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Mussolini’s Foreign Policy What were his aims? How successful was he?

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Presentation on theme: "Mussolini’s Foreign Policy What were his aims? How successful was he?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Mussolini’s Foreign Policy What were his aims? How successful was he?

2 What do we already know?

3 Overview Making the mark The Statesman The Aggressor Hitler’s Junior partner WW2 and non-intervention Italian experience of war Interpretations Themes of international prestige, making Italy strong. Distraction from domestic affairs?

4 “I want to make Italy great, feared and respected” Mussolini

5 So what were the aims? Make Italy strong Recreate the glories of the Roman Empire Through this, make Italy ready for war

6 Foreign Policy Revisionism early theme – treaties Wouldn’t abandon wartime allies (GB/Fr), though not natural allies (liberal democracies) Possible disputes over Mediterranean (‘Mare Nostrum’) but remained loyal Germany – ambiguous. Triumph of fascism but greater Germany = serious threat Austria – key alignment. ‘Buffer state’ by Fear of German dominance of Austria (protect Brenner Pass) therefore Locarno Pact (1925) and Stresa Agreement (1935) Mussolini sought to prop up Austria – sponsored anti-Nazi Heimwehr militia Also Rome protocols (trade between Italy, Hungary and Austria)

7 Adriatic Ambitions Italy didn’t agree with international repose / treaties – wanted expansion 1923 – Corfu invaded in revenge for murder of Italian businessman (defied L of N) Agreements allowed Italy to take Fiume, then agreements with Albania and Hungary Italy = ‘the chief anti-democratic conspirator of Europe’ Elizabeth Wiskemann

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10 African Ambitions Justified through relief of over-population (Mack-Smith – argument is bogus – really rivalling GB/Fr outside Med) So: 1920s colonial war in Libya Build up of arms in Somalia But biggest FP venture was Abyssinia

11 The Invasion of Abyssinia Oct 1935 Motives: seen as area of influence since ‘Scramble’, revenge for Adowa (1896) ‘War for war’s sake, since Fascism needs the glory of victory’ Equality with great powers. Timing important Resources poured in ensured victory over brave tribesmen (40000 and modern machinery including poison gas) Victory 1936 when entered Addis Ababa and Haile Selassie fled Very controversial – condemnation over use of gas. Abyssn. = member of L of N Therefore economic sanctions (after some negotiation) Largely ineffective as USA, Ger, Jpn not involved Very confused policy of GB and France

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13 Relations with Hitler Mussolini took personal charge of FP, dismissing Dino Grandi, and placing son-in-law Count Ciano as Foreign Minister Became prisoner of own rhetoric Underestimated Hitler and didn’t provide means to fight wars

14 Foreign Policy: Intervention in the Spanish Civil War (next week) A move towards Hitler: The establishment of the axis in 1936 The visit of Sept of Germany by Mussolini Mussolini let Hitler annex Austria (Feb. — March 1938) Mussolini proposed the Munich conference when war btw Germany and the Western Allies seemed likely Mussolini annexed Albania (an Italian protectorate since 1926) when Hitler seized the whole of Czechoslovakia.

15 World War Two In May 1939 a military alliance w/ Germany was signed (the Pact of Steel) Italy was unable to support Hitler in Sept and Hitler accepted Italian neutrality In 1940, Mussolini (convinced of Hitler’s success) joined the war but His invasion of Southern France did not fit Hitler’s plans His invasion of Greece obliged Hitler to intervene Initial success in N. Africa was then met by British counter- attacks In June 1941, Mussolini participated in the invasion of the USSR and in Dec. 1941, the followed Hitler in his declaration of war on the USA. In July 1943, Allied troops landed in Sicily, the Fascist Grand Council denounced Mussolini’s actions, and the King dismissed Mussolini à Mussolini was then arrested.

16 So how successful was Mussolini in fulfilling his aims?

17 Tasks: By Monday please or hand me a refined question and list of at least 4 sources for coursework By Friday 5 th September you will have a full first draft of coursework Tomorrow: an essay plan between two on ‘Evaluate the success of Mussolini’s domestic policies’ Read and consolidate all material on Mussolini. Plan essay on Foreign Policy: ‘I want to make Italy great, feared and respected’. How far did Mussolini achieve his aims? You can write this timed or as a full essay.


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