Benito Mussolini had a large impact on World War II. He wasn’t always apowerful dictator though. At first he was a school teacher and asocialist journalist. He later married Rachele Guide and had 5 children. He was the editor of the Avanti, which was a socialist party newspaperin Milan.
Benito Mussolini founded the Fasci di Combattimento on March of 1919. “This was a nationalistic, anti liberal, and anti socialist movement. This movement attracted mainly the lower middle class. “1 Fascism wasspreading across Europe. Mussolini was winning sympathy from King VictorEmmanuel III. Mussolini then threatened to march on Rome.
This persuadedKing Victor Emmanuel III to invite Mussolini to join a coalition, whichstrongly helped him gain more power. Benito Mussolini brought Austria on Germany’s side by a formalalliance. “In 1937, he accepted a German alliance. The name of thisalliance was the Anti Comntern Pact. On April 13, 1937 Benito Mussoliniannexed Albania. He then told the British ambassador that not even thebribe of France and North Africa would keep him neutral.
“2 The Britishambassador was appalled and dismayed. On May 28, 1937, Mussolini strongly gave thought to declaring war. He then attacked the Riviera across the Maritime. “On September 13,1937 he opened an offensive into British-garrisoned Egypt from Libya.
“3 On October 4, 1937, while the offensive still seemed to promisesuccess, Benito Mussolini met Adolf Hitler at the Brenner Pass, ontheir joint frontier. “The two of them discussed how the war in theMediterranean, Britain’s principal foothold outside its island base,might be turned to her decisive disadvantage. Hitler suggested toMussolini that Spain might be coaxed on the axis side, thus givingGermany free use of the British Rock of Gibraltar, by offering Francopart of French North Africa, and that France might be persuaded toaccept that concession by compensation with parts of British WestAfrica”. 4 Mussolini seemed enthusiastic and very understandable why this was thecase, since this scheme included the gaining of Tunis, Corsica, and Nice(annexed by Napoleon III in 1860) from France.
Hitler then hurried hometo his house in Berlin to arrange visits to Franco and Petan. “Back inthe capital Hitler created a letter to Stalin inviting Molotov, theSoviet Foreign Minister, to visit early, when Germany and the U. S. S. R. might then agree among themselves how to profit from Britain not havinga defense.
A week later, on October 20, he left in his command train, Amerika, tomeet Petan and Franco. The meeting with Franco took place on October 23at Hendaye on the Franco-Spanish frontier. “5 It had become quite famousin the history of World War Two for Hitlers furious parting shot that hewould “rather have three or four teeth extracted from than go throughthat again. ” Franco, who was greatly supported by his Prime Minister,Serrano Suner, stonewalled throughout the hours towards negotiation withFranco. When his train left at two in the morning, Hitler had notadvanced an inch towards co-belligerency with Franco. Petan met Hitler on October 24, and proved to be equally unresponsive.
Petan convinced Hitler that they had a meeting of minds. Petan had onlyagreed to a promise to consult his government, Hitler decided to make abigger deal out of it and believed that they were united in a productivehostility to Britain. Hitler now had the outlines, despite Francos struggle, of a larger coalition war to present to Molotov at his next visit. “When Hitler was waiting for the Soviet Foreign minister to come, he was distracted bythe weird behavior of Mussolini, who then chose to mount an attack fromAlbania (occupied by the Italian army in April 1939) into Greece.
“6 Mussolini said that he was motivated by the fear that the British wouldestablish positions in Greece if he did not. “He had good strategicreasons for wishing to deny them naval and air bases any closer to hisown along the Adriatic that those who already possessed in Egypt andMalta. He attacked Greece in October, 1937. “7 Mussolini’s participation in the Battle of France aroused the derisionof neutrals and enemies. He was determined to win in Greece his share ofthe laurels which had fallen in a not proportionate number to theWehrmacht.
The failure of Mussolini’s invasion of Greece greatly upset Hitler ashe waited Molotov’s arrival. This not only messed up his scheme tochange the Balkans into a satellite zone by peaceful diplomacy; it wasalso upsetting the Soviet Union. “On October