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Second Italo Ethiopian War Documentary (last 21 minutes of footage missing)

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The Second Italo-Ethiopian War, also referred to as the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, was a colonial war that started in October 1935 and ended in May 1936. The war was fought between the armed forces of the Kingdom of Italy and the armed forces of the Ethiopian Empire (also known at the time as Abyssinia). The war resulted in the military occupation of Ethiopia. Politically, the war is best remembered for exposing the inherent weakness of the League of Nations. Emperor Haile Selassie I and his primitive army struggle to defend Ethiopia against Mussolini’s fascist invasion.

In His address to the League, His Imperial Majesty said, “Apart from the Kingdom of the Lord there is not on this earth any nation that is superior to any other. Should it happen that a strong Government finds it may with impunity destroy a weak people, then the hour strikes for that weak people to appeal to the League of Nations to give its judgment on all freedom? God and history will remember your judgment.”

English translation of Mussolini’s speech in Ancona:

“Blackshirts, people of Ancona and of Marche. If you consider this visit of mine as a reward, I declare that you have large and fully earned it. I feel with deep emotion that the passionate and overwhelming tribune of people’s intervention and the very pure hero of the Carso trench has sprung from your people and your land. Today we have inaugurated the new post office building which will be useful for the betterment of your city and for its enhanced trade. We have inaugurated the Palace of the Lictor where all the organizations of the Regime will meet in perfect harmony and we have inaugurated the monument to the Dead, facing that sea which is still bitter.

In many years, when the inevitable passing of time will take us away from this period, men will come to see what we have achieved in peace and war. They will remember 1915, the crucial year in the history of mankind, which matters like 476, 1492, and 1815. There is a before and after: before the war and after the war. Let’s not look at before the war. We are not nostalgic for that time, those men, those events, those doctrines, because we burnt our boats behind us. It is since then that history of Italy starts, the real history of Italy because if before one could think that the history of Italy was the more or less complicated result of diplomatic ploys, intrigues of the government, of passions of minorities, it is only in 1915, with the “bright may” of 1915, that the Italian people bursts on the political scene, cast out the traffickers from the temple, and finally becomes the maker of its own destiny. The conclusion that I am drawing before you, on this sunshiny, hopeful day is this: that today the Italian people and the Fascist Regime are a united, solid entity, unbreakable, formidable, able to challenge, as it challenges, all its enemies and also the passage of time.”

When victory was announced by Mussolini from the balcony of the Palazzo Venezia in Rome, the Italian population was jubilant. From his balcony, Mussolini proclaimed:

“During the thirty centuries of our history, Italy has known many solemn and memorable moments – this is unquestionably one of the most solemn, the most memorable. People of Italy, people of the world, peace has been restored.” The crowds would not let him go—ten times they recalled Mussolini to the balcony and cheered and waved while the boys of various Fascist youth organizations sang the newly composed ‘Hymn of the Empire’ (Inno dell’impero).

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