Accession Number:



Military Operations in the Italian East Africa, 1935-1941: Conquest and Defeat

Descriptive Note:

Master's thesis

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Mussolini sacrificed the Italian East Africa Empire and its armed forces with the expectation of regaining it through the peace negotiations he therefore opted for limited prestige victories and then ordered the strict defense of Italian East Africa condemning it to death. At the operational and tactical level, the viceroy Duke Amedeo of Aosta introduced an enlightening pacification campaign in the empire but it was too late for the plan to be effective. At the break of hostilities he showed a great insecurity and was not able to translate the incoherent defensive war plan given by Gen. Badoglio and Mussolini into sound tactical decisions and directions to his generals on the ground resulting in the rapid defeat of the Italian forces. Mussolinis Mein Kampf conceived a political strategic situation in which Italy could play the role of world power and assume the full control of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The quick and decisive victory over Ethiopia by the employment of unrestricted resources and means, and the establishment of the East African Empire, allowed the Duce to make the first important step to meet his strategic vision. He also endured and increased his power and prestige internally and on the international scene. For this reason, instead of devolving the administration of the territories in the new Empire to the local leaders as the viceroys had suggested, Mussolini imposed the direct rule of the Italian administration, leaving no power to the local leaders. This created instability and exhausted the Italian armed forces in the empire. The smashing German victories over the democracies in the first months of World War II, urged Mussolini to enter the war beside Hitler even if the Duce was aware of the total unpreparedness of Italian military, economically, and industrial apparatus. Notwithstanding its important strategic position, the Duce denied the viceroy Amedeo of Aosta all the military reinforcements he needed. With the invasion of Briti

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement: