Fascist Italy took over and further developed the expansionist aims of the previous Liberal state, occupying the interior of Libya and making inroads into the Balkans.
The conquest of Ethiopia, presented as a mission of civilisation and economic expansion, was accompanied by the enactment of racial laws and effected with criminal military conduct by the troops of Generals Rodolfo Graziani and Pietro Badoglio. In October 1935, the League of Nations condemned Italy for attacking a member state.
In 1936, Mussolini, like Hitler, supported General Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War by sending men and equipment. The rapprochement with Hitler’s Germany, through agreements signed in 1936 and 1939, definitively upset the international balance. In 1939, Italian armed forces occupied Albania.
When the war broke out, despite the Italo-German pact, the Duce waited until June 10th, 1940 to declare war on France and Great Britain: after the initial unsuccessful war operations in the Western Alps, the actions in Greece and North Africa were completed only with the assistance of the Nazi army. Italy’s participation in the Russian campaign had a disastrous outcome; in the Balkans, the Italian occupying forces carried out a very harsh repression of civilians.