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On the Eve of the Italian Invasion of Ethiopia

Japanese Cartography/ Ethiopia/ Somalia/ World War II. TOKYO NICHINICHI SHIBUN (Newspaper) [Tokyo, 1935]
[In translation:] The Most Recent, Detailed Map of Ethiopia & the Surrounding Area. 29 1/8 x 20 ½ inches
A few reinforced splits, else excellent on good paper.


Published literally just days before the Italian invasion of Ethiopia on October 3rd of 1935, this excellent, well-preserved map, issued as a special supplement by two Japanese newspapers, highlights a little known diplomatic set of circumstances in the lead up to World War II. The mere existence of a Japanese-produced map of this part of the world at the time is initially puzzling, until the diplomatic context of the period is understood. Ethiopia and Japan were at the time on quite friendly terms in the 1930s, with some in Ethiopia regarding Japan as a model for its own attempted growth. When both England and France refused to stand in the way of an Italian invasion of Ethiopia, a final hope was that Japan would step in to do. This was not forthcoming, and as the images of Haile Selassie and Mussolini shown on the map as if pitted against each suggest, the Italian invasion was inevitable.

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