Italy in the 1920's 14

Italy in the 1920’s Part 14

But if the military war in African territory is victorious, the Italian national resistance, in Europe and in the world, against the economic and political assault of the sanctioning nations is no less proud. Despite the threatening concentration of the British fleet in the Mediterranean, to which the London government had added secret pacts of collaboration with France, Greece and Turkey, Italy is holding its own, calm and disciplined, to the new storm.

Agriculture, industry and commerce are doing their utmost in a new regime of defensive warfare to resist economic isolation and replace foreign products that Italy, reacting to sanctions, refuses to buy in the markets of sanctioning countries. All Italian citizens, and first the queen, offer, as a symbol, the gold rings of their “faith” to the treasury. And the sanctions, which in the British calculations should have exhausted Italy’s economic and financial resistance in a few months, reveal their failure. On the evening of May 9, 1936, Mussolini, gathering for the third time, during the seven warrior months, the citizens in Piazza Venezia and speaking there to all Italians and the world, announces the resurrection of imperial Italy. The Grand Council of Fascism,

According to, Mussolini also announces that Italy “wants peace” for itself and for everyone. And yet this great word, which raises the unity and national pride of all Italians, is not collected in Paris, much less in London. The sanctions are abandoned, but a vast current has been created with calculated artifices in public opinion to move the peoples against Italy, accused, for its colonial enterprise in Africa, of an aggressive threat to all of Europe. Protected by this current, the governments of London and Paris pushed the policy of large armaments, which they also approved by the parties of the already anti-militarist left, and refused the recognition of the fait accompli in East Africa, of the new Italian Empire, pretending that it can only happen by a collective decision of the League of Nations. And Italy, while rapidly organizing the new and great conquest, to make it the useful and protected base of a large national demographic and economic outlet, must therefore still support in Europe a lively policy of an almost polemical character which also takes on the aspects of a struggle of ideologies between fascism, called the authoritarian regime, and democracies.

The line of Italian foreign policy is precise and firm. On several occasions, after the conquest of the empire, Mussolini declares Italy’s sincere desire for a clarification of relations with Great Britain and the other countries already sanctioned. The new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Count Galeazzo Ciano, with one of his first documents, on June 30, 1936, sent to the President of the Assembly of the League of Nations a long note of 7 points in which, after having illustrated the various phases of the conflict diplomat created around the Ethiopian case, explains the Italian positions and reconfirms the Italian desire for a “loyal and effective understanding between the states”, indicating the possibility of a general pacification with the realistic recognition of accomplished facts.

In the first days of July 1936, the political situation which had arisen in Spain due to the struggle of the parties after the king’s withdrawal, precipitated into an armed conflict. The republican government, increasingly influenced by extremist currents, provokes the reaction of the national forces which, after a series of failed attempts, explodes into an armed movement led by General Franco. This conflict threatens, due to its profound characteristics, a European disturbance. The French government takes the lead in a European commitment to non-intervention in Spanish affairs. The Italian government’s response is immediate and precise. It declares full adhesion but requests that the non-intervention be integral, that is, it is not limited only to official abstentions by governments but extends to the prohibition of exports and the transit of arms and ammunition, the recruitment of volunteers and the collection of funds for one or the other party. However, this timely request is not accepted. France and Russia, believing that the general interests of democracy and soviets are also involved in the Spanish civil war and that it is possible to carry out an armed demonstration against fascism, begin a large supply of weapons, ammunition and men in favor of the government republican provoking, for the necessary balance and for the right reaction to the declared anti-fascist maneuver, a few months later, a subsequent movement of Italian, German and Portuguese aid to the Spanish national forces.

This conflict between the great Western powers accelerates the process of a more intimate political rapprochement between Italy and Germany. Already during the Ethiopian enterprise, Germany, like Austria and Hungary, had refused, despite opposing pressure, to participate in the policy of sanctions. And this loyal attitude, together with the recognition of the affinities between the political ideologies of the two regimes and the community of many general international problems, becomes the natural premise of a new and formal understanding between the governments of Berlin and Rome.

Italy in the 1920's 14

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