V Overprint on Unissued Red Cross Semi-Postal
Unissued Red Cross semi-postals were ordered in 1936 but not issued until 1945 after being overprinted.
Ethiopian postal officials ordered a set of Red Cross semi-postal stamps from printers in Switzerland but the stamps were not delivered because of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia. Unique amongst the nations of Africa, Ethiopia had resisted colonization by Europe. However, it was invaded and occupied by Italy in 1936 despite the appeals of Emperor Haile Selassie for the protection of the League of Nations. When Italy entered the second world war British forces intervened on the side of Ethiopian resistance fighters. Ethiopia was liberated from Italian control in 1941 (although guerilla warfare by Italian forces continued until 1943). On August 7, 1945 the pre-war Red Cross semi-postal stamps were issued for regular postal use with a V (for victory) overprint.