Recalling the Invasion of Ethiopia

By Bruce Walker

October  2013 is the 75th anniversary of the Fascist Invasion of Ethiopia, an  event which many would consider the real beginning of the Second World  War.

If  there is no real ideological spectrum, as I maintain in my book, Sinisterism,  and if the world  is divided into those of us who cherish ordered  liberty and the Judeo-Christian  moral values and those who seek to  enslave others and debauch those values,  then you expect people to  behave in ways utterly inconsistent with an  ideological spectrum.

That  is precisely what happened in the Italian invasion of Ethiopia.  Both   Nazi Germany and militarist Japan opposed the Fascist invasion of   Ethiopia.  In the spring of 1935, a German documentary film, Abyssinia Today,  was widely  distributed within the Third Reich and it was  enthusiastically reviewed by  German newspapers.  The documentary was  highly sympathetic toward Haile  Selassie and presented his rule as one  of enlightenment and  modernization.  At the same time, newspapers in the  Third Reich printed  articles ridiculing the Italian Army and predicting  its defeat if it invaded  Ethiopia.

While  the British and French stopped arms from being shipped through their   territories to the Ethiopians, the Nazis provided the Ethiopians with a  vast  amount of weapons and ammunition to fight the Fascist invader.   This  included 16,000 rifles and 600 machine guns, as well as many  submachine guns  and hand grenades.  Japan also provided the Ethiopians  with weapons to  fight the Fascists.  This resulted in a  counter-offensive in December 1935  successful enough for German and  British military analysts to believe that  Italy could not win in  Ethiopia.

Hitler  personally ordered that the Ethiopians receive thirty anti-tank guns  with  armor-piercing shells and three German aircraft to fight the  Fascists.   The Nazis continued to supply Ethiopian guerrillas even after  the Fascist  conquest of the nation, and it was not until three months  after the Nazis  annexed Austria in 1938 — an action which happened only  after the Fascists  stopped supporting an independent Austria — that  Nazi Germany even recognized  the Italian conquest of that nation.

If  Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan had opposed Fascist Italy in its  invasion of  Ethiopia — although each was on the notional “Far Right” of  the ideological  spectrum — then one might expect that the Soviet Union  — the leader of the  notional “far left” — would have acted against  the Fascists in Ethiopia.   But that is not what happened.

Although  the Soviet Union formally condemned the invasion, the Soviets in  practice  supplied Italy with huge quantities of oil and war material, as  authors at the  time noted.  Max Eastman, a prominent American Communist  who had seen the  error of his ways, in 1941 observed:  “Stalin went  right on supplying him  [Mussolini] with oil.”  Eugene Lyons, another  repentant American  Communist, the same year noted:  “[the Soviet Union]  had continued to sell  oil and grain to Italy while pretending to oppose  Ethiopian  aggression[.]”  Forty freighters carrying Soviet supplies of  wheat, oil,  coal, tar, oats, and timber reached Italy as the invasion   began.

The  phony ideological spectrum was turned on its head in other ways.    Mussolini and his Fascists gave a couple of reasons beyond imperial   aggrandizement for their actions.  Mussolini presented himself as   “Defender of Islam” and opposed the Christian rule of Emperor Haile  Selassie  over the many subject Muslim areas in the Ethiopian Empire.   The Fascists  also vowed to end slavery in Ethiopia, and two million of  the ten million  Ethiopians were slaves.  In short, the Fascists, like  all other gangs that  hate liberty and spit upon Judeo-Christian values,  could present a reasonable  rhetorical argument for their misdeeds.

The  reality, of course, was very different.  The ideological spectrum — a   nonsensical invention of those who would deny us liberty and values —  is alive  and well.  During the debt ceiling debates, for example,  Democrats talked  incessantly about the “far right” and “extremists” as  if these terms were some  sort of policy argument.  Think for a moment  how these enemies of liberty  would present their case if there was no  such thing as a “far right” or a “far  left.”

Barry  Goldwater, who as the only major-party presidential candidate of Jewish  descent but who was also  demonized as an acolyte of this “far right,”  defined quite correctly what  moving “too far” in a particular political  direction meant:  “Extremism in  the defense of liberty is no vice.”   Goldwater, who was as much a maverick  as anyone in American politics,  was trying to say that liberty — individuality  un-coerced by the state  — the very heart of our political  values.

The  Fascists who invaded Ethiopia seventy-five years ago were not the  “polar  opposites” of the Marxists who ran Russia.  Both believed in  exactly the  same things.  Mussolini in 1914 was one of the leading  Marxists on the  planet (something Trotsky noted at the time).  Once we  grasp that those  who hate Jews, hate Christians, and hate liberty are  our real foes today, then  we will begin to be able to defeat them.

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