War, defeat and the fall of Fascism
Mussolini’s war aims in 1940 were very predictable, the creation of a new Roman Empire; in other words, domination of the Mediterranean basin, and hopefully much of Africa and the Middle East as well. Beyond these fairly concrete objectives was the more nebulous goal of becoming a world power. In this plan, the main targets of Fascist aggression were, as always, the colonial empires of Britain and France. But Mussolini had a secondary agenda encapsulated in the phrase the ‘parallel war’. By this he meant that Fascist Italy would conduct its military campaigns parallel to and independent of Nazi Germany, and with a clear line of demarcation between their respective spheres of interest in continental Europe and the Mediterranean. In this way he hoped to regain some of his status as the ‘senior’ of the two Fascist dictators and reestablish the power balance between Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.