As explained in the last Ethiopian dev diary, Ethiopia starts in a dire situation with the Italian invasion of the country well under way and any hope of winning the war rapidly diminishing. Haile Selassie historically left the country to rally support through the League of Nations for stopping Italy’s illegal invasion. But Haile Selassie wasn’t the only one in Ethiopia with ideas on how to end the war…
With so many disgruntled factions, the slightest nudge can drastically alter the structure of the empire.
Let's start by looking at the fascist sympathizing aristocrats. Starting at the top of their focus branch, we have Reach out to the Italians. This focus puts the feelers out to see whether the Italians would be willing to support a coup against Selassie in exchange for letting them maintain some level of control once the dust finally settles. This focus also determines who will be the leader of the revolt against Selassie. As can be seen from the icon, there is a choice of three potential leaders, Haile Selassie Gugsa, Hailu Tekle Haymanot of Gojjam and Abba Jofir of Jimma. Each leader has different strengths and weaknesses and will move the power center of the country to their respective regions, should they succeed in overthrowing the emperor. Unfortunately the portraits for these guys aren’t complete, yet so I can’t show them off today.
Back to our alternate timeline, as mentioned earlier on, when taking the Sway the Warlords focus a number of military officers will pledge themselves to the new fascist order. Now when taking the Feast of Maskal focus, these officers will become available again. On top of that, the Victor Emanuel I national spirit will also gain some boosts to make him less negative to Ethiopia.
But at the very end, the big finale for towing the Italian line is the recognition of Ethiopia as a loyal partner to Italy rather than a simple colony. This culminates in the formation of the Italo-Ethiopian Empire in East-Africa and the unification of what was once two separate crowns. And as a goal for the reformed empire, it also gains the Arranged Expansion idea which will transfer control of conquered lands in the region to Ethiopia.
If the new regime intends to fight the Italians, then they must prepare the military. Luckily, taking the Underground Wargames focus will give the troops a substantial advantage when engaging the Italian military. While the collaborationist branch is focused on integrating into the Italian economy, this branch is more about being the absolute worst subject possible. Options for doing this include Set up a Customs Barrier which allows Ethiopia to make trade with Italy as difficult as humanly possible while still avoiding the Regia Marina resorting to gunboat diplomacy. This protectionist measure will give Ethiopia an economic boost, while reducing Italy’s colonial gains from its unruly puppet. If that isn’t good enough of an insult to the Italians, there’s also the option to Contact the Exiles who fled Ethiopia and have them return with foreign weapons for the troops.
Due to the lack of economic support by following this sub-branch, Ethiopia is going to be much more reliant on foreign aid if it is to succeed in driving Italy out of the country. Luckily, there’s usually not a shortage of nations who would like to see Mussolini knocked down a notch or twelve. This can be utilized by Our Enemies Enemy, which allows the other great powers to send military equipment to Ethiopia.
Once Italian rule in Ethiopia has been sufficiently weakened and the underground army is ready to leap into action, it is time to declare independence and prepare for the backlash. Negusa Nagast is the focus that allows Ethiopia to do exactly that, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. If Italy is stubborn enough, they may come down hard on this rebellion, but hopefully preparations made earlier will tip the balance in Ethiopia’s favor.
Even if the Italians are too busy dealing with conflicts elsewhere, they may still be in control of land that is rightfully Ethiopian, which leads me to the next focus. Reclaim the Empire allows Ethiopia to regain cores on territory earlier ceded to Italy, once they are back under Ethiopian control. So, the new emperor has made it this far, apparently saving the empire on multiple occasions through various levels of back stabbing and insurrection. But what now? What is there to do for a newly crowned, backstabbing, insurrectionist of an emperor once he has gained his throne? Probably subjugate everything in the vicinity right? Great, because the final focus of this sub-branch, Consolidate East-Africa, gives Ethiopia claims on territory across the region and the ability to core them once conquered.
Now, you might be thinking, ‘I’m fed up with this aristocratic stuff, this ain’t CK III!’ Well, fascism isn’t the only alternate history path for Ethiopia. Let's wind back the clock again to 1936. As mentioned earlier, there are rumblings from the front and in the streets, it’s not only the aristocracy that are growing frustrated with Haile Selassie’s leadership. The people and the troops are questioning the centuries old aristocracy and turning to the likes of the Soviet Union for inspiration.
This branch starts off with the focus Military Communism which will rally the troops on the front line and get them thinking about alternative systems of government. This starting point for the communist path was influenced by the types of movements that sprung up in Africa during the Cold War which often centered around the military acting as a vanguard party to overthrow the old order. In this timeline, we’re seeing that a little earlier due to the bleak position Ethiopia is in during 1936 and the memory of Russia’s 1917 October revolution still being fresh in the minds of people during the time period.
Following on from this, we have Defending our Homes which grants defensive bonuses on core territory as the troops become desperate to prevent the destruction of their homeland. We also have Anti-Imperialist Agitation which adds a wave of communist support as more and more people turn their backs on the failing imperial system. In order to progress beyond this point of the branch, Ethiopia needs at least 20% support for the communists. As mentioned earlier, Military Communism is based around the military forcing a communist revolution rather than the types of mass movements that have started them in other countries. But while 20% support may seem low, it’s worth remembering that the Italians will be steadily chipping away at your territory, so even getting to this threshold can be a real race against time.
Due to the dire situation brought on by the Italian invasion, the two political factions are forced to cooperate. For the time being anyway. During the coup, Black Lion and Red Guards divisions will become available to help maintain a smooth transition of power and to back up the beleaguered troops on the front line. With control of Ethiopia established, the first major decision to make is how to continue the fight against Italy. The Black Lions advocate for A Callout to the World which will set Ethiopia on a course to rally support from anti-fascists across the globe.
Taking the Callout to the World focus will unlock a number of advisors from across the world including socialists and anarchists such as Sylvia Pankhurst and Emma Goldman. Japanese Anarcho-Communism builds upon this further by recruiting the anarcho-communist Iwasa Sakutarō and the anarcho-syndicalist Ishikawa Sanshirō. Although be aware, these two supposedly really disliked each other, so you won’t be able to hire both of them at the same time. Following on from this, a choice must be made between International Brigades which creates a steady stream of manpower and war support for Ethiopia, or The Peoples Army which reforms the military by removing the conservative high-command and its associated penalties.
Both the anarcho-communist and Soviet sub-branches lead to this focus, The Organization of African Unity. In real life, the organization was established in 1963 with its headquarters in Addis Ababa. The organization strove to become a unifying force in African politics and ultimately became the African Union, a union somewhat similar to the European Union that many might be more familiar with. The roots of this pan-Africanism were already spreading in the 1930s and 1940s however.