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Key events Italian Foreign Policy

Corfu incident
1923, Brief occupation of the Greek island of Corfu by Italian forces. 5 Italians assassinated in Greece; Mussolini demanded apology and 50mill lire. The League was appealed to, but unable to stop aggression. Mussolini ordered bombardment of Corfu but withdrew his forces in September under pressure from Britain. The ulterior motive for the invasion was Corfu's strategic position at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea. The crisis was the first major test for the League of Nations but the League failed it. It showed that the League was weak and couldn't settle disputes when a great power confronted a small one.
Port on Adriatic sea. The first crisis the League had to face was in north Italy In 1919, Italian nationalists, angered that the "Big Three" had, in their opinion, broken promises to Italy at the Treaty of Versailles, captured the small port of Fiume. The Treaty of Versailles had given this port to Yugoslavia. For 15 months, an Italian nationalist called d'Annunzio governed Fiume. The newly created League did nothing. The situation was solved by the Italian government who could not accept that d'Annunzio was seemingly more popular than they were - so they bombarded the port of Fiume and enforced a surrender. In all this the League played no part despite the fact that it had just been set up with the specific task of maintaining peace.
Locarno Pact
In 1925 the leaders of Europe signed a number of agreements at Locarno, Switzerland. Germany and France pledged to accept their common border, and Britain and Italy agreed to fight either France or Germany if either one invaded the other. Other boundary disputes were also settled. Success for LoN, started an era of the 'Locarno Spring', but this optimism was dashed by the Great Depression in 1929.
Balkan nation that was invaded and conquered by fascist Italy in 1939. In 1926, the Italian government, in agreement with Albanian authorities, sent 300 Italian colonists to Kamez, near Tirana, to promote agricultural development.
Four Power Pact
1933 Benito Mussolini called for the creation of the Four-Power Pact as a better means of insuring international security. Under this plan, smaller nations would have less of a voice in Great Power politics. Representatives of Britain, France, Germany, and Italy signed a diluted version of Premier Benito Mussolini's Four-Power Pact proposal. Mussolini's chief motive in suggesting the pact was the wish for closer Franco-Italian relations. If Mussolini's purpose of the pact was to calm Europe's nerves, he achieved the opposite result. The treaty reaffirmed each country's adherence to the Covenant of the League of Nations, the Locarno Treaties, and the Kellogg-Briand Pact. The Pact was intended to be the solution to the issue of how sovereign powers could come together and operate in an orderly way. Premier Mussolini's goal was to reduce the power of the small states in the League of Nations with a block of major powers.
The Four-Power Pact had little significance but is not completely devoid of merit. Mussolini's Four-Power Pact was supposed to be a solution. The pact soon failed.
Mussolini stops Anschluss in 1934
In 1934, Italy had an agreement with Austria that it would protect Austria from outside aggression. The Italian dictator, Mussolini, honoured the agreement and moved Italian troops to the Austrian border to deter Hitler from invading.
Stresa Front
April 1935,
France and Britain opposed Germany's rearmament but felt unable to object forcefully because they hadn't unarmed either, so they met with Mussolini in June 1935 to form this, promised to use force to maintain the status quo in Europe, this show of unity by the three powers was short lived.
Invasion of Abyssinia
October 1935
In Dec '34, conflict in Wal-Wal, Mussolini claims is Italian. Jan '35, Hailee Selassie appeals to League, 3rd Oct '35 Mussolini invades.
Mussolini felt there was little or no threat of repercussions if Italy invaded Abyssinia. The League of Nations protested the actions of Italy and imposed Sanctions, but again didn't do anything.
Pact of Steel
May 1939 - Italy and Germany; turned the Rome-Berlin axis into a full scale military and political alliance, an aggressive agreement.
Rome-Berlin Axis
1936; close cooperation between Italy and Germany, and soon Japan joined. Hitler had supported Ethiopia and Italy, he overcame Mussolini's lingering doubts about the Nazis.
Spanish Civil War
1936-1939. Civil war between left and right wing forces in Spain. The Italian government signed a secret treaty with the Spanish Nationalists. In return for military aid, the Nationalist agreed to allow Italy to establish bases in Spain if there was a war with France. Over the next three months Mussolini sent to Spain 130 aircraft, 2,500 tons of bombs, 500 cannons, 700 mortars, 12,000 machine-guns, 50 whippet tanks and 3,800 motor vehicles. Italy gave more support to the Spanish Fascists than Hitler did.
Munich Conference
September 1938; Chamberlain (UK), France and other countries (not the USSR) agreed that Sudentenland (part of Czechoslovakia) should be ceded to Germany; Chamberlain secured peace with Germany.
March 1938, Forced union between Austria and Germany, a violation of the ToV and Austria refused so Germany invaded. Mussolini supported Hitler.
Italy enters WW2
Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939, marked the beginning of World War II. Despite being an Axis power, Italy remained a non-belligerent until June 1940. The participation of Italy in the Second World War was characterized by a complex framework of ideology, politics, and diplomacy, in which its military history took place often heavily influenced by external factors. The imperial ambitions of the Fascist regime, which aspired to restore a "Roman Empire" in the Mediterranean (their Mare Nostrum), collapsed due to defeats in Greece and East and North Africa. In 1943 Benito Mussolini was ousted and arrested by order of King Victor Emmanuel III, provoking a civil war. The northern half of the country was occupied by Germans and made a collaborationist puppet state (with more than 600,000 soldiers), while the south was governed by monarchist and liberal forces, which fought for the Allied cause in the Italian Co-Belligerent Army (at its height numbering more than 50,000 men), helped by circa 350,000 partisans of disparate political ideologies that operated all over occupied Italy.