Italy in the 1920's 09

Italy in the 1920’s Part 9

But above all, on a more general European level, a decisive Italian intervention takes place in the London conference of 1922 and in that of Paris in 1923 for a summary and courageous liquidation of the financial problems deriving from the war, for which Mussolini proposes “the coup of sponge on the tragic accounting of the war “, presenting for the first time the theme of the interdependence between the reparations owed by the vanquished states and the war debts of the Allies towards the richer creditor states. This action therefore also develops in the definition of Italy’s war debt towards the United States and then towards Great Britain which took place at the beginning of 1926.

Moving through successive revisions, this complex policy leads, exactly according to the principles enunciated by Mussolini, to an international resolution of Lausanne in July 1932 that puts an end to the reparations due from Gemiania, that is to say the financial clauses of the Versailles treaty. And since that time, on the basis of the principle of interdependence affirmed by Mussolini in the financial problems of the war, the payments of the debtor allied states have also ceased.

From this first phase of foreign policy, aimed above all at closing the heavy and complex past largely inherited from the war, Italy moves on to a second phase of more direct constructive action with a broader European spirit. The inspiring principles of this time are those of the autonomy of Italian politics, the restoration of the balance of forces and positions in Europe by overcoming the system of hierarchies and inequalities, aggravated by the peace treaties, and – as part of this balance – of the European recognition of the interests and rights of the Italian nation, neglected and tampered with in the solution given to the war won in common.

According to, the Italian action therefore turns, with a generous European vision, to support the claims of the great mutilated by the peace treaties, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria who have lost not only vast tracts of their territory but also the rank of independent sovereignty for armaments and other national rights.

The policy towards Germany develops along this line, through notable and dramatic episodes and often with open hostility on the part of Great Britain and especially France.

In 1924 Italy refused to associate itself with the Franco-Belgian occupation of the Ruhr as a result of the suspended Germanic payment of reparations. During the 1932 Geneva International Conference for the Limitation of Arms, he supported Germany’s right to equality, provoking opposition from France, with the final result of Gemiania leaving the League of Nations and its free rearmament approved by the Berlin government with unilateral act, against the formal prohibitions of the Treaty of Versailles. This policy of understanding and collaboration of Italy for the just political and national demands of Germany increases in tone after the National Socialist movement, so akin to fascism, led by Adolfo Hitler, on January 30, 1935, conquers power: and yes develops,

Also with regard to Austria and Hungary, Italy carries out a policy of assistance and collaboration, inspired above all by the motive of supporting their political and economic system in the hardest moments of the crisis to safeguard their consistency and national individuality against attempts at political and economic overlap of the surrounding new states. With this aspect, Italian action is grafted into the more general politics of Danube Europe.

This nerve center of Europe, from which the spark of the world war has already started, suffered in the first years of peace a fourfold crisis created by the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire and the political and economic unity that it constituted, by the depression that occurred in trade in agricultural products particularly felt in the Danube countries, mainly agrarian, by the internal travail of political and social settlement of the new states and by the profound rivalry that arose in the relations between the minor successor states, aggravated by the weight of the Little Entente (Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Romania) set up mainly for the control of Austria and especially Hungary.

The politics of the great European powers have been fruitful in composing solution plans for this serious Danubian problem. But two opposing theses found themselves facing each other. France and Czechoslovakia have proposed, with the evident tendency to prepare a more or less federative association, an economic agreement limited to only five of the successor countries of the Austro-Hungarian Empire: the three of the Little Entente and Austria and Hungary, with the exclusion of the great powers and therefore also of Italy. The government of Rome, on the other hand, supported the need for an intervention by the great neighboring powers, i.e. Italy, which also counts among the successor states of Austria, and Germany, due to the considerable value of the commercial exchanges that they represent in the Danube system..

Noting the impossibility of the smaller Danube states to find a point of direct understanding, Mussolini took the initiative of a political and economic agreement between Italy, Austria and Hungary consecrated in the protocols of Rome of 17 March 1934, and renewed and amplified with an additional protocol of March 18, 1936. The basis of this act is that of respect for the independence and rights of the three states, of collaboration for peace and economic restoration, with favorable measures for Austrian and Hungarian trade, and of the understanding between the three countries on problems of direct interest and on those of a more general but vital character.

The political system of protocols was then completed by an Austro-Germanic agreement of 11 July 1936 with which Germany recognized the full sovereignty of the Austrian federal state and Austria confirmed its inalienable German character.

Italy in the 1920's 09

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