FACT CHECK: Does This Picture Show Italian Soldiers Surrendering To The Ethiopian Army In 1896?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows Italian troops surrendering to the Ethiopian army after a failed invasion in 1896.

Verdict: False

The photo shows German troops being captured by American forces in April 1945.

Fact Check:

The Italian army lost the Battle of Adwa to the Ethiopian army in north-central Ethiopia in 1896, effectively thwarting Italy’s efforts to build an empire on the continent, according to Britannica. Italy would later successfully invade and annex Ethiopia in 1936, the online encyclopedia states.

The Facebook image, which has been shared over 3,600 times, shows a group of soldiers standing with their hands in the air while an armed black soldier stands in front of them, looking at the camera. “Ita|iaπ™ troops surrendered to Ethiopian army after they were defeated and humi|!ated in a fai|ed attempt to invaded (sic) Ethiopia in 1896,” the post’s caption claims, in part.

The photo was taken nearly 50 years after the failed invasion. A reverse image search revealed the picture is from 1945 and features an American soldier guarding captured German soldiers. The photo can be viewed in the National Archives Catalogue, titled “A Negro soldier of the 12th Armored Division stands guard over a group of Nazi prisoners captured in the surrounding German forest.” The picture also appears in the archives of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

William Lenches, the executive director of the 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum in Abilene, Texas, told AFP the American soldier pictured is Private Jesse Barkley of D Company, 17th Armored Infantry Battalion, 12th Armored Division. Barkley was “positively identified” in 2011 by Walter Gaines, who served in the 17th Armored Infantry Battalion, according to Lenches. (RELATED: Does This Video Show The Turkish Army In Palestinian Territory?)

The 12th Armored Division, nicknamed the “Hellcats,” was crossing the Rhine and fighting their way eastward through Germany at the time, according to the Warfare History Network.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter