Diplomacy and World War

H. James Burgwyn

in The Oxford Handbook of Fascism

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199594788
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Diplomacy and World War


This article examines the essence of Mussolini's foreign policy and Italy in the Second World War. Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini were dreamers who indulged in a mysticism of empire and race. According to the gifted historian MacGregor Knox, there are major similarities between the dictatorships of Hitler and Mussolini. Each regime is found to be genuinely revolutionary, their evil and violent leaders committed to subverting the international system of sovereign states in favour of an Axis New Order where racial and ethnic inferiors would be either annihilated or reduced to helots serving barbaric masters. Meanwhile, according to a dominant nationalist school of thought of Italy led by Renzo De Felice, Mussolini, in seeking ‘equidistance’ between the chief European states, aimed to utilize Nazi Germany as leverage to extract colonial concessions from the Western Powers.

Keywords: Adolf Hitler; Benito Mussolini; Nazi Germany; fascist Italy; foreign policy; Axis New Order; Renzo De Felice; MacGregor Knox

Article.  8885 words. 

Subjects: History ; International History

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