Ethiopian Liberation War

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Ethiopian Liberation War (in Ethiopia known just as Liberation War) refers to the Second Great War in Africa; especially first part of it when Ethiopian Empire retook all the port cities, formerly controlled by colonists. The ideology behind the war, which at first was to "liberate whole Ethiopia" (that is, retake the port cities), later became largely to create a single black African state, free from colonial rule, ruled by the Emperor of Ethiopia.


Capture of the port cities

Ethiopia prior to the war

After Batavia was annexed by the Holy Roman Empire in the August and October of 1940, Ethiopia overtook Socotra despite the protests of the Batavian government in exile, Socotra having been part of Batavia since the First Great War.

In November 10th of 1940 the emperor of Ethiopia gave ultimatums to the governments of France, the Federated Kingdoms, the Republic of Lombardy and the Kingdom of Two Sicilies in which it was requested that the said countries would vacate the port cities of Mogadishu, Jamaame, Kismaayo, Iddan, Hurdiyo, Dante and Eyl (and the surrounding lands), that were ceded to these countries as a consequence of the Ethiopian loss in the First Great War. The ultimatum gave the countries 72 hours for fulfilling its order, before "Ethiopia would use the means necessary to liberate the lands in question".

All the countries that received the ultimatums were in war against the Holy Roman Empire and Russia and thus were preoccupied with the events at Europe. The Republic of Lombardy officially accepted the ultimatum and vacated the port of Eyl; the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and France took the steps necessary to ensure the safety of the local inhabittants of European origin and ordered many ships to leave the ports, including the military ships. Both France and the Two Sicilies attempted to negotiate for terms, but Ethiopia was uwilling to do so. The Federated Kingdoms prepared no diplomatic answer to the ultimatum.

In November 12th Ethiopian forces entered Eyl, a port of Republic of Lombardy, and the surrounding areas. In November 13th, the ports of Two Sicilies of Kismaayo and Iddan were entered, without almost any resistance (Kingdom of Two Sicilies ordered its troops not to resist, expecting that in that case Ethiopia would permit them to get back to the homeland) and later that day - the French ports of Mogadishu and Hurdiyo. The French resisted, and about 80 French troops died in the battles (Ethiopian casualties were around 130), but, eploying the German tactics of Blitzkrieg, the ports were largely under Ethiopian control in the evening, when the major campaign against the ports of Federated Kingdoms (Jamaame and the island of Dante) started. While the FK expected to be able to defend the ports from what they seen as "unprepared and badly equiped army", the different thing happened, and the Ethiopian determination to get back what they seen as unfairly occupied lands of their country helped the Ethiopian victory, although the ports were badly damaged, but some FK military vessels were captured. In the November 14th the Emperor of Ethiopia delivered his famous speech "Today Africa is born again". In the 15th of November the FK areas were fully conquered. The battles took the toll of 290 FK troops and over a 1000 of Ethiopian troops, but the takeover heavily boosted the Ethiopian morale. The Federated Kingdoms, and later France, officially confirmed that a "state of war exists between them and Ethiopia", which could be considered the time when Ethiopia entered the Second Great War. With France and the FK being preoccupied with the war in Europe however, no actual warfare started, except for some airship bombing.

In late November and December of 1940 Ethiopia, using the success in the takeover of the ports to back its words, started diplomatic negotiations with the neutral sates of Castile and Leon, Aragon, Portugal and the Scandinavian Realm over the return of the Ethiopian ports controlled by them to Ethiopia. Castille, Aragon and Portual agreed to cede their ports for a payment (officially styled "payment to compensate for the improval of the ports and the infrastructure during the years of European control" rather than a payment fior lands themselves, as Ethiopia saw the lands as occupied unfairly, and thus would not consider paying money to get them back), understanding that they probably would be unable to fight a war so far away. Scandinavian Realm refused and started to stockpile weaponry in its port of Meregh. The prolonged negotiations continued without much success.

War in the West

In the January of 1941 Ethiopia successfuly waged war in the west against the almost undefended French colonies, and overtook the Azande Chiefdoms and the eastern part of Central African colony by the mid 1941. Usually, the local natives seen the Ethiopians as liberators.

When the Holy Roman Empire occupied Dalmatia in 1941, Ethiopia issued a decree under which it stated that it would cosider the Dalmatian territories in Africa to be "Terra nulius" and thus legitimate to occupy. Ethiopia invaded Upper Nigervolta without much resistance. By the end of 1941, it controlled most of the Upper Nigervolta and northern Gold Coast.

The war agaist the Dalmatian colonies ceased in middle 1942, when independent native regimes established in Gold Coast and Togo. Instead of fighting them, Ethiopia supported them in order to be seen as the liberator of Africa (although the Emperor did not like the possible rise of competing powers in Africa).

The prime strategic goal of the war in the west was to secure the entrance to the Atlantic Ocean. It was fulfilled in the June of 1943, when Gabon was conquered.

Expansion to the South

After the war against the former Dalmatian colonies ended in middle 1942, Ethiopia looked for new areas to expand. It as well wanted to expand its influence over the uncolonised states in the middle of the continent (Native States, Kasai, Katanga). Using the perception that the black people of Pakštuva and Buganda are being discriminated, Ethiopia teamed with China and invaded those countries in the Borderland war of October, 1942. Ethiopia annexed most of Buganda, while China annexed most of Pakštuva. It is generally assumed that Ethiopia permtted China to annex relatively large area in order to secure its support and noninterference in the affairs of the Middle African independent states. China was as well the major supplier of weapons to Ethiopia.

Prior to the Borderland War, the Secret Treaty of Mogadishu was signed in the August 1st of 1942, which patitioned the influence spheres of Ethiopia and China in Africa. Chinese influence sphere would include all the Federated Kingdoms colonies in South Africa, eastern Dalmatian Congo, Maasai, while the central parts of the continent would be in the Ethiopian sphere of influence, except for Katanga, status for which was left "undeterminated and depending on the future developments in that nation", basically because the Chinese seen the Katanga to be in vital strategic position on the way to the eastern Dalmatian Kongo, while Ethiopians did not want to allow Chinese to annex an independent African state. The north of the continent would probably be left for Germany, but this was not officially described in the treaty - the treaty only delimited the border of the Ethiopian and Chinese zones of influence.

During the 1943 and 1944, the Native States were militarily unified with Ethiopian support by the pro-Ethiopian leadership and became an ally (Ethiopia ceded some of the conquered territories to the Native States), while pro-Ethiopianists gained more power in Kasai and Katanga as well. In the former Dalmatian Kongo there was a civil war going on, in which Ethiopia largely supported the African Front troops.

Capture of Aden

Using the preoccupation of the Federated Kingdoms navy in the Battle in the Channel, the Ethiopians planned and carried out the invasion of Aden in early 1943, in which most of Ethiopian navy and air force was used. The important British port and air base was heavily damaged and was overtaken by the Ethiopian forces, severely damaging the British ability to fight Ethiopia. Friendly relations were established with the emirates surrounding Aden. Thus many of the emirates became supportive of Ethiopians rather than the Federated Kingdoms and internal conflicts between the emirates started (actually, more related to some emirs wanting to aquire more lands and influence rather than actual international politics).

After the capture of Aden (and the loss of the friendly port of Naujasis Kaunas in Pakštuva due to the Borderland War earlier in 1942), the Federated Kingdoms understood that its power in the east Africa is getting increasingly limited. As such, the Federated Kingdoms started to think of a plan to stop the rapid expansion of Ethiopia, that used to be overlooked until early 1943 due to the importance of war in the Europe.

Internal troubles

By the 1943 the prolonged war and increasing toll of deaths, loose of equipment, as well as the size of the territories that were occupied started to raise some troubles for the Ethiopian government. Various local anti-Ethiopian militias, supported by the Federated Kingdoms and France, were causing damage through partisan warfare in many of the occupied lands. To counter this, Ethiopia increasingly feudalised, giving more power to local pro-Ethiopian warlords in the occupied territories. These warlords became infamous for their usage of war tactics such as murders of civilians and mass rapes - something that was later used against Ethiopia when the war ended.

Invasion of Egypt

Ethiopian advances in Egypt in the years 1943-1944

Egypt had a longstanding dispute with Ethiopia over Nubia, thus the government of Egypt believed that it is only a question of time when Ethiopia would invade the country. By the time Egypt was loosely associated with Federated Kingdoms, although until 1943 it kept itself relatively neutral in the war.

In 1943, when the war between Germany and Russia had started in Europe and the Federated Kingdoms won the Battle in the Channel, Egypt started to believe that the allies would win the war eventually. In order to secure itself (and in order to possibly gain Nubia after allies wins the war), Egypt largely supported the Federated Kingdoms, permitting it to station part of its navy in Egypt, use the Egyptian soil for the establishment of propaganda anti-Emperor radio stations that transmitted into Ethiopia, transport the supplies for the rebels in Ethiopia through Egypt. A pact of "Mutual assitance in case of war" was signed in July of 1943 (which regulated only the things previously mentioned; Egypt by then did not officially enter the war).

Ethiopia seen this pact as a threat to its interests, especially knowing that FK were already using the Suez Channel to enter the Red Sea, where they would blockade Ethiopian ports. During the July Ethiopia stockpiled army on the Egyptian border. In the August 3rd of 1943 in the Red Sea Battle a large part of Ethiopian navy was destroyed (it was possible for the Federated Kingdoms to relocate a part of navy to Ethiopia due to the German preoccupation with fighting the Russians). In August 4th Ethiopians launched a surprise attack against Egypt. Although it was expected that Ethiopians would attack once, the attack itself came at surprise, because the Ethiopians had led the FK intelligence into believing that they would at first give ultimatum to Egypt to "immidietly close the Suez channel to the shipping of the countries hostile to Ethiopia", but this did not happen. In fact, the Federated Kingdoms wanted the war to start, as they expected to be able to bomb the advancing Ethiopian armies with airships then - however, this plan was as well not carried out, as the Atlantic Air War started and the airships were needed at home.

The Ethiopians concentrated primarilly on the heavily inhabitted Nile area, using the riverine fleet that was purposefully built for the atack of Egypt during the years 1941-1942 and the land army. Large initial gains led Ethiopians to overtake Aswan in August 5th, Isna - in August 10th, Luxor - in August 17th. Later with the deployment of the Egyptian troops the attack had slowed down. It was as well harder for the Ethiopians to fight in Egypt due to the perception of local muslims of Ethiopians as infidels, and as well due to the support of Egyptians for pan-arabic rather than pan-african ideas. Therefore, the resistance was heavy, and the loss of troops due to the sabotage attacks was large as well. The war in Egypt was increasingly unpopular among Ethiopians due to these reasons, and as well the reason that, unlike the other black African countries, in Egypt nobody saw the Ethiopian occupation as liberation and there were no pro-Ethiopian movements.

Still, Egypt was no match for Ethiopia. By the November 1943 Ethiopians had overtaken Sohag, in January of 1944 - El Minya, which became the farthest major city of Egypt to be overtaken by the Ethiopians. In addition to advancing along Nile, the Ethiopians as well launched additional attack along the Red Sea coast in December of 1943.

The Somali Revolt

The Federated Kingdoms issued propaganda that supposedly the Ethiopian troops were desecrating mosques and otherwise disrespecting the Islam in Egypt (while indeed some incidents happened, it was not as widespread as perceived). This propaganda was meant to reach the Islamic areas of Ethiopian Empire, such as Somalia, and it indeed did. Protests and public disorder was already increasingly common in the Somali-inhabitted cities of Ethiopia during the January and February of 1944. This made the Ethiopian government to retreat a relatively large number of troops from Egypt to Somalia, and thus the frontline in Egypt basically stopped at a single place. The increasing discontent among the muslims of Ethiopia, among whom many had their sons conscripted into army and fighting in Egypt on the Ethiopian side, reached climax in the March of 1944, after the El Minya incident, when the Ethiopian troops killed praying muslims in mosque of El Minya as they assumed that some resistance fighters are hiding in that mosque. After this, the public discontent in Somalia turned into a full scale revolt.

In order to combat the effects of the revolt without retreating further troops from the Egyptian front, Ethiopians started to conscript troops in the occupied territories and as well from the allied states, such as the Native States and Kasai (pro-Ethiopianists came into power in Kasai in early 1944). In exhange for help in quelling the revolt, Ethiopia ceded some of conquered territories to these states.

The Somali revolt, however, was very bloody resulted in 150000 deaths. In April 15th of 1944 Socotra declared independence from Ethiopia. Due to the fact that Ethiopian navy was decimated in the battles against the British navy, Ethiopians weren't able to do much to reinstate their rule in Socotra, although the Ethiopian government continued to recognise Socotra as part of Ethiopia.

Due to these reasons, the formerly friendly emirates in the Arabic peninsula drifted away from Ethiopia and requested immidiate withdrawal from Egypt and negotiations with the Somali rebels (Islamic Liberation Front of Somalia). As Ethiopia did not answer such requests, emirate of Al Mukalla invaded and overtook the port of Aden in the second week of April.

By the end of April, with the bloodshed in Somalia not ending and having lost two places (Aden and Socotra) already, Ethiopia started negotiations with the Somali rebels. They ended in June, when it was decided that Somalia would be granted a larger autonomy and that the Caliph of Somalia would have the right to decide werether to permit the government of Ethiopia to conscript troops in Somalia or not to. Immidietly after signing this agreement (Treaty of Addis Abeba), the Caliph requested that all the soldiers conscripted in Somalia and serving in Egypt would be returned home (it was later agreed that some of the soldiers would be permitted by the Caliph to be relocated elsewhere instead of being dismissed from the army altogeteher). The contingent in Egypt was largely replaced by soldiers, conscripted from the occupied areas and the allied states.

Partition of Egypt

Although the frontline in Egypt had not moved for half a year by June of 1944, after signing the Treaty of Addis Abeba the situation of the Ethiopians improved. Ethiopia started to improve the relation swith other muslim countries, including the emirates of southern Arabian peninsula. Ethiopia recognised Aden to Al Mukalla in exchange for signing of the treaty of friendship, that would not allow Al Mukalla to use the port against Ethiopia or permit the enemies of Ethiopia to use it; as well, Ethiopia recognised the independence of Socotra, in exchange to a similar traty. In both cases, Ethiopian watchers would be deployed in the ports of said countries, who would watch how well the treaties are being observed. In case of Al Mukalla, Ethiopia as well promised to provide military help for the emirate, which was crucial as the emirate was at war with its neighbors. As such, Egypt started to loose political support from these countries.

In July of 1944, an official international muslim commission, consisting of Islamic clergy from Al Mukalla, Socotra and Somalia was permitted to inspect the areas of Ethiopian-occupied Egypt, and, starting in August, establish a permanent mission "for safeguarding of Islam and the Islamic shrines" there, which would ensure that the Ethiopian army does not shows disrespect to the religion.

In August of 1944 Ethiopia declared that it plans to form the Republic of Egypt in the occupied territories of Egypt and, as well, northern Nubia. The Ethiopians promoted the idea that the Egypt will finally be liberated from the Federated Kingdoms, which supposedly were responsible for getting the country in this war. Some Egyptians actually supported the idea, including even some members of Islamic clergy, who saw it as a good oppurtunity to estabilish their own regime. At this point, the Egyptian government started to be afraid of such developments, as they believed if the Egypt would be partitioned, chances would be that it would never be reunified.

Thus, Egypt, itself drained by the conflict, started to seek oppurtunities for a peace treaty. The Khartoum proposal, made by Ethiopians, offered the Ethiopian withdrawal from the occupied part of Egypt in exchange for the ceding of the Suez canal to Ethiopia - Egypt still would have been able to collect some of the income of the canal, but, however, the Ethiopian Board of Suez Canal would have the absolute power in deciding which ships would be permitted to pass the canal and which would not be permitted. The cities of Suez and Port Said, with the surrounding areas, would as well have been controlled by Ethiopia, as well as several Red Sea ports of Egypt. For these cessions Egypt would be compensated by equal ammount of lands of disputed Nubia.

However, the Federated Kingdoms, having a power, although limited, over Egypt, did not permitted the Egyptians to sign such a treaty and secretly threatened the king of Egypt that, in case such treaty would be signed, "the Federated Kingdoms would be forced to depose the government of Egypt". The Federated Kingdoms had been increasing their land army presence in Egypt during the September-October of 1944 (FK had right to unilaterially increase the ammount of forces in Egypt according to the 1922 bilaterial Agreement on Larger Autonomy for Egypt) , and thus by the time Khartoum proposal was given (in November 2nd of 1944), there were already enough troops in Egypt to stage a coup.

Therefore, Egypt rejected the peace proposal. In December 15th the Republic of Egypt was officially established; it included Ethiopian-occupied southern Egypt and some territories of the Upper Nigervolta that were meant as a compensation of Nubia, which, due to the pressure of many Ethiopians, was after all left as a part of Ethiopia, with the exception of some minor desert lands (leading to discontent among some Egyptians). The areas that were disputed the most my the Egypt - the Nile valley immidietly to the south of Egypt - were however granted a condominium status between Ethiopia and the Republic of Egypt (known as the Nile Valley Condominium).

Mullah Suleiman Muhammad became the president of the Republic of Egypt. He was a good friend of the Somali Caliph. Ethiopian contingent in the Republic of Egypt, although was meant to remain (in order to defend the Republic from the Kingdom of Egypt at the north), was to be changed by Somali muslim troops. This happened by the March of 1945, when 88% of troops serving in the Republic of Egypt were muslims. The nominal independence of the Republic of Egypt was generally opposed by many Christian Ethiopians and was seen as a betrayal of the ideals.

Support for the African nations

Situation in Africa in the December of 1945

By the early 1945 Ethiopia had stopped the aggressive campaigns and instead concentrated on helping the pro-Ethiopian powers in other African countries. A few minor takeovers happened during the 1945 however, with Ethiopia expanding its territory westwards to the Mali somewhat on the pretext that Mali was in civil war and that Ethiopia came to establish order, and as well occupying the final European controlled port on the Ethiopian coast - Meregh of the Scandinavian Realm - in a bloody battle that left over 10000 dead in middle 1945. Such overtaking became possible when the Holy Roman Empire invaded Rygen and thus the Scandinavian Realm was busy fighting the Germans.

Ethiopia as well had troubles fighting various local insurgents, although with the solutions for the muslim revolts in Egypt and Somalia, the actual ammount of rambles decreased.

Continued Ethiopian support for the African Front in the Dalmatian Kongo Civil War led to its victory, and the Free State of Kongo was established in February of 1945. Mali, another Ethiopian puppet state that existed in the western part of the empire, was also established in 1945.

In May of 1945, the African Alliance was established, which was an Ethiopian-led organisation, members of which were the allies of Ethiopia (founding members were Ethiopia, Ashanti, Kongo, Republic of Egypt, Al Mukalla, Native States, Kasai). The members decided to cooperate in various fields, and to "spread the word of Free Africa", which basically meant support for the pro-Ethiopian rebels in countries such as Katanga or the colonies.

In the September of 1945 Ashanti (former Gold Coast) invaded Came Rao, a Portuguese colony. The invasion was supported by Ethiopia from air and ground forces, and as a result Portugal declared war on Ethiopia. The war in Came Rao, was, however, longer than expected, as Portugal, not being in the Second Great War itself, defended the colony. The bombings of Portuguese airships did damage to the Ethiopian cities and large parts of Ethiopia's outdated air force were destroyed as well.

Federated Kingdoms and France refused the Ethiopian proposal for peace treaty, which requested recognition of the de facto boundaries.

Ethiopian-Chinese conflict

The Ethiopian-Chinese relations detarioriated after China invaded and occupied Katanga in October 30th of 1945. According to the Secret Treaty of Mogadishu, the faith of Katanga was left to be determinated later, but, however, it seems that Ethiopia assumed that Katanga will eventually be part of its allies, while China had different opinion. Mass protests happened at the Chinese embassy and consulates throughout Ethiopia. The government of Ethiopia demanded Chinese withdrawal from Katanga, but was reluctant to actually invade China due to the still incomplete war at Came Rao. China proposed a deal under which one fourth of Katanga (later proposals increased the portion to one third) would be ceded to Ethiopia (the regions where the pro-Ethiopianist presence was the largest during the Katangan Civil War), while the rest would remain under Chinese rule. However, for the people of Ethiopia such treaty would bring the message that Ethiopia abandoned its goals of free Africa as it would recognise parts of formerly free state to a new colonist. Therefore, Ethiopia prefered the de facto situation where Katanga was viewed as a "disputed territory", although controlled by China, instead.

Allied invasion of Ethiopia

By the end of 1945 Came Rao had been partitioned between Ethiopia and Ashanti. The intelligence of the Federated Kingdoms got information that Ethiopia plans another surpirse attack on Egypt, which would officially be done by the Republic of Egypt. Together with the Ethiopian-Chinese conflict, which did not permit Ethiopia to aquire some needed weaponry, this was seen as a perfect oppurtunity to strike Ethiopia. The Federated Kingdoms increased its deployment in Egypt, and so did France and Portugal, which were permitted to deploy their forces in Egypt by the Federated Kingdoms.

As separational peace with Russia was signed by the allies and the Atlantic Air War was approaching its end, in the first months of 1946 major airship bombing raids against Ethiopia started. The allied promises of the return of Nubia in case whole Egypt is reunited, as well for the economical support for the war-torn southern Egypt, led into revolt in the Republic of Egypt. This revolt was supported by allies by air raids and, since the March of 1946, invasion. Whole southern Egypt was retaken by April 15th and the allied troops crossed into Nubia. Some of the troops stationed in Republic of Egypt joined the revolt, thus making the retaking of the area quicker.

Ethiopian defense was tough, however, the superiority of the FK air force was clear. The Ethiopian Air Force consisted mostly of outdated airships and was quickly destroyed. In the middle 1946 air raids over Ethiopian cities and towns generally were not stopped anyhow and it is assumed that several million people perished during these air raids. Although Ethiopians had prepared a defensive plan for Ethiopia proper, most of the defensive establishments were as well destroyed from air, raising the ratio of casualties to about 30 Ethiopian casualties per single allied casualty. With the allies closing to and heavily bombing Addis Abeba, the government retreated to Marsabit in country's south.

In June 15th Khartoum fell, in July 4th - Asmara. Generally, the allies would only enter the city when everything is destroyed; the Egypt was promised that the Nubian cities would be rebuilt using allied money.

Under such circumstances, Ethiopia recognised Katanga as a part of China (China ceded only one eight of Katanga to Ethiopia) trying to secure further support, although that recognition was secret, in order not to enrage the Ethiopian people and allies.

The allied invasion of Ethiopia slowed down in later 1946 due to the invasion of Balkans that started, the air raids as well get less tough, but, however, the Ethiopian cities laid in ruins, povetry started and diseases started to spread in major cities, including the capital city Addis Abeba (which was vacated by the government and Emperor). Ethiopians unsuccessfully attempted to launch a counter-offensive in late 1946, the goal of which was probably to persuade the Allies to seek for peace treaty.

Some warlords that ruled their vast areas as feudals of Ethiopia had severed ties with Ethiopia believing that this way they could perhaps remain the rulers of their territories, as they understood that Ethiopia won't last long.

Afroes in NAL protested against the invasion of Ethiopia and wanted the NAL to seek for peace with Ethiopians, which did not happen.

The Ethiopian military campaign of the Allies and bombings renewed somewhat in the early 1947, but actually the resistance was already minor at the time. In the March 15th of 1947 Addis Abeba was captured almost without resistance and so was whole northern Ethiopia in the start of 1947. Ethiopia surrendered after the atomic bomb was dropped on Beijing.

The Somali War

Caliph of Somalia, however, declared full independence from Ethiopia and assumed that the Allies would help him to establish it, but due to the role of the Caliph and his militias in the overtaking of the European-controlled port cities in the 1940, the Allies did not trust him and demanded an unconditional surrender. The Somalia resisted at first, but was overtaken in a brief war in late 1947.

This page was created by Abdul-aziz.