Italian East Africa
Birth and Fall of an Empire
Imprint: Helion and Company
288 Pages, 6.7 x 9.6 in, c 100 b/w photos, 16 pages color illustrations, c 30-40 maps
- February 2024
Italy’s colonial adventure in East Africa, which had begun in the previous century and which ended abruptly with the defeat at Adua in 1896, regained impetus with the advent of Fascism which quickly began a campaign to expand Italian holdings in the so-called “Horn of Africa”. With the Itali-Ethiopian War, fought between 1935 and 1936, Italy invaded the Empire of Ethiopia and its territory, and along with Eritrea and Italian Somaliland, formed the new empire, Italian East Africa. Between 1936 and 1940, many operations were conducted against Ethiopian resistance which broke out throughout the country. With the beginning of the Second World War, Italian East Africa was cut off and had to act independently without being able to receive aid and supplies from the mother country. Nevertheless, during the early phases of the war, a series of offensive operations were carried out which led to the conquest of Kassala and of British Somaliland. The inevitable and massive British counteroffensive followed, which in the space of a few months completely upset the Italian forces in East Africa, who nonetheless fought valiantly, especially at Keren. Following the fall of Addis Ababa, Italian resistance continued first at Amba Alagi and then in the Gimma region and finally at Gondar, where Italian soldiers wrote pages of military glory. This book analyses the principal Italian military operations in Italian East Africa, with particular focus on the period between 1940 and 1941, with a description of the various battles.