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What were the key features of Italian foreign policy post-WWI?

Italian foreign policy post-WWI was characterised by expansionism, nationalism, and a shift towards fascism under Benito Mussolini.

After the end of World War I, Italy was left with a sense of dissatisfaction and betrayal, known as the 'mutilated victory'. Despite being on the winning side, Italy felt it had not received the territorial gains it was promised in the Treaty of London (1915). This led to a sense of nationalism and a desire for expansion, which became key features of Italian foreign policy.

The rise of Benito Mussolini and his Fascist Party in 1922 marked a significant shift in Italy's foreign policy. Mussolini sought to restore Italy to its former glory as a great power, drawing on the legacy of the Roman Empire. He pursued an aggressive foreign policy, aimed at expanding Italy's territories and influence. This was evident in the invasion of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in 1935, which was a clear violation of the League of Nations' principles.

Mussolini's foreign policy was also characterised by a shift towards fascism and totalitarianism. He sought to create a new Italian Empire, which he believed would unite the Italian people and strengthen their national identity. This involved suppressing political dissent, promoting fascist ideology, and forging alliances with other fascist regimes, most notably Nazi Germany. The Rome-Berlin Axis of 1936 and the subsequent Pact of Steel in 1939 marked a significant alignment with Hitler's Germany, which would have profound implications for Italy's role in World War II.

Another key feature of Italian foreign policy during this period was its relationship with the League of Nations. Italy was a founding member of the League, but its aggressive actions and disregard for the League's principles led to increasing isolation. The invasion of Abyssinia was condemned by the League, leading to economic sanctions against Italy. However, the League's inability to enforce these sanctions effectively undermined its credibility and further emboldened Mussolini's expansionist ambitions.

In summary, Italian foreign policy post-WWI was marked by a sense of nationalism and a desire for expansion, underpinned by the rise of fascism under Mussolini. This was manifested in aggressive actions, alliances with other fascist regimes, and a fraught relationship with the League of Nations.

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