In foreign policy, Mussolini soon shifted from the anti-imperialism of his lead-up to power to an extreme form of aggressive nationalism. He dreamt of making Italy a nation that was "great, respected, and feared" throughout Europe, and indeed the world. An early example was his bombardment of Corfu in 1923. Soon after he succeeded in setting up a puppet regime in Albania and in ruthlessly consolidating Italian power in Libya, which had been loosely a colony since 1912. It was his dream to make the Mediterranean mare nostrum ("our sea" in Latin), and he established a large naval base on the Greek island of Leros to enforce a strategic hold on the eastern Mediterranean.
Mussolini's policy took a dramatic turning point and revealed itself once again to be that of an aggressive nature. This domino effect of war began with the Second Italo-Abyssinian War. He also disagreed with Hitler's treaties with the Soviet Union.[better source needed]
Conquest of Ethiopia
In an effort to create an Italian Empire – or as supporters called it, the New Roman Empire – Italy set its sights on Ethiopia with an invasion that was carried out rapidly. Italy's forces were far superior to the Abyssinian forces, especially in regards to air power, and they were soon victorious. Emperor Haile Selassie was forced to flee the country, with Italy entering the capital Addis Ababa to proclaim an empire by May 1936, making Ethiopia part of Italian East Africa.Italian military help to Nationalists against the anti-clerical and anti-Catholic atrocities committed by the Republican side worked well in Italian propaganda targeting Catholics. On 27 July 1936 the first squadron of Italian airplanes sent by Benito Mussolini arrived in Spain. This active intervention in 1936–1939 on the side of Franco in the Spanish Civil War ended any possibility of reconciliation with France and Britain. As a result, his relationship with Adolf Hitler became closer, and he chose to accept the German...