Talk:Eritrean War of Independence

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Identity language[edit]

People in the then province of Eritrea were citizens of Ethiopia during the war of independence. What better language can be used to improve lines such as "... drive the Ethiopians out of Eritrea"? Unless legitimate argument can be made that a significant number of people in the region were aligned with Eritrea and not Ethiopia for the duration of the war.. On a related note, was ELF and EPLF fighting the regimes in Ethiopia or Ethiopia the nation? This confusion permeates this article. "Derg managed to repulse the Somalian incursion..." is an example of this. (talk) 02:08, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

Opening lines[edit]

"Eritrea had become part of Ethiopia after World War II, when both territories were liberated from Italian occupation. Ethiopia claimed that Eritrea was part of Ethiopia."

As far as I can read, Eritrea has been integral part of both Kingdom of Axum and Zara Yaqobs Ethiopia. It has come to Italian rule during scramble of Africa, so historically it has been part of Ethiopia in past. So it would be proper to say that it has become part of Selassies Kingdom of Ethiopia after 1947. With no wish to dispute its cultural differences and validity of 1993 referendum, Eritrea was independent of Ethiopia before civic war, only by Italian occupation. It was formed as Italian colony. See So, in fact, it was reclaiming Ethiopian territory before scramble of Africa.

Other factors of independence movement, such as nature of Ethiopian rule etc. surely should remain.

Rasvoja (talk) 21:40, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

Who backed the independence movement[edit]

The article mentions several times how the Soviets armed and supported the Ethiopians. Who armed and supported the Eritreans? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:09, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

From general knowledge, the independence movement was financially supported by diaspora Eritreans. While arms, were salvaged from defeated Ethiopian troops. Ericandude (talk) 07:23, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

Military Commanders[edit]

Perhaps only military commanders should be listed in the box. --Merhawie 23:08, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Foreign involvement[edit]

This link [[1]] Gives an excellent decomposition of many military aspects about the Eritrean War of Independence. Russian and Cuban involvement is one of the topics discussed. Here are some select quotes:

The Ethiopian Air Force (EtAF) became active in Eritrea again already before the Ogaden War was concluded. In December 1977, and in January 1978, a squadron of F-86s, few of newly-arrived MiG-21s and – reportedly – even the sole remaining Canberra B.Mk.52 bomber, were in action against the EPLF, hitting five towns between Asmara and Tessenei, again mainly by napalm. Simultaneously, Soviet Navy warships lent crucial naval fire support from the Red Sea to ensure the harbours would not fall to the rebels. These attacks successfully held off the final rebel offensive, enabling the main units of the Ethiopian Army to concentrate on fighting back the Somali invasion in Ogaden. (snip...)

The Eritrean forces proved ill-prepared to withstand air raids now launched by the reinforced EtAF and soon all the substantial separatist gains of 1977 had been lost to a military campaign reinforced by Cuban training of Ethiopian troops, Soviet military direction and massive provision of military equipment. However, this campaign failed to eradicate the EPLF: it even failed to dislodge rebels from Nakfa even in two subsequent offensives, lasting well into December 1978, and January 1979. The EPLF remained stubborn and the Ethiopian offensive increased the cause of Eritrean independence. The ruthless Soviet-backed assaults (Cubans refused to left their troops become involved in the fighting in Eritrea) drove scores of new recruits into EPLF, whose military commander, Ibrahim Affa, could thus count as many as 45.000 fighters in the field by the end of the year. This force had no significant problems to withstand another large Ethiopian offensive – a Soviet-devised attack by 40.000 Ethiopian troops in the Naqfa area, from 16 to 31 July 1979. In this operation the main Ethiopian force advanced from the south, moving overland, while one division was landed on the Red Sea coast in the back of the Eritreans. In major confrontations the Ethiopians suffered a loss of 6.000 troops killed and injured, and the operation was cancelled prematurely. (snip...)

The EtAF – now actively supported by Cuban-flown MiG-23BNs and Mi-24 helicopters – was completely reorganized and flew dozens of larger and smaller air strikes, mainly hitting a number of fortified village complexes known to have been occupied by the EPLF. The Eritreans returned fire from small arms, but obviously lacked proper anti-aircraft weapons, and thus very few losses were suffered by Ethiopian fliers. (snip...)

In the end, the Operation "Red Star" failed, with the Ethiopian Army and the Soviets suffering (according to contemporary Eritrean sources) as many as 100.000 casualties. Additionally, the Eritreans, now also armed with SA-7s, claimed an An-26 transport shot down near Asmara, on 14 January 1982, and then began attacking the local airfields by artillery as well. (snip...)

The final phase of this war began when in late 1987, the regime had formed a new command, the “Nadew” (Destruction) Command, based in Af Abet, a major logistics and support base for three infantry divisions reinforced with elements of a mechanized division and additional artillery. The offensive was launched in late February 1988, resulting in a series of pitched battles during March. The EPLF was ready: it pre-empted the attack and outmanoeuvered it: between 17 and 19 March, the main body of Ethiopian force was encircled and trapped in a valley near Af Abet, and then subjected to heavy artillery bombardments. By 19 March, the Nadew Command and its three infantry and one mechanized divisions were annihilated, with the loss of 15.000 troops, and the Eritreans captured no less but 50 tanks, 60 artillery pieces, 200 vehicles, and much other equipment intact, together with three Soviet advisors (a fourth was killed in battle). Af Abet was captured on the same evening, and the Eritreans then found themselves on the heels of Ethiopian units that were retreating to Keren. (snip...)

In the last quote they recall the capture of "three Soviet advisors (a fourth was killed in battle)". I did a little digging and I seem to have found this picture [[2]] which is titled:

"Thousands of Ethiopian prisoner of War, including three of their Russian advisors.(From left to Right, Lieutenant Covaldin Alexander Victrovich, Colonel Kalistrov Yuri Petrovich and Colonel Churayef Yevigniew Nicolayevich)"

I have not been able to find out anything further on these people, but here is what the link has to say about the end of the Soviet and Cuban involvement:

By the summer 1989, the TPLF launched the operation “Peace in Struggle”, resulting in the capture of Maychew and a large-scale invasion of northern Wello. The military force responsible for this success was now designated the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which was an umbrella-group for several insurgency movements – most led by Tigreans. After success in Wello, in September the fighting spread into northern Gonder, and on the 30th of the month, the Cuban regime declared its intention to pull the last 2.000 troops out of Ethiopia. The Soviets have had enough as well: openly questioning the wisdom of financing Cuban “internationalist” adventures in Africa, they declared their unwillingness to continue supplying arms, ammunition and equipment. Soon enough, the Ethiopian Army was in total disarray

Mesfin 18:14, 7 September 2007 (UTC)


Do you believe it is wholly accurate to have a 3 sided infobox as opposed to a standard 2 sided. After all...both organizations were fighting for the same cause...just different ideaologies. --Merhawie 12:47, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

Something is missing[edit]

What about the american und israeli support for ethiopia? Why isn't that mentioned in the text??? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:09, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Because there were no American and Israeli support for Ethiopia. -- (talk) 15:16, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

500,000 Ethiopians[edit]

maybe the number refers to the whole Ethiopian Civil War--TheFEARgod (Ч) 15:22, 7 March 2008 (UTC)


I think there is a big mistake. It says the location of the war was Eritrea (as a country), don't you think we should say Eritrea as Ethiopian province. Vob08 (t) 19:24, 11 June 2008 (CET)

  • No. Eritrea was no more a legitimate province of Ethiopia than Ethiopia was a legal part of the Italian Empire from 1936 to 1941. In both instances it was a case of imposed foreign occupation (talk) 05:25, 14 August 2009 (UTC).
    • Actually, I am not sure of that. Since Eritrea voted the union with Ethiopia in 1962, Eritrea was legally part of Ethiopia. Whereas Ethiopia was partially occupied by a foreign army from 1935 to 1941. Why would Eritrean separatists fight for independance if they are already independant. If they were occupied, wouldn't we call that a Liberation war ? Or a normal war between two sovereign states ? I really think we should change the location to Eritrean province of Ethiopia, or something like that. Vob08 (t) 14:28, 6 September 2009 (CET) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
      • I do not believe it should be changed, it is accurate. The Eritrean parliament was forced (at gunpoint) to accept unification. Further the federation with Ethiopia had already been abrogated by the Ethiopian crown when it disallowed the use of Eritrean languages in Eritrea as well as making the Eritrean flag illegal. Finally the Eritrean premier had been removed by the Imperial authorities in Addis and replaced by a representative of the Emperor. Why did Eritrean's rise up? The de facto annexation of Eritrea was far before 1961, 1962 was simply de jure annexation. Merhawie (talk) 13:53, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
        • I still think we should change the location. You point out that the Eritrean parliament was forced, of course, there was a direct military presence, but is this an argument to justify the fact that Eritrea was not a part of Ethiopia. The Eritrean parliament was also composed of many unionists. The reason, I think, why separatist Eritreans rised up is because they didn't want to see their cultural identity disappear in an vast Ethiopian Empire. The main change was the killing of Aman Andom putting an end of a possible peacful resolution and starting the real cause of Eritrean disapproval of the Union: the brutal actions of Mengistu Haile Mariam. Yes, 1962 is the de jure annexation and as you say yourself, 1961 was de facto. We have to consider the location at the moment of the war and not after the war. What is the point of an independance war if Eritrea was already an independant state ? Vob08 (t) 13:54, 12 October 2009 (CET)
  • After checking the first 11 articles on this list, stating just "Eritrea" conforms with wikipedia's standard style.Mesfin (talk) 16:56, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
    • Well, what can I do ? I will accept the rule of the majority eventhough I consider the Algerian independence war to be fought in Algérie française, not in indenpendent Algeria. Let's think about this for about two seconds, let's take an example : battle of Austerlitz ; who are the fighters ? Just France, Russia and Austria, no, they were Empires so the word Empire is clearly mentionned to indicate the situation of the modern states at the moment of the battle. Here, who are the fighters ? Well, it says Soviet Union, South Yemen, those States do not exist anymore. So how could, from 1961 to 1991, the Eritrean State be the location if it was not even existing, it was the reason for the fighters to stand up. Vob08 (t) 23:23, 2 November 2009 (CET)

On the issue of civilian massacare, I saw tw problems , first we need to have a reference to that event, but most importantly I saw a mistake in the period. Because 1970 cannot be in a Derg period. Derg came into power in 1974

  "During this time, the Derg could not control the population by force alone. To supplement its garrisons, forces were sent on missions to instill fear in the population. An illustrative example of this policy was the village of Basik Dera in northern Eritrea. On 17 November 1970, the entire village was rounded up into the local mosque and the mosque's doors were locked. The building was then razed and the survivors were shot"  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:15, 13 April 2014 (UTC) 


There are far more non-combatants than combatants in the infobox. Could we throw out countries that didn't provide lethal support for one of the sides? --Mikrobølgeovn (talk) 11:45, 1 November 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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