On 23 October, the Foreign Minister Ciano signed in Berlin with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Third Reich, a series of far-reaching political protocols which define, in terms of stable collaboration, relations between Italy and Germany and provide for the commitment of the consultation of the two governments in the great European and world problems of common interest, the collaboration in Danubian Europe for the purpose of peace, the common attitude in the Spanish problem for which the recognition of the government of General Franco is established, cooperation economic and the principle of an associated struggle against communism. The agreement, which Mussolini will define the “Rome-Berlin axis “, lays the foundations of a new system of European political reconstruction. On 24 October the Führer and Reich Chancellor, Adolfo Hitler, receiving Count Ciano in his Berchtesgaden residence, informs him that the Reich government has proceeded to the formal recognition of the Italian empire of Ethiopia.
A new direction, clearly identified, is thus marked in Italian foreign policy. But it does not mean an isolation of Italy from the policy of collaboration with the other powers. In a great speech to the people of Milan on 2 November, Mussolini, reconfirming the vital importance of the new “Rome-Berlin vertical”, invites France, England and Yugoslavia to clarify their political relations.
According to countryvv.com, the invitation seems to have been accepted above all by Great Britain. In the diplomatic conversations that followed between Rome and London, the Mediterranean problem found its first definition in a declaration, signed on January 2, 1937 in Rome, with which the two governments, Italian and British, exchange assurances relating to mutual respect for current Mediterranean status quo. It may seem that a new, calmer time is beginning in relations between Italy and Great Britain. But soon the horizon again darkens due to the resurgence of dominant British currents, influenced by the left and concentrated in the political direction of Foreign Minister Eden, who, refusing the recognition of the Empire, tend with mysterious ends to crystallize their positions. hostile.
On the other hand, relations between Italy and Yugoslavia are more favorable and straightforward. These relations, already defined with a promising pact of friendship and conciliation in 1925, had been darkening in the following years as a result of a resumption of activity of the irredentist organizations, created in the Yugoslav territory on the borders of Venezia Giulia, and of the unjustified mistrust of Belgrade for the policy carried out by Italy towards Albania, constituted and guaranteed as an independent state. But the experience of almost a decade of political disturbances in relations between Italy and Yugoslavia leads to the recognition of the need to restore good political and economic understanding between them, overcoming on both sides
On March 25, 1937, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Count Galeazzo Ciano, and the President of the Yugoslavian Council, Stojadinović, signed two political and commercial agreements in Belgrade, which laid the foundations for the new understanding, enlarged and clarified. The political agreement, with a duration of five years, provides for mutual neutrality in the event of unprovoked aggression by one of the parties, consultation for common measures in the event of international complications, the elimination of war in the settlement of any disputes arising, the suppression of all hostile propaganda on national territories. The trade agreement creates the preliminary basis for wider economic collaboration which may take the form of a tighter regional agreement. The signing of these agreements, which brings peace back to Adriatic and on the borders of Venezia Giulia and creates a new point of clarification in Danubian and Balkan Europe, it is greeted with equal cordiality in Italy and in Yugoslavia. Matured in more propitious times, it soon leads to a trusting collaboration. And proof of this happy development was given by the warm welcome given to the head of the Yugoslav government, Stojadinović, who came to Rome in December 1937 to meet with Mussolini.
The political collaboration between Italy and Germany, reconstituted with the affinities of ideologies and the great tasks to be carried out for the associated defense of common interests and for a better European reconstruction, became in the year 1937 the fundamental political fact of Europe. The diplomacies of the great democratic countries move against it, with repeated and always vain attempts at dissociation, but it is approached by many smaller states of Europe which feel the danger of the hour and look for in the forces of order, revealed from the two great powers, that general guarantee of peace that the League of Nations and the democracies, subverted by communist infiltrations, can no longer ensure.
It is in this new orientation of Europe that Mussolini crosses the borders to meet in Munich and Berlin with the leader of the National Socialist revolution and of the Third Reich, Adolfo Hitler. On the evening of September 28, the leaders of the two revolutions, in a gigantic gathering of the people at the Maifeld, on the outskirts of Berlin, once again launch the great word of peace to Europe. Adolfo Hitler exalts the meeting which “is not one of the usual meetings but a demonstration of the fact that 115 million men are animated by the same ideal” and Mussolini, after having reconfirmed the solidarity of spirits and political action between Italy and Germany, affirms that the two nations “want peace and are always ready to work for peace,
But even this solemn invitation to peace falls without echo.