The Addis Ababa Massacre: Italy's National Shame

The Addis Ababa Massacre: Italy's National Shame

by Ian Campbell


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In February 1937, following an abortive attack by a handful of insurgents on Mussolini's High Command in Italian-occupied Ethiopia, 'repression squads' of armed Blackshirts and Fascist civilians were unleashed on the defenseless residents of Addis Ababa. In three terror-filled days and nights of arson, murder and looting, thousands of innocent and unsuspecting men, women and children were roasted alive, shot, bludgeoned, stabbed to death, or blown to pieces with hand-grenades. Meanwhile the notorious Viceroy Rodolfo Graziani, infamous for his atrocities in Libya, took the opportunity to add to the carnage by eliminating the intelligentsia and nobility of the ancient Ethiopian empire in a pogrom that swept across the land.

In a richly illustrated and ground-breaking work backed up by meticulous and scholarly research, Ian Campbell reconstructs and analyses one of Fascist Italy's least known atrocities, which he estimates eliminated 19-20 per cent of the capital's population. He exposes the hitherto little known cover-up conducted at the highest levels of the British government, which enabled the facts of one of the most hideous civilian massacres of all time to be concealed, and the perpetrators to walk free.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190674724
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 08/15/2017
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Ian Campbell, a development consultant specializing in East Africa, has been studying and writing on Ethiopia since 1988. The author of several scholarly papers on various aspects of Ethiopian cultural history, his works on the Italian occupation (1936-41) include The Plot to Kill Graziani and The Massacre of Debre Libanos.

Table of Contents

List of Maps xi

List of Tables xiii

List of Figures xv

Abbreviations xxiii

Notes on Transliteration xxv

Glossary & Explanatory Note xxvii

Acknowledgements xxxiii

Forword Richard Pankhurst xli

Introduction 1

1 Background 9

Prelude 9

Addis Ababa on the Eve 22

Invasion and Occupation 25

Policies of Repression 29

Warnings and Foreboding 45

Yekatit 12 47

2 The Trigger 49

Speeches and Shocks 49

Slaughter at the Palace 51

3 An Hour of Mayhem 59

The Circle of Death 59

Slaughter in Arada 72

Escape to Qechené 81

Foreign Dispatches 82

4 Death in the Afternoon 91

Curfew (1.00-1.30 pm) 91

Arrests, Detention and Murder (1.30-5.00 pm) 92

A State of Siege 104

5 Carta Bianca 111

'Do As You Please!' (4.30-5.00 pm) 111

Terror Unleashed (5.00-6.45 pm) 115

Fire and Fury (6.45 pm Friday-6.00 am Saturday) 126

Villages of Death 137

6 The Second Day 159

The Morning After 159

The Killing Continues 161

The Transport Operations 166

Inside the Municipality 174

Saturday Afternoon 175

Mohamedally under Attach 179

Another Night of Fire and Fury 182

7 The Third Day 187

Sunday Morning 187

'Reprisals Should Cease' 191

Sunday Afternoon 194

Blackshirts out of Control (Sunday Night) 196

A Deadly New Development 200

8 The Aftermath 205

The Battlefield 205

Horrors at the Central Police Station 208

Flight from the City 215

Adrenalin Runs High 216

Terror on the Outskirts 219

Body Disposal at Gulelé 221

The Detained 223

The Mystery of Engert's Refuguese 234

9 Roman Justice 239

Elimination of the Undesirables 239

The Suspects 242

The Young Ethiopians 256

The Nobility and Notables 274

10 The Reckoning 279

Who Gave the Order? 279

The Participants 282

The Victims 295

Unsung Heroes 299

The Death Toll 308

Conclusion 327

Robbery With Violence 330

11 The Cover-Up 333

Perfect Tranquillity 333

The Emperor Returns 339

In Memoriam 343

Appeals for Justice 346

The Final Sabotage 348

12 Reflections 351

Epilogue 355

Appendix I Young Ethipians Executed Following Yekatit 12 379

Appendix II Partial List of Addis Ababa-based Nobles and Notables Executed Following Yekatit 12 391

Appendix III Telegram of 19 February 1937 from Minister Alessandro Lessona to Provincial Governors 395

Appendix IV Phonogram of 21 February 1937 from the Fascist Party Office to the Chef de Cabinet 397

Appendix V Photography 399

Notes 407

Bibliography 447

Index 463

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