Mussolini's Foreign Policy

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  • Restoration of a modern Roman Empire
  • Block German designs on Austria and protect the Brenner Pass, the historic invasion route into Itlay.
  • Avenge the 1896 defeat at Adowa in Ethiopia
  • Greater Italian sphere of Influence in the Mediterranean. They wish to cooperate with the British and French, at least at first.
  • Work within the League of Nations and cooperation with Britain and France
  • Greater influence in the Balkans (esp. Albania and Greece, with conflicting land claims with Yugoslavia).
  • Greater influence in North Africa, especially Libya.
  • Maintain a large Italian navy to support a Mediterranean presence. But lack of oil is a constant problem with such a navy.
  • German-Italian Alliance to allow Italy to meet its goals after France and Britain insist on the legal-moral aspects of the Versailles system

Ethiopia/Abyssianan Crisis of 1935-36 causes a break with Britain and France. Hitler offers support in Ethiopia and a guarantee over the Brenner Pass/South Tyrol region.  Mussolini accepts, and this creates the "Axis of Europe," or, "Rome-Berlin Axis." This starts the destruction of the League of Nations as an effective peace-keeping organization.

The new Axis Powers cooperate to convert the League into little more than an Anglo-French system to protect their interests. With Hitler, Mussolini can now threaten Egypt and Tunisia from Libya. Hitler, and later, Stalin conspire with Mussolini to redraw the map of Eastern Europe to where the three powers can now satisfy their land claims.

Mussolini is invited to the Munich Conference in 1938 to settle the problem of the Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia. Mussolini pressures Hitler to avoid war and to accept British offers of Appeasement.