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Explain what Mussolini hoped to gain by entering the Second World War in 1940

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Introduction

Transfer-Encoding: chunked June 2012 EXPLAIN WHAT MUSSOLINI HOPED TO GAIN BY ENTERING THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN 1940. (8) Mussolini had no option but to declare Italy 'non-belligerent' in September 1939 as Italy were completely unprepared for war. This was a humiliating move for Mussolini who had aimed to create an aggressive and warlike nation to make Italy great, feared and respected and to make Italy a major international power. It was a blow to his own prestige and he resented his inferior position. In 1940 Mussolini could no longer stand to be out of war. Germany had become the dominant force in Europe and Mussolini motivated by greed declared war on Great Britain and France in June 1940. ...read more.

Middle

The scale of the German victories of the autumn of 1939 and the early summer of 1940 stimulated Mussolini?s greed. There was now the prospect of large rewards if Italy joined the war on Germany?s side. It appeared that the war would soon be won by Germany. It was, therefore, imperative to ?assist? Germany before the opportunity to gain booty was lost. Mussolini was afraid of missing out on the spoils of victory and craved territorial gains. He feared being isolated in a German dominated Europe. He felt great rivalry with Hitler and resented his inferior standing. Italy had been steadily becoming an ?economic colony? of Germany?s; Italy was dependent on Germany for the purchase of many of its exports; Germany owed Italy $40 million ? Italy wanted to secure the payment of this debt by keeping Germany ?sweet?. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mussolini was keen to present himself as a great military leader. Mussolini did not want to be regarded as of similar ?metal? as the neutral democrats of 1914. By 1940 many leading Fascists had come around to the idea of war and saw the benefits of entering, like Grandi and Ciano. Perhaps Mussolini thought that by entering the war he could distract the Italian people from the failures of his domestic policy. For these reasons Mussolini decided to enter the war in June 1940. However it was a major error, as Italy was still economically and militarily unprepared and 'bled while' due to Abyssinia and Spain. There were limited resources and no war time economy. Therefore it led to the eventual fall of Mussolini and the collapse of his fascist regime. ...read more.

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