Austrian Chancellor Dolfuss assasinated 1934
Austrian Nazi's want to form an Anschluss with Germany to unite Germany and Austria, who then assasinate Chancellor Dolfuss in 1934 as he was anti Anschluss.
Mussolini mobilised his troops on Italy's Austrian border and claimed that this deterred Anschluss.
At this point, Italy was stronger than Germany and they could over power it (as Hitler had really only just came to power), therefore this was successful for Mussolini.
Stresa Front 1935
Britain, France and Italy protested against Hitler's rearmament, which violated the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, (Germany forced to disarm, only 10,000 allowed in army etc).
They all agreed to prevent any future changes in Europe.
Mussolini then believed he had French and British consent for expansion into Abyssinia. Britain and France looked to Mussolini as an ally against Germany. As Germany's power was increasing (and now becoming quite worrying), Mussolini becoming more powerful could help in preventing war.
Invasion of Abyssinia 1936
Mussolini invades Abyssinia in 1936. Partly out of revenge for the invasion of 1898, when Italy were beaten by tribes men with spears. Mussolini wanted to restore Italian pride. And also to expand the Italian empire and become mroe powerful.
The League of Nations imposed some sanctions. These led to a growth of nationalist support for the war in Italy.
Britain and France failed to arrange a compromise, they did not impose oil sanctions as they feared that this would anger Mussolini and Italy would be tempted to ally with Germany. If they had imposed these, Mussolini would have been stopped.
In May 1936 Italy defeated Abyssinia, as the League failed to come to a quick enough decision. King Victor Emmanuel was crowned Emperor of Abyssinia.
Assistance in Spanish Civil War (anti-Bolshevik) 1
Mussolini sent planes and troops to help the nationalist General Franco's revolt against Spain's Socialist government (support for dictatorship).
He expected this to be a short war, but it lasted three years.
Italian troops were defeated at Guadalajara, but eventually Franco won.
This would have weakened the Italian army. They were losing troops and resources (e.g. weapons) in order to help Spain. However, it would have gave him the potential for a Fascist ally in the Medditeranean, which would be benefical.
The Rome-Berlin axis 1936
Mussolini announced a 'Rome-Berlin Axis'. This was a vague alliance with no formal commitment.
In November 1937 Italy joined Germany and Japan in the Anti-Comintern pact directed against the USSR.
This meant Germany were becoming much stronger and now had allies to back them up. This alliance meant even more worry for Britain and France as Germany became even stronger.