Nazi Germany’s obvious political and military ally in Europe was Italy. The Italians had been governed by a fascist regime under Benito Mussolini since 1925. Italian fascism was very much the elder brother of Nazism, a fact Hitler himself acknowledged. Yet for all their ideological similarities, the relationship between Hitler and Mussolini was bumpy and complex. The alignment of their two countries was consequently not as firm as many anticipated. By the late 1930s Germany and Italy had become military allies – however their priorities were still with their own national interests, rather than supporting the interests or ambitions of another country. The union between Nazi Germany and fascist Italy became a marriage of convenience and expedience, rather than a firm alliance of sister states. In his early years at the helm of the NSDAP, Hitler was a great admirer of Mussolini. The Nazi leader was particularly fascinated with Mussolini’s ‘march on Rome’ – a 1922 protest where thousands of fascists and fascist supporters strode into the Italian capital, which led to Mussolini’s appointment as prime minister. In 1923 Hitler wrote to his Italian counterpart about the ‘march on Rome’; the Munich putsch was Hitler’s attempt at replicating it. From the late 1920s Mussolini provided some financial support to the rising Nazi Party; he also allowed SA and SS men to train with his own paramilitary brigade, the Blackshirts. Hitler’s ascension to power in 1933 was publicly praised by Mussolini, who hailed it as a victory for his own fascist ideology. Competing egos
In private, however, Mussolini was scornful of Hitler and his party. The Italian leader described Mein Kampf as “boring” and thought Hitler’s ideas and theories were “coarse” and “simplistic”. Mussolini, who was prone to egomania, also had a low opinion of Hitler’s elevation to power, which he thought less glorious than his own. The first meeting between the two, held in Venice in June 1934, was disastrous....
Please join StudyMode to read the full document