Most folks know of fascist Italy’s conquest of Ethiopia in the 1930’s. The conquering of Abyssinia was greeted in Rome with wild celebration culminating in Il Duce’s famous balcony speech from the Palazzo Venezia – “I have given you empire!”.
It was wildly celebrated because the war against Ethiopia was the second conflict between Italy and Abyssinia.
The First Italo-Abyssinia war occurred in 1895 – 1896 when Italy as we know it today was only 35 years old. Italy, the least of the “great powers” was seeking her “place in the sun”.
The Italy of the late nineteenth century was barely a “nation”. The northern cities of Turin and Milan cultivated the intellectual elite while south of Rome, Italy was a country of peasants and land owners. The intellectuals didn’t even speak the same language as the peasants. Millions of the destitute were illiterate. Malaria and cholera regularly…
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