From its inception, Fascism was imperialist. Mussolini had cynically abandoned D’Annunzio in Fiume in 1920, calculating correctly that Fascism’s opportunity lay in combatting ‘the enemy within’. But the movement consistently had as its declared aim a general commitment to realising the grandeur of Italy, specifically through the foundation of an empire. Self-consciously drawing on the legacy of interventionism and the war experience, Fascism claimed that under its rule Italy would at last be recognised as a major power and achieve hegemony in the ‘Italian’ sea, the Mediterranean.
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