*** Emperor Haile Selassie

Emperor Haile Selassie (Ethiopia, 1891-1975)

 Emperor Haile Selassie
Figure 1.-- Here after the Italian 1935 invasion, we see the Emperor with a son. He has one foot on an undetonated bomb shortly after an Italian air attack near Addis Ababa. The poorly armed Ethiopians put up a stout resistence, but Italian use of poisine gas proved a major factor.

Emperor Haile Selassie was born Ras (Prince) Tafari Makonnen (1891). He was the crown prince and served as regent to the Empress Zauditu (1916-30). Ras Tafari Makonnen succeeded her to the throne (1930). He proclaimed himself Haile Selassie ('Might of the Trinity'). He had been Regent Plenipotentiary (Enderase) for Empress Zewditu (since 1916). He had to defeat Ras Gugsa Wole Bitul (Nephew of Empress Taitu) of Begemidr (present Gondar) at the Battle of Anchem (1928). [Erlich, p. 192.] He ruled as an autocrat making no demovratic reforms. He did attempt to moderize Ethiopia's infrastructure and economy, but the country remined largely medieval. He claimed to be a direct descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. He was also known as 'The Lion of Judah' and 'King of Kings'. Few people took much note of Ethiopia outside the pages of National Geographic until the Italian invasion. He led the resistance against the Italian invasion (1935), often sited as the first Fascist agression leading to World War II. The Emperor was forced to flee the country and his speech to the League of Nations brought the Emperor to the world stage. He was given refuge in Britain (1936). He reintered the country during the British East African campaign and helped lead the Ethiopian resistance forces (1941). A reader writes, "The Axis Forum speculates that Selassi would have been ready to accept an Italian Protecorateship if three conditions were met (detail therein). On another site I read that he was depressed, despondent or dejected (ie pessimistic (regarding British ability to counter Rommel), take your pick, just a matter of degree) and was observed to be ready etc re foregoing above. Have not understood how this was communicated or imparted to others who reported the story. But it doesn't surprise me. I don't think he was very easy to get along with sort of 'awkward cuss' the more you did for him the more he read this as your guilt complex. But this is pure conjecture on my part and how I read his manner. Think Wingate did a lot for him, and I expect Selassie thought he was the only friend he had among the Brits. Re the Axis History forum comments especially the document of the proposed Hoare-Laval pact. Also Musso even made an offer much similar although some of the terms are quite hilarious: he wanted Selassie to "lose" a military battle on the field so as to "be forced" into accepting reasonable treaty terms whereby only some parts of his country would be ceded to Italy. I suppose the "losing a battle" would be to assuage Italian feelings over the battle of Adowa some 40 years before!" 【Hall】 HBC has not yet been able to confirm this with an academic source.


Erlich, Haggai. The Cross and the River: Ethiopia, Egypt, and the Nile (Lynne Rienner Publishers: 2002).

Hall, Dennis Roy. E-mail message, January 14, 2011.


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Created: 1:22 AM 10/6/2023
Last updated: 1:22 AM 10/6/2023