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Humanitarian ImperialismThe Politics of Anti-Slavery Activism, 1880-1940$
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Amalia Ribi Forclaz

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198733034

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198733034.001.0001

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The Crisis of Anti-Slavery Activism

The Crisis of Anti-Slavery Activism

(p.172) 6 The Crisis of Anti-Slavery Activism
Humanitarian Imperialism

Amalia Ribi Forclaz

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 focuses on the crisis of anti-slavery activism after 1935. The paradoxes of the Ethiopian invasion, with its many facets of violence and compassion, marked the end of an era of humanitarian imperialism. In the wake of the conflict, the perpetration of war crimes by the Italian military, notably the use of poison gas, became a subject of international controversy. The war unleashed anti-imperialist sentiments and caused a rupture in the self-perception and reception of anti-slavery campaigners in Europe. The British capital became a pivot of anti-imperialist and pro-Ethiopian relief organizations that challenged the basic tenets of imperial paternalism, thus exposing the wide-reaching discontentment amongst colonial populations. Whereas the Italian anti-slavery organization fell victim to domestic squabbles, the British organization was forced to rearticulate its campaigning strategies in the light of impending war and the looming dismantlement of the imperial order.

Keywords:   anti-slavery activism, war crimes, Ethiopian relief organizations, anti-fascism, humanitarianism, colonial development, Second World War

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