OPENS H.S.I. MILITARY ACADEMY
….. If, in defending Free Ethiopia and her free-born children from the detestable yoke of slavery, you learn to combine the spirit of heroism which you have inherited from your forefathers with the technical skill which you will acquire at this Academy, the faith and trust which We and Our people have reposed in you will be fully justified, and you will, moreover, be able to be of help to our brethren both far and near …..
Many years have elapsed since We first planned the establishment of this Military Academy which We inaugurate today. The Military College which We instituted at Guennet in 1934 was intended to serve as the bridge towards the attainment of the goal which We now see realized. Though the invasion of Our country interrupted this and the many other projects which we had in those early days laid out for the development and progress of Ethiopia, We can today offer unbounded thanks to Almighty God that We have been permitted to witness the fulfillment of many of Our original projects.
We have long recognized that raising the general level of education in Ethiopia required the opening of many institutions of higher learning, and that We could not attain our objectives unless this was accomplished and large numbers of Our people received extensive education. In this same spirit, We have established this Military Academy in order that Our Armed Forces might acquire the advanced training in military science which is essential under the conditions created by modern civilization. The responsibility which devolves upon this institution is great indeed, for it is this Academy’s task to impart to officer cadets the new skills and techniques by which, in modern warfare, the overwhelming numbers and military might of an enemy may be overcome.
Our forefathers, benefiting from the wisdom which Almighty God revealed to them in their time, fought with valour and heroism to preserve the freedom of Our country. To complement the valour and heroism which Our Armed Forces have inherited from them – qualities which no amount of military training can provide – there must now be provided mastery of the complex techniques of modern warfare. Strength may be useless where skill is required. A mature mind and a wealth of experience are needed to decide upon the time and place where strength and skill may be most effectively combined in battle. A military officer confronted with the task of carrying out an operation entrusted to him by his superiors, feeling the weight of the responsibility of devising the proper means of fulfilling his duty, will be able to call for assistance upon the training he has received in this institution, which, like a torch shedding light both forward and behind, will guide him in his work.
Worth of Freedom
All officer’s duties, however, are by no means limited to ensuring that the soldiers under his command have received proper military training. He must be able to convey to his men the full significance of the tasks assigned to them, so that their hearts and spirits, as well as their bodies, will be enlisted to their fulfillment. He must, in order to defend his country’s material wealth and natural resources from the invader, also have a deep understanding of the true worth of freedom, which he is called upon to defend, and unless his mind is guided by these higher values, he will not measure up to the high standard expected of him.
Today, while man still remains incapable of controlling his insatiable lust for power and wealth and persists in using force as a means for satisfying his desires, his ability to wreak destruction on his fellow-men is steadily increasing. Technology and science have produced in abundance the weapons whereby human life can be wiped off the face of the earth. In the face of these conditions, it is not enough that our young men be brave, and prepared, if necessary, to sacrifice themselves for their principles and ideals. If those who would thrust the world into the holocaust of war are to be deterred from aggressive action it can only be by the threat of a counterblow poised to strike should the need arise. We have considered it Our duty, therefore, to train Our Armed Forces in the modern techniques of defence so that Our people might be spared from the ravages of this most terrible of plagues. It is for these reasons that We have caused this military Academy to be established and have come here today to inaugurate this institution.
The faithful and enlightened services to be rendered by the officer cadets who will study here and who, upon their graduation, will assume the command of Our Armies in the field, will, We sincerely trust, constitute an impregnable bulwark against those who would violate Ethiopia’s glorious tradition of liberty which, for centuries, has been handed down from generation to generation. The officers who will graduate from this institution must be constantly aware that Ethiopia shares in the responsibility of assuring the collective security of the world. Every country that has to struggle for its freedom will naturally look to other freedom-loving nations for assistance in their efforts. We would, therefore, be pleased to see students from our neighbouring nations in Africa benefit from the instruction that is being imparted at this Military Academy.
We would have you realize, you future officers standing in proud ranks before Us, that the tasks which await you will be strenuous and heavy. The words “Learn to obey that you may learn to command” must be engraved on your hearts. Unless one is faithful, no one can trust him. If, in defending Free Ethiopia and her free-born children from the detestable yoke of slavery, you learn to combine the spirit of heroism which you have inherited from your forefathers with the technical skill which you will acquire at this Academy, the faith and trust which We and Our people have reposed in you will be fully justified, and you will, moreover, be able to be of help to our brethren both far and near.
The mastery of modern techniques and methods of warfare calls for unremitting study, constancy of purpose, and intellectual attainments of the highest order. Modern military science, in this nuclear age, is a perpetual spring, and the officers who graduate from this Academy must continue their pursuit of military knowledge long after they have taken place in the field.
Humanity has long dreamed of and anxiously waited for the day when the world would be rid of the plague of war. However, when an aggressor, driven by insatiable appetites and voracious desires, sets out to violate the freedom of a neighbouring land and enslave its people, the latter must inevitably seek to repel the invader with all the heroism and bravery at their disposal. If the invader would only refrain from aggression and seek to resolve by peaceful means whatever quarrels and misunderstandings that exist, surely both sides would be prepared to make their share of sacrifices necessary to achieve a peaceful settlement. We, Ourselves, in Our lifetime, have laboured unceasingly for the creation of the conditions essentially prerequisite to the establishment of an enduring peace. We take great pleasure in the knowledge that Our Country, Ethiopia has become a symbol of hope and freedom to our brethren in all the African countries.
Must be Vigilant
Today, when the itch of war is spreading like an epidemic over the world, and the threat of armed conflict, with all the evil that this portends for men everywhere, hangs heavy over the earth, casting its dark shadow on humanity, men of honour, wherever they may be, must be vigilant in defence of their freedom, so that they may be spared suffering and humiliation. We, Ourselves, if We fail to make adequate preparations for defence, will be held to have failed both in Our responsibility to Ourselves and in Our duty to aid in the preservation of world peace.
The pages of Our country’s history shine with the deeds of soldiers, who, in the spirit of heroism inherited from their forebears, fought in a just cause and for the preservation of peace, as well as those soldier-statesmen, who – in time of peace – laboured for the preservation of humanity’s great ideals and values. It is the example of such men that you who study here should emulate. Your duty is to study their history and to record it for the benefit of future generations.
We express Our thanks to all who have laboured zealously to carry out Our plans and commands for the establishment of this Academy. We would also extend Our special thanks to Prime Minister Nehru of India, who, in the spirit of friendship and mutual assistance existing between the peoples and Governments of Our two countries, selected and deputed a fine team of Indian officers to staff this institution, as also to Colonel Rawlley, the Commandant of the Academy.
Oct. 6, 1958.
Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie - page 623 - &
Speeches delivered by His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie Ist Emperor of Ethiopia on various occasions - page 52 -
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