a1 University of Waterloo
This article analyses how, in the last half-century, scholars have differed over the nature of Italian foreign policy under the fascist regime. It examines the debate between orthodox and revisionist historians over Mussolini's foreign policy in general, and also over three specific areas of Italian policy in the interwar years: Franco-Italian relations, Italian participation in the Spanish Civil War, and the alliance with nazi Germany. The author concludes that much of the debate has arisen because of conceptual befuddlement; writers have been primarily concerned with questions of coherence and continuity, and not with understanding Italian foreign relations. Historians have also disagreed over whether Mussolini had a ‘programme’, but a closer look shows that many of them were engaging in a semantic debate, and did not differ over the nature of fascist policy.
* The author is grateful to Professor George Urbaniak for advice and criticism.