What problems and issues did Italy face before the start of World War II?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To the extent that Italy faced problems before World War II, they were problems of its own making.  Put simply, Italy was not satisfied with its place in the world and how the Treaty of Versailles had treated it. 

Italy had been on the winning side in WWI, though it was not very heavily involved in the war.  It had hoped to get a great deal of territory but the other allies refused to give it what it wanted.  This led many Italians, particularly war veterans, to be very angry.  Italy was a relatively poor country and its economy was disrupted by the war.  This led to labor strife, which spilled over into politics as well.  The political upheaval led to the rise of the fascists.  They wanted to suppress socialism and they wanted Italy to be accorded the respect they felt it deserved.  They came to power and Mussolini became the dictator of Italy.

After that, Italy did not suffer from very many problems.  They were still not an economic power house and many people were unhappy about the economic situation.  But this did not lead to great social upheaval.  Instead, Italy’s main issues came from the fact that it was trying to win an empire in Africa so as to get the respect it deserved.  These actions made the French and English somewhat concerned and led to Italy’s main problem, its lack of political allies in Europe.

mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Italy faced several problems before the start of World War II. The Italians believed that they weren’t treated fairly by the terms of the Versailles Treaty. They had expected to get more land from the treaty and felt they were disrespected by the other Allied nations. This helped lead to the rise of Mussolini, who promised to return Italy to the glory days of the Roman Empire while offering people jobs and social security.

As World War II neared, Italy was not in a position to fight an offensive war. Italy didn’t have the necessary military equipment and industrial capability needed to fight an aggressive war. Italy was way behind Great Britain and France in terms of weapons and industrial capability. Italy also lacked the quality military leadership necessary to lead the country in a major war, mainly because Mussolini got rid of any general that wasn’t loyal to him. The people of Italy also didn’t share the same enthusiasm for the war that Mussolini had. Many Italians had no interest in fighting in the war and, in some instances, weren’t sure why they were fighting in places such as Greece and North Africa.