In 1935, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini sent an army into Ethiopia, successfully annexing the country by 1936. This annexation sent the existing emperor, Haile Selassie, into exile and was formally recognized by almost all members of the League of Nations, except the Soviet Union. For a short period of time, an Italian empire had been established in Africa with Italian Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia under the reign of Italian king Victor Emmanuel III. Although this regime invested heavily in Ethiopian infrastructure projects to prepare for further colonization, it would eventually be overthrown in 1941 once the Italians were defeated by the Allied forces during World War II. Selassie returned to the throne shortly thereafter.
After World War II, Selassie focused on modernizing the nation by establishing a new constitution in 1955 and opening the University College of Addis Ababa. This country also strengthened its diplomatic relations with other African countries by being a founding member of the Organization of African Unity. Ethiopia would eventually join the United Nations in the Korean War by fighting alongside the 7th Infantry Division of the United States and became well-known for its highly-trained and decorated Kagnew Battalion.