Benito Mussolini with Adolf Hitler. Image credit Smithsonian Magazine

ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: Dictatorship in Europe: Dictatorship in Italy: Benito Mussolini: Mussolini’s Foreign policy

Foreign expansion

  • As things got difficult at home Mussolini started embarking on foreign adventures.
  • He praised glories of war and promised the recreation of the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean.
  • He undermined the League of Nations by attacking Abyssinia a fellow member of the League.
  • The attack was in fulfillment of Mussolini’s declaration of an overseas campaign by Italy.
  • The policy was aimed at reducing poverty, unemployment and encouraging emigration.
  • The invasion of Abyssinia was also aimed at avenging a humiliating defeat suffered by Italy at Adowa( Adwa) in 1896.
  • Mussolini was emboldened by the fact that France and Britain were anxious for his support thus would not take any action against her.

Alliances and Friendship

  • He signed the Rome-Berlin Axis with Adolf Hitler, an alliance that enabled them to work together in the future.
  • The alliance was in contravention of the Versailles treaty and undermined the League of Nations.
  • The Rome Berlin Axis expanded to included Japan in 1939 thus resulting in the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo axis.
  • The alliance was termed as an Anti-Comintern pact against communism.
  • The alliance was stronger than Britain and France’s alliance under the auspices of the League of Nations.
  • In addition Mussolini joined Hitler in the support of General Franco to fight the Spanish government.
  • During the Spanish Civil war Italian submarines sank vessels trading with the Spanish Republic.

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