Italy in the 1920's 10

Italy in the 1920’s Part 10

With these agreements, Austria and Hungary were able to quickly regain their active political position in the Danube area and significantly increase their exports to Italy with important benefits for their productive economy.

But beyond the relations with Germany and the Danube states, the action of Italian foreign policy took place on a general level of European value. Against certain tendencies of universalist agreements, deluded by the inconsistent hope of the possibility of a simultaneous agreement between all states, even without a concrete definition of their different interests and relationships, Italy has always supported a tendency towards gradual agreements, reached with pacts bilateral or to a limited extent plurilateral, capable of realistically defining the interests of each participating nation. And therefore to the pact of the League of Nations, which soon revealed to the test of experience its inconsistency, and to the plan of a pan-European agreement proposed in 1931 by the French Foreign Minister Briand, soon evaporated into thin air,

According to, this pact, which was to complete and strengthen with broader ends that fundamental act for European peace that was the Locarno pact, tended, unlike this, to place Germany and France in a position equal to that of the Italy and England to start the four powers towards a stable collaborative understanding, overcoming the divisions of war, to find a solution formula to the great problems open in their relations that were and are so much a vital part of the European peace system. But this plan, immediately accepted by Germany and also by the British government, was disjointed and devirilized by the French government which diluted its substantial values ​​with large reservations and excessive references to the pact of the League of Nations.

Even in the policy of arms limitation, which in a short season had an intense and ephemeral flowering, Italy’s action was precise and resolute. In 1930 a naval conference, convened in London to re-examine the issues already partly defined in the Washington conference of 1922, had failed due to the dissent thus manifested between Great Britain and France and the illegitimate attempt to undermine the Italian positions. of parity with France, already acquired and consecrated in Washington. In the winter of 1932 a new arms conference, of a more general nature, is convened in Geneva. Among the many plans proposed by the various parties, the Fascist government places three fundamental principles: the balance of the armaments of all the powers, as a function of European and world peace; resistance to the exaggerated militarist tendencies of certain powers; the claim of the Italian right to equality. The Italian arms policy had already been defined as early as June 5, 1928 in a speech by Mussolini to the Senate, in which he affirmed the interdependence of all kinds of armaments and the right of Italian equality with the most armed continental nation, accepting as limit the lower figures.

The Geneva conference began on February 2, 1932. On the eve of the meeting, the Italian government proposed a general truce on armaments for one year to the assembly of the League of Nations. On 10 February the Italian delegation presented an organic project for the quantitative and qualitative limitation of all armaments. This project is summarized in these cornerstones: for the navy the simultaneous suppression of large liners, submarines and aircraft carriers; for the army, the abolition of heavy artillery and assault tanks; for aviation the elimination of bombing forces: in all fields the ban on chemical and bacteriological warfare and the revision of war laws to ensure the protection of civilian populations. This is a realistic policy: far from utopia of disarmament, on the other hand stops at a fair limitation on the basis of the parallelism of armaments and forces. But against this clear, constructive and just approach there are considerable oppositions, inspired above all by the desire to reject the right of equality of armaments to Germany, and by that, no less evident, not to recognize Italy’s positions of equality. due to his political stature and the great sacrifice of war.

In February 1933, after the conquest of the government in Germany by Adolfo Hitler, the conflict between Germany and France on the problem of armaments intensified. Italy intervenes for mediation, based on the principle of limiting the armaments of the armed powers to the level already reached and of raising the armaments of the disarmed powers to a minimum level necessary for their elementary security needs. Mussolini understands that the rearmament of the unarmed powers is fatal: he asks that it take place within the framework of a general agreement to maintain international balances and activate European collaboration with them. But the French government rejects the Italian formula and stiffens on the principle of a preventive general adhesion to the pact and mechanism of the League of Nations, that is to the so-called formula of “collective security” understood as a rigorous commitment not only of non-aggression but also of mutual assistance. And above all for these oppositions that, after troubled events, the world disarmament conference is waning, opening the way to a new race of all countries towards large armaments.

Insisting on its path of clarification in European relations, the Italian government also tends to a definition of relations with France. On January 7, 1935, an agreement was signed in Rome between Mussolini and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France Laval which finally seems to bring about this useful pacification, after almost twenty years of uncertainty and tension. The agreement, referring to Article 13 of the Treaty of London, which prepared Italy’s intervention in the World War, ensures on the French side a minimum sum of colonial compensation to Italy in exchange for a revision of the statute of Italians. for Tunisia. In addition to the brief border adjustments between Libya and Tunisia, already agreed with the Bonin-Pichon agreement of 1919, in the Gadames-Gat and Gat-Tummo sectors, a new adjustment of the southern border of Libya is granted for the benefit of Italy while the border with French Somalia is slightly modified in favor of Italy, and a participation in the French railway Djibouti-Addis Ababa is granted. On the other hand, for France, the statute of the Italians of Tunisia is substantially modified, reducing the validity of all their rights to the limit of 1965.

Italy in the 1920's 10

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