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ralph124c
02-04-2011, 08:42 PM
The Italian fascist dictator (Benito Mussolini) evidently decided that his Italy should emulate ancient Rome, and build an empire through armed conquest.
becuase of this philiosophy, Italy acquired Libya, Ethiopia, Somaila, Eitrea, and parts of East Africa.
This was accomplished through a series of wars, that cost the Italians a lot of money. The lands conquered do not (to me) seem all that rich in resources-Libya has oil (but it was not discovered till after Italy gave it up). Eritrea is a poor place, and Ethipoia is remote and arid. I don't think Somalia has much of anything.
So was Italy's imperiliam an economic disaster?
How could Mussolini have sold such a scheme to the Italian people?

Argent Towers
02-04-2011, 08:52 PM
I think the heart of it was that Mussolini was trying to prove what a badass he supposedly was, to his own people and to the rest of the world. This is the reasoning I've always come away with when reading about Italy's attempts at conquering territory during WWII.

2ply
02-04-2011, 08:55 PM
Italy annexed Libya, Somalia and Eritrea in the late 19th century, before Mussolini came to power in 1922. Italy wanted a colonial empire for the same reason other European powers wanted colonies, for the resources, land to settle their rapidly growing populations, and pride. But like Germany, they were late to the empire building game, and the only territories left had little value.

The annexation of Libya came before Mussolini and was sold to the Italian people as a building new Roman empire, but only because the territory had previously been an ancient Roman province.

GreasyJack
02-04-2011, 08:58 PM
The conquest of Ethiopia was necessary to assure a steady supply of espresso beans.

Slithy Tove
02-04-2011, 09:13 PM
Italy had lagged behind in the Industrial Revolution due to it's lack of coal. Exploiting Libyan oil might have been a windfall, but they really dropped the ball on that one (http://sepmstrata.org/Libya-Hassan/Petroleum-History-Libya.html)

In 1930’s, doubt was generated by geologists, who included Desio (1935), that Libya might have little in the way of commercial hydrocarbon accumulations. and coincidentally no oil discoveries were made under the Italian administration.

orcenio
02-04-2011, 09:20 PM
The Italian fascist dictator (Benito Mussolini) evidently decided that his Italy should emulate ancient Rome, and build an empire through armed conquest.
becuase of this philiosophy, Italy acquired Libya, Ethiopia, Somaila, Eitrea, and parts of East Africa.
This was accomplished through a series of wars, that cost the Italians a lot of money. The lands conquered do not (to me) seem all that rich in resources-Libya has oil (but it was not discovered till after Italy gave it up). Eritrea is a poor place, and Ethipoia is remote and arid. I don't think Somalia has much of anything.
So was Italy's imperiliam an economic disaster?
How could Mussolini have sold such a scheme to the Italian people?(bolding mine) Italy did not invade for the use of resources.

They wanted respect. Respect from other Europeans. Italy WAS Rome, and even today, Italians consider themselves the heir of THAT throne. However, when the other great European powers were concurring the entire friggin globe (Spain, England, France) the Italians were still fighting amongst themselves to unify their country out of petty ethnic tribalism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_unification). Modern Italy starts here and when they finally got their shiznit together they found that there was no more land left on the map to concur; as Spain had Central/South America, Portuguese had Brazil, France had half of Africa and England had the rest of Africa (and most of Asia).

...So Italy looked for places to concur...

And in 1880 they tried to concur Abyssinia, but got their asses kicked (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Adwa) and settled for Eritrea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Eritrea#Italian_colonization) and Italian Somaliland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Somaliland). After this they took Libya (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libya#Italian_Colony_and_WWII_1911.E2.80.931951) for show and tried not to get too involved into WWI.
Mussolini changed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Fascism) everything and sparked a sense of pride in being Italian (ethnically/racially whatever).

He used this power to invade Ethiopia a second time (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Italo-Abyssinian_War) and even take Albania (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albania_under_Italy) before being kicked out of every single colony (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Campaign_(World_War_II)) as a result of WWII.

Italy today? Proud of it's roman history, but still just as regionally fragmented as in the 1800's.

orcenio
02-04-2011, 09:36 PM
He used this power to invade Ethiopia a second time (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Italo-Abyssinian_War) and even take Albania (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albania_under_Italy) before being kicked out of every single colony (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Campaign_(World_War_II)) as a result of WWII.

Italy today? Proud of it's roman history, but still just as regionally fragmented as in the 1800's."kicked out of every single colony" should be a link to this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_History_of_Italy_during_World_War_II).

ralph124c
02-05-2011, 02:34 PM
It's the prestige thing that confuses me-what good is it to own colonies that are mostly deserts?
Take Great Britain-their empire made sense, because many of their colonies were a source of wealth. Take India: India supplied England with tons of raw materials-cotton, tea, rubber, etc., which English factories converted into goods that were sold around the world. What did Libya give to Italy? Not much, I suspect.
The cost of these "colonies" probably vastly exceeded any income from them-plus the need to keep down local revolts.
Seems like a complete waste of money to me.

Simplicio
02-05-2011, 02:49 PM
Dunno how much truth there is to it, but I read somewhere that one of the reasons the Italians faired so poorly in WWII was that the rank-and-file weren't really that invested in their various leaders desire for a larger empire.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
02-05-2011, 06:39 PM
I suspect that the gradual spread of the Sahara over more than two millenia reduced the value of these lands as colonies.

JRDelirious
02-05-2011, 07:21 PM
ralph, in the 1880-90s, you were not a real "power" if you did not have an "empire", however lame. Have a look at what a splendid outré-mer the US acquired in the 1890s (mostly from Spain*) - Guam? Puerto Rico? Hawaii? Really? Mostly for the sake of setting up refueling stations for the Navy, so they fit the plan anyway. In the case of Italy post-unification they could argue did not do altogether that badly with gigs in the Horn of Africa and getting Lybia from the Ottomans. At least they got more than the Spanish(*)

(*)Spain had already lost almost everything prime by the mid-1800s. By the time we're talking of now, all they had were the Phillippines and Marianas in the East, Cuba and PR in the Americas (and none of those for very long), and Western Sahara and Equatorial Guinea in Africa (OK, North Morocco - but that was virtually home turf... and they STILL have two towns there today!)


...So Italy looked for places to concur... Made even harder by the fact that none of those places would concur with someone's intention to conquer them :D.

orcenio
02-06-2011, 11:59 AM
Made even harder by the fact that none of those places would concur with someone's intention to conquer them :D.:smack: I knew it looked funny; but I was too elated in slipping 'Shiznit' in there.

Elendil's Heir
02-07-2011, 10:22 AM
It's the prestige thing that confuses me-what good is it to own colonies that are mostly deserts?....

It's all about bragging rights. "Hey, look, we've got an empire! See these huge swaths of the world map, colored in the same as Italy? Those are ours. So obviously we're just as important as Great Britain, France, Germany and Belgium."

A. Gwilliam
02-09-2011, 12:47 PM
It's the prestige thing that confuses me-what good is it to own colonies that are mostly deserts?
Take Great Britain-their empire made sense, because many of their colonies were a source of wealth. Take India: India supplied England with tons of raw materials-cotton, tea, rubber, etc., which English factories converted into goods that were sold around the world. What did Libya give to Italy? Not much, I suspect.
The cost of these "colonies" probably vastly exceeded any income from them-plus the need to keep down local revolts.
Seems like a complete waste of money to me.

But then the British colonial possessions often weren't all that much, either! In fact they/we fitfully tried getting rid of some of them during the nineteenth century; it was a combination of lethargy, events elsewhere, and some tub-thumping by the noisier sort of imperialist politician meant they stayed on the ledger. Which leads on to the prestige thing. For a country that managed to successfully plant flags in so much of the world, many in Britain didn't really care a great deal about the empire. But a hardcore minority cared very much; transferring control of disease-ridden bankrupt West African colonies to France was an outrageous proposition for such people. Since they were often the only ones who really had any passion for the topic one way or the other, their influence went a long way.

The British colonial possessions acquired in the late nineteenth century (other than the Transvaal and the OFS) were exactly the same sort of territory that Italy was trying to hoover up. There was no real prospect in most cases of these territories becoming settler colonies, and there was no real prospect of most of them making any money (certainly without stupendous amounts of investment). The British had an interest in securing the sea routes to India, of course, but that aside they were in the same game as the Italians: I'll have this bit of land to stop the Germans/French/whoever getting hold of it instead.

The Germans were fairly late to the game, and the Italians were even later joining in, presumably in part because initially they were looking at the near-by Ottoman Empire for a target (hence Libya and later the Dodecanese). Maybe the nature of Italian vs. German unification also had an impact on the lateness of Italian overseas adventuring? Germany had been dominated in particular by Prussia (and of course Austria) for much of the nineteenth century, whereas I think Italy was much more evenly fragmented, so I'd guess it took perhaps longer for a remotely cohesive Italian state to emerge?