Corfu & Fiume: 

Mussolini's Foreign Policy 

What were the aims of Mussolini's foreign policy?

Corfu Crisis of 1923

Following the First World War, Italy had been not given as much land as it was supposed to be given by the Allies. This caused social outrage which the Liberal Government was unable to solve, and Mussolini came to power, vowing to solve them.

August 1923: Italian investigators were sent by the League of Nations to investigate a border dispute between Greece and Albania.

August 27, 1923: Enrico Tellini, an Italian general and his team consisting of Major Luigi Corti, Lieutenant Mario Bonacini, Albanian interpreter Thanas Gheziri and the chauffeur Remigio Farnetti, were killed by unknown assailants on Greek territory. 

August 29, 1923: Italy sent an ultimatum to Greece, with the main demands being an apology, 50 million lire and an investigation assisted by Ambassadors of the Italian Military. 

August 30, 1923: The ultimatum was rejected by Greece. 

August 31, 1923: The Italian leader, Benito Mussolini sent between 5,000 and 10,000 troops to invade and occupy Corfu.

Although the League condemned Italy as the aggressor, Mussolini refused to listen. 

He asked the Conference of Ambassadors to resolve the Corfu Crisis and Britain and France gave into his demand to resolve the issue outside of the League.

Ultimately, the Greeks were forced to give in, and they apologised to Italy and paid direct compensation to them.

Fiume Incident of 1923–24

In April 1915, the Treaty of London was signed on the condition that Italy would receive territory. Fiume was not included, but Italy was confident that they would receive it due to the high proportion of Italians living there. 

12 September, 1919: Poet Gabriele D’Annunzio gathered a group of 2,000 Nationalist men and forced the withdrawal of allied forces. They occupied Fiume and D’Annunzio proclaimed himself the “commandant” of the “Reggenza Italiana del Carnaro”, in (what he proclaimed to be) the Independent State of Fiume. 

Italy believed that Fiume should belong to them, claiming that the better part of the population was Italian.

12 November, 1920: The Italian government concluded the Treaty of Rapallo with Yugoslavia and decided to remove D’Annunzio from the established ‘Free State of Fiume’. 

The Free State of Fiume survived only one de facto year before a Fascist movement forced the President, Zanella, to resign. 

17 September 1923: Italian general, Giardino, was sent by Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini to restore public order. Meanwhile, negotiations started between Italy and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes to dissolve the Free State of Fiume.

27 January, 1924: The Treaty of Rome concluded that Fiume would be annexed to become an Italian Province. 

Did Mussolini achieve his foreign policy aims?