In Abyssinia, what was the Wal Wal Incident?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Wal Wal (aka Walwal, Welwel, Ual Ual) is an oasis town in Ethiopia (aka Abyssinia) that was the site of the Wal Wal Incident in 1934. Italian troops, newly arrived from nearby Somalia, moved more than 50 miles inside Ethiopia to the oasis of Wal Wal, where they constructed a fort in violation of the Italo-Abysinnian Treaty of Friendship. There, they confronted a group of surveyors who had been mapping the borders of Ethiopia and British Somaliland. The British protested the presence of the Italian troops but withdrew to prevent possible bloodshed; the Ethiopians, however, sent troops to Wal Wal, where they faced off with the Italians for two weeks. A skirmish ensued which culminated in more than 150 dead. The Italians demanded financial remunerations and apologies, which were denied by Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie. Selassie turned to the League of Nations, which reached a stalemate in negotiations. Meanwhile, Mussolini and Italy prepared for war, sending more troops to neighboring Eritrea and Italian Somaliland.

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sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The Wal Wal Incident was a skirmish between Italian troops and Ethiopian troops at the Wal Wal oasis in 1934.  The incident resulted in the deaths of more than 150 soldiers.  

In 1930, Italy built a fort at the Wal Wal oasis that was clearly inside Ethiopian territory, and it was a direct violation of a 1928 treaty.  Relations between the two nations remained peaceful for years after the fort was built; however, that ended in late 1934.  On November 22, 1934 the Ethiopians arrived at the fort with a force of about 1,000 men.  The troops demanded that the Italians turn the fort over to them. The Italians refused, and tensions escalated until a battle broke out between the two forces on December 5 and 6 of 1934.  

Both countries blamed the other country, and both sides of the conflict demanded apologies.  Ethiopia asked the League of Nations to step in and help; however, the League of Nations decided not to punish either country.  

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