Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Robert Mallett
    Pages 16-31
  3. Robert Mallett
    Pages 32-47
  4. Robert Mallett
    Pages 48-66
  5. Robert Mallett
    Pages 67-82
  6. Robert Mallett
    Pages 83-105
  7. Robert Mallett
    Pages 106-127
  8. Robert Mallett
    Pages 128-150
  9. Robert Mallett
    Pages 151-173
  10. Robert Mallett
    Pages 174-195
  11. Robert Mallett
    Pages 196-220
  12. Robert Mallett
    Pages 221-226
  13. Back Matter
    Pages 227-266

About this book


The true nature of Mussolini's foreign policy during the late interwar period has been the subject of considerable controversy. Was Mussolini in reality pro-British, even as late as June 1940; or was his international policy more sinister and based on conquering a Fascist empire in North Africa and the Middle East?

Robert Mallett makes use of much new archival evidence in order to answer this riddle of interwar history. Mallett argues that Mussolini had harboured imperial designs in the Mediterranean and Red Sea from as early as 1919, but that not until 1933, with the rise of Hitler, was it possible for Fascist Italy to pursue a programme of territorial expansion. Previously unpublished material also casts new light on the Nazi-Fascist relationship, revealing it to be at times paranoid, acrimonious and duplicitous on both sides.

Although the book focuses on Italian policy, it provides an important reassessment of the Ethiopian Crisis, the Spanish Civil War, the Austro-German Anschluss, Munich and the run up to the Second World War. Mallett shows that it is erroneous to place excessive emphasis on the role of Adolf Hitler in subverting the interwar international order, and demonstrates that Mussolini was heavily implicated in the global conflict that erupted in September 1939.


Adolf Hitler Britain empire fascism France

About the authors

ROBERT MALLETT is Visiting Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Birmingham.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Mussolini and the Origins of the Second World War, 1933–1940
  • Authors M. Feldman

  • Series Title The Making of the 20th Century
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2003
  • Publisher Name Palgrave, London
  • eBook Packages Palgrave History Collection History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-0-333-74814-5
  • Softcover ISBN 978-0-333-74815-2
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-4039-3774-2
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages IX, 266
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Additional Information Previously published under the imprint Palgrave
  • Topics European History
  • Buy this book on publisher's site