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Mussolinis’s Foreign Policy

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Introduction

Mar´┐Ża Alejandra Maura L6B1 History (S) Mussolinis's Foreign Policy How consistent was Italian foreign policy between 1922 and 1943? Mussolini's main aim through foreign policy was to exalt Italy's pride, which was seen severely deteriorated after the First World War. By the statement 'My objective is simple. I want to make Italy great, respected and feared' Mussolini's objectives are clearly can be clearly deduced. However, historians still disagree over Mussolini's conduct of foreign affairs, in the years between his assumption of the premiership and the conquest of Ethiopia in 1935-6. Some support the view, once he acquired strong dominance on the communists, that the imperialism of 1930s was the unplanned response to domestic problems of a dictator whose main concerns where the internal consolidation of his regime. More recently, however, the balance of opinion has tended towards the belief in the underlying consistency of Mussolini's foreign policy. Mussolini's foreign policy operates along fairly well-worn paths, and his main areas of interest remained the Mediterranean, Africa and the Balkans Mussolini's foreign policy operates along fairly well-worn paths, and his main areas of interest remained the Mediterranean, Africa and the Balkans. As these two aims were, to some extent achieved during the 1920s, Iitalian foreign policy became increasingly expansionist in the 1930s, aiming not only to control the Mediterranean but as well, the African Empire. In the course of 1922-3 the weakness of Italy's position became all too clear to Mussolini. ...read more.

Middle

This was mainly caused by Hitler's advent to power, what obviously altered things considerably. Mussolini saw the potential of a German alliance against Britain and France to revise the 1919 settlement; on the other hand he took care of having Germany too close. In April 1933 Goering and Papen visited Rome, however, all what Mussolini could achieve was German agreement to the Four Power Pact (between Italy, Germany, France and Britain) to keep peace in Europe, thus replacing the League. It was even signed actually by Germany and Italy (on 15 July 1933). A crucial meeting with Hitler took place in his visit to Venice in 1934. The meeting went bad unfortunately, since Mussolini refused to have an interpreter despite his German being very poor, so the meeting meant little to either. Things became worsened by the crisis following the death of Dollfuss a month later, so that Mussolini was far from being an ally of Hitler in 1934-5. Mussolini even attended the Stressa conference in April 1935, which was called by France, and in which it had to be considered what action to take in order to guarantee the independence of Austria. Italy joined to the declarations and protests, partly in genuine hostility to Germany, but mainly to avoid British and French hostility. In the 1920s the Italian empire was hardly promising. In Lybia, which was the territorially the heart of the Empire , but only some 2000 Italians had settled there and by 1930 it was costing over 500 million lire per annum, compared with 107 million in 1921. ...read more.

Conclusion

In 1938 Italy's weakness was underlined by the fact that neither Shuschnigg nor Hitler bothered to contact Rome, when the Anshluss was signed. Mussolini also was powerless to back Schuschnigg in his attempt to renounce the ultimatum for the Anshluss. . Mussolini was to pay the price for his break with Britain and France in 1935. Mussolini therefore decided to retake Italy's traditional policy of 'equidistance' between the Western powers and Berlin. By the Munich agreement Musolini could effectively stop Hitler plunging Europe into war before he judged Italy to be ready for it. It was a considerable diplomatic succes for Musolini and was praised as the man who saved the world. However, Italy's policy of 'equidistance' did not last for long. Since >Mussolini decided a full military alliance with Germany, since he considered than a German alliance was intended to be more an instrument of diplomatic pressure than a prelude to war. Mussolini's Foreign policy was therefore inconsistent in the sense that Mussolini not only switched his ideas rather frequently (aiming first to align with the Four powers, and then switching to establish closer relations with Germany, and at the end again with Britain and France), but as well in terms of its degree of aggressiveness, since through the 1920s Mussolini's foreign policy can be said to had been quite peaceful (foreign affairs were mainly solved through Treaties and Agreements), switching in the 1930s to a more aggressive foreign policy with the advent of Hitler. Between the 1930s and 1940s he used war mongering (e.g. The Spanish Civil War, the Abyssinian incident, and the Corfu incident). ...read more.

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