Explain the successes of Mussolinis foreign policy up to 1939.

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Explain the successes of Mussolini’s foreign policy up to 1939. [8]

Mussolini had many successes in foreign policy up to 1939. Firstly, even in the 1920s his longer-term goal for an African empire was already underway with the campaign to consolidate Italian control of Libya. From 1922, his government pursued a ruthless policy of suppression of local rebellions in Libya.

He was successful in Corfu in 1923. In August 1923 an Italian general and four of his staff were assassinated in Greece. On hearing of the assassinations Mussolini blamed the Greek government and demanded a full apology together with 50 million lire in compensation. When the Greeks refused, he ordered the bombardment and occupation of the island of Corfu, off the Greek mainland. Ultimately the Duce had little choice but to withdraw, although he did receive the 50 million lire compensation.

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Another success was Fiume in 1923. Within 2 weeks of the settlement of the Corfu crisis, Mussolini installed an Italian military commander to rule the disputed Italian-speaking port of Fiume.

He also experienced success at Locarno in 1925. He enjoyed being taken seriously as a European statesman, and hoped that his apparent moderation would lead to concessions of some sort from Britain and France. He also saw it as an opportunity to enhance his prestige and power at home. He would organise dramatic entrances to international conferences, as when he raced across Lake Maggiore in a flotilla of speedboats to ...

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