Explain the aims of Mussolinis Foreign Policy in the 1920s.

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June 2011 – Explain the aims of Mussolini’s Foreign Policy in the 1920s.

On coming to power in 1922, Mussolini did not have any clear foreign policy; he promised vague ideals of national glory and expansionism, but had no real plan to achieve these goals. He had loudly supported entry into the First World War and had condemned the peace settlement - the `mutilated victory' - but it was unclear what treaty revisions he would seek. He wanted to create a new Roman Empire with the Duce in control.

There was no foreign policy `master plan', but in his first few months in office the new prime minister did begin to develop a general aim - in his words, `to make Italy great, respected and feared'. Italy would achieve great-power status via military build-up, diplomatic intrigue and, if need be, war. She would one day be the dominant power in the Mediterranean, would develop and even expand her colonial empire in Africa, and would have the Balkans as her own sphere of influence. The Duce would be the architect of all this, and would have transformed the Italians into a more energetic and aggressive people in the process.

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However, until during the 1920s these plans lacked detail. Mussolini was not sure which colonies would expand. Nor did he know how he would achieve `dominance' in the Mediterranean, or how much power he desired in the Balkans. Nevertheless, the Duce's overall objectives remained the same, even if circumstances, particularly the general situation in Europe, would force him to adopt a variety of tactics in pursuing these objectives.

The Duce soon recognised that foreign affairs could provide him with the ideal stage - he would impress his fellow countrymen with spectacles where he would overshadow foreign statesmen, and defend and ...

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