Choose 1 of 4 options:
Option 1: Chronicle Adolf Hitler's rise from failed art student to political speaker to eventually gain control over Germany.
Option 2: Describe Benito Mussolini's revival of European Imperialism in North Africa and how he came to be Adolf Hitler's ally.
Option 3: Chronicle the rise of extreme militarism in Japan and how it led them to conquer huge chunks of land in Asia and so many islands in the western Pacific basin, and how this led to their conflict with Great Britain and the United States
Option 4: Describe Joseph Stalin's rise to total power in the USSR and how his paranoia and desire for total control led to the terrible purges of the 1930s.
Option 2: Benito Mussolini's Revival of European Imperialism in North Africa And How He Came to Be Adolf Hitler's Ally
Although European imperialism had lost momentum after 1914, Mussolini’s fascist ideology was responsible for its revival. Specifically, post 1914, Mussolini started to spread the idea that powerful states had a natural right to attack and subdue weak nations. Mussolini’s practice of glorifying military power revised European imperialism and he became Adolf Hitler’s ally after signing a “Pact of Steel” in 1939.
After his return from serving in World War 1, Benito Mussolini started to look for ways in which the Italian people could be united. As such, he started the process of reviving imperialism by delivering emotional speeches which called for dictatorship and the gain of power through colonization and the use of military force (Gallo, 2019). One of the ways in which he revived European imperialism in North Africa was by spreading the idea that strong nations of the world had an inalienable and natural right to conquer, subdue, and rule weak countries. Also, he publicly glorified aspects such as the military values of strength, discipline, obedience, and courage. In his famous words, he held that “A minute of the battlefield is worth a lifetime of peace” (Gallo, 2019, p.40) These ideologies were key to the revival of European imperialism.
In 1935, Mussolini's imperialistic tendencies were seen when he ordered the invasion of Ethiopia, which had humiliated Italy in a previous battle. To demonstrate strength and military power, he used artillery, poison gas, and planes against tribesmen in Ethiopia. Ultimately, he announced to the cheering crowds that Italy was back and even mor powerful. Also, in the years between 1912 and 1956, Morocco was created because Spain followed Mussolini's ideas on the use of military to establish new territories (Gallo, 2019). By pushing is fascist ideas in Europe, Mussolini's managed to influence many countries and make them start new conquests in North Africa. However, Mussolini came to become an ally of Adolf Hitler.
In 1939, the “Pact of Steel” was signed between Mussolini and Adolf Hitler with each country committing to assist each other in war. After a few months, Hitler invaded Poland and World War II was now in motion. Although Mussolini did not join Hitler in the same year, he eventually joined Hitler in June 1940 after the Nazi troops were about to defeat France (Strang, 2020). To completely become Hitler’s army, Mussolini invaded Greece and was beaten badly, hence, sought assistance from the German troops headed by Hitler.
Mussolini became Hitler’s ally by asking for military assistance when he was facing defeat from the Greek forces. However, to reciprocate, in 1941, Mussolini send his Italian forces amounting to 200,000 to aid Hitler’s course in his invasion of the Soviet Union (Strang, 2020). However, despite the formation of a union between the two allies, the harsh winter combined with the guerilla styles of the soviet fighters led to the killing of significant numbers of German and Italian soldiers.
In sum, Mussolini’s ideology that military power should be used to subdue weak nations was responsible for his revival of European imperialism whereas his signing of the “Pact of Steel” in 1939 made him an ally of Hitler. Notably, after returning from World War I, Mussolini started to preach fascist ideologies which glorified military power. However, he joined hands with Hitler before World War II and the two forces had a united front in fighting the Soviet Union fighters.
Gallo, M. (2019). Mussolini's Italy: Twenty Years of the Fascist Era. Routledge.
Strang, G. B. (2020). Mussolini and Hitler: The Forging of the Fascist Alliance by Christian Goeschel. Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 50(3), 448-450.