Skip to main content
Ethiopian flag patch on a soldier's shoulder
On this day:

Ethiopia stands alone as Italy invades

Image: Bumble Dee /

The League of Nations votes to impose deliberately ineffectual economic sanctions against Fascist Italy for its invasion of Ethiopia. Steps that would impede the progress of the invasion, such as banning the sale of oil to Italy and closing the Suez Canal, were not taken out of fear of igniting hostilities in Europe.

In the first loss of Ethiopian independence in its long history, tens of thousands of Ethiopians were killed as the Italian army employed poison gas and other modern atrocities to suppress the country. By the end of 1936, the Italian conquest of Ethiopia was complete. Ethiopia’s leader, Emperor Haile Selassie, went into exile but returned in 1941 when British and Ethiopian troops liberated the country. Ignoring the British occupation authorities, Haile Selassie quickly organised his own government.