Mussolini foreign policy 1923-1939

foreign policy of Mussolini in fascist Italy, 1923-1939

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Corfu- 1923

  • Mussolini blamed the Greek government for the assassination of an Italian general and 4 staff
  • Mussolini demanded 50 million lira
  • when the Greeks refused, Mussolini bombarded and occupied Corfu
  • European powers demanded Mussolini withdrew from Corfu, so he did.

Gained 50 million lira

Gave in to pressure from European powers

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Fiume 1924

  • D'Annunzio occupied the port of Fiume to promote national pride and to expand the empire

Expanded the empire and created national pride

Government looked weak by comparison to D'annunzio

D'annunzio left Fiume after a year because he became ill

The value of Fiume decreased

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Locarno pact 1925

  • Made European countries accept their borders

Italy was seen as greater than Germany

Italy didn't get the borders she wanted

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Albania 1926

  • Italy peacefully invaded Albania. It then became an Italian protectorate. 
  • this meant that Albania had to adopt Italian culture and support Italy

Italy expanded her influence

This did not directly affect Italy

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4 power pact 1933

  • called for by Mussolini himself
  • ensured national security by stopping smaller countries having influence in great power politics
  • between Britain, France, Germany and Italy

Italy was seen as one of the greats

The 4 power pact didn't have much of an influence on politics. It was of no real significance to Italy.

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Austria 1934

  • Mussolini aimed to prevent Germany from Anschluss  (the joining of Austria by Germany)
  • He created an allience with Austria, promising to protect it from invasion

Germany didn't carry out Anschluss. Mussolini was seen as an important figure in peace keeping

Germany never had any intention on Anschluss, so Mussolini's attempts were in vain

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Stresea front 1935

  • Germany revealed that it had an air force and was introducing military conscription (against the treaty of Versailles) 
  • Mussolini met with Britain and France in Stresea to sort out Germany, which Mussolini feared
  • Mussolini thinks that Britain and France have given him permission to invade Abyssinia

Confidence is (falsely) gained because Mussolini thinks he has permission to invade Abyssinia

Has to admit that he sees Germany as a threat and that he needs help

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Abyssinia 1935-6

  • Mussolini believed Italian colonies should expand to grow the empire
  • He believed that possession of African territories would give him a large number of troops


  • 1929- plans to invade Abyssinia
  • wal-wal skirmish. 30 Italian soldiers killed
  • appology and compensation demanded
  • Mussolini was impatient and seized Abyssinia (confidence from stresea front)

Seemed like a success to Italians

Consent hadn't been given by Britain and France

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Spanish Civil War 1936

  • Germany and Italy fought on the same side
  • Mussolini was embarassed at Hitler's poor commitment, so he sent 40 000 troops
  • 4000 Italian lives were lost

Mussolini was seen as a powerful figure

The war lasted 3 years. Mussolini lost

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Rome-Berlin axis 1936

  • Hitler agreed not to carry out Anschluss
  • Mussolini dropped his objection to the Nazi's influence in Austrian politics
  • Italy would expand towards the mediterranean
  • Germany would expand in Eastern Europe
  • Hitler tipped Mussolini that he was preparing for war

Allied with Germany

Not of  massive significance 

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Anschluss 1938

  • "The joining of Austria by Germany".
  • Mussolini honours his alliance with Austria and moved his troops to the Austrian border to deter Hitler from invading

The alliance with Austria stays strong

Hitler is allowed to invade

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Munich agreement 1938

  • to avoid war, Britain, France and Italy agreed that Germany could have the Sudetenland. 
  • In return, Hitler promised not to make any further territorial demands in Europe.

threat of European was is averted

War is not detered for very long since Hitler invades Czechoslovakia in 1939

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Albania 1939

Mussolini invaded and seemed powerful to Hitler

Italian economy was bad at the time

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Pact of Steel 1939

  • The pact was between Italy and Germany
  • It stated that if Germany entered the war, Italy would also enter on Germany's side

Italy and Germany were strongly allied

The pact was not kept since Italy was not economially strong enough to enter war in 1939

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Non-intervention 1939

  • Hitler wanted to go to war, but Italy wasn't ready. 
  • Hitler wanted Mussolini to stand by the Pact of Steel
  • Mussolini said he would only go to war if he was provided by an unobtainable amount of war material, since Italy only had outdated surplus from WW1. 
  • Germany refused to provide such material, so Italy didn't enter the war with Germany

Italy delays entering war

Italy was not necessary for Germany to enter war, since Germany continued without Italy

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