Today marks what will, perhaps, be recorded as the most significant day in world history, for today has at last been brought to account and to a crushing defeat a worldwide philosophy of aggression against all peace-loving nations. This glorious victory has been won because those peace-loving nations have persisted for long years of incredible hardships, sacrifices, and determination to achieve freedom, decency, and justice not for themselves alone but for the entire world. It is in this sense that the victory over Japan which started in 1931 her infamous attack upon our great friend the Republic of China and which led to the equally infamous aggression against Ethiopia in 1935 and against Europe in 1939, takes on its deeper significance for world history.
We have today, reversed the policy of expediency at the expense of international justice. Today the victory which We now celebrate, represents not only the triumph over Japan, not only the triumph over those same forces in Europe which were part and parcel of the same struggle, but also a triumph of the principle of collective security enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations signed at San Francisco.
However, at this solemn moment in history Our hearts turn in grief and tender reflection to those countless families throughout the world who have sacrificed their most cherished possessions, their husbands and sons, that justice might triumph. This victory has been achieved at a cost of lives, sufferings, and treasure that have never before been equalled. It has also recorded the bravest and most heroic deeds and actions of modern times. In history will ever be enshrined the battle-fields of Alamein, of Stalingrad, of Anzio, of Normandy, of Iwo Jima and of Okinawa. Ethiopia, with the other United Nations and more than most, has contributed her maximum efforts to the attainment of that victory. She will, with all others, however, remain eternally grateful to the British Empire, for her aid in liberating Ethiopia and, during those dark hours of 1940 and 1941, in carrying on alone the war for the defence of decency and liberty; to the Soviet Union, through incredible acts of heroism, for having ground to dust the vast German armies in the East; and finally to the United States of America for its great sacrifices in men and wealth, which with the combined forces of Britain and the Soviet Union made possible the invasion of Europe and which by a series of brilliant naval and air victories achieved the defeat of and victory over Japan.
These sacrifices, the sacrifices of other United Nations and the long bitter struggle of Our Empire for the defence and furtherance of the cause of collective security impose upon all nations alike the obligation rendered sacred by the life-blood and sufferings of Our people to ensure that war will not again sear the face of Our fair lands, and that justice and not expediency shall guide the councils of nations and, in the words of the Charter of the United Nations “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of nations large and small.”
Aug. 15, 1945.
Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie – page 88 –