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By H. James Burgwyn

Italy emerged from the Paris Peace convention of 1919 with the sensation that it have been denied its simply rewards via ungrateful allies and that its victory used to be hence mutilated. Integrating this vengefulness into his international relations within the Nineteen Twenties, Mussolini undertook a coverage of chosen treaty revision aimed toward the breakup of the newly created nation of Yugoslavia via covert operations. those stratagems proved futile. Ignoring the possibility posed by way of Nazi Germany's seen choice to annex Austria, whose persisted independence was once key to Italy's safety in Europe, Mussolini effectively invaded Ethiopia in October 1935, with merely lukewarm competition from France and Britain. consequently, in July 1936, he unwisely intervened at the part of the rebel normal Francisco Franco opposed to the Republican govt in Madrid. rather than the anticipated quick victory, Italy obtained slowed down in a protracted civil battle, which rendered Mussolini much more depending on Nazi Germany. to maintain his status in Berlin, he didn't carry a finger while the 3rd Reich marched into Austria in 1938. confident of the growing to be decadence of the Western democracies, Mussolini grew to become to forge the Rome-Berlin Axis. yet given Italy's army weak point, Mussolini was once sure to be Hitler's junior accomplice. whilst the Duce talked of turning the Mediterranean Sea into an Italian lake in February 1939, he stumbled on himself trapped in Hitler's army iron cage. Parity within the Axis was once the Duce's personal odd fantasy. while Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, Mussolini declared nonbelligerency on the grounds that he was once in no place to salary conflict. He meant to bide his time so as to see who may win or, within the occasion of a stalemate, to step in as a mediator. but if the Nazi steamroller beaten France, Mussolini felt he had just one option—war at the part of Germany. by means of tying himself to Hitler's conflict chariot, Mussolini sacrificed the nationwide pursuits of his kingdom and doomed his Fascist regime to final destruction.

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Extra info for Italian Foreign Policy in the Interwar Period: 1918-1940 (Praeger Studies of Foreign Policies of the Great Powers)

Sample text

But they would not consider Italy as a member of the Council of Four holding equal rank. Italy’s fiasco at Versailles was the result of Sonnino’s inflexibility, Orlando’s opportunism, and the inability of the two to work out a common program. Forgotten in the humiliation that Italy suffered for being treated as an adolescent nation that was addicted to egoistic, petty intrigue were the nation’s substantial gains. Its hereditary enemy had been destroyed, 14 Italian Foreign Policy in the Interwar Period Italia irredenta was completely fulfilled, and predominance, if not outright hegemony, had advanced in the Adriatic region.

The pendulum of power had clearly swung westward. As a result, the enforcement of the peace treaties fell to the Atlantic Powers. In principle, the victorious allies maintained that Germany should never again be allowed to renew expansion, and all, save Italy, strove in the 1920s to implement more or less coherent policies toward that end. 20 Italian Foreign Policy in the Interwar Period But Allied consensus by no means reflected equal degrees of commitment. S. Congress had repudiated Wilson’s European promises by rejecting his treaties and refusing to join the League of Nations.

During the interAllied conference on that matter in December 1922, the Duce presented a comprehensive proposal stressing the connection between reparations and inter-Allied debts. But he was stepping into a tenacious feud. Britain, to revive its own economy, wanted to reincorporate Germany into Europe’s economic revival by revising reparations downward, while France wanted to punish German noncompliance with its Versailles Treaty obligations by a military occupation of the Ruhr. Initially, Mussolini supported the French position on reparations.

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