we become engaged in a European war. ... The longer we wait to liquidate this threat, the more difficult and costly the war will be’. The logical conclusion was to order the total conquest of Ethiopia. ‘The empire’, he proclaimed, ‘cannot be made otherwise.’1