Four Power Pact
- A four power pact was first proposed by Benito Mussoliniin the aftermath of the failure of the London Economic Conference, prepared under the auspices of the League of Nations, in 1933. Mussolini argued that it would be better if Britain, France, Germany, and Italy established a directory of great powers to decide European questions among themselves instead of relying on the League. In particular, they should revise the territorial boundaries established at Paris in the aftermath of World War I. Mussolini’s initiative was received more warmly by the British than the French. It was received most warmly of all by the Germans and the Hungarians, both of whom felt they had been gravely wronged in 1919–1920. The beneficiaries of the peace treaties, above all Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Poland, were vehement in their opposition. Eduoard Benes, the premier of Czechoslovakia, was especially outspoken in resisting the pact. France, the chief ally of these powers, responded with a counterproposal that insisted that territorial changes could only be carried out after a unanimous vote of the Council of the League, but that the four nations would collaborate together to settle outstanding disputes. Apact enshrining these sentiments was signed in June 1933, but only Germany and Italy ratified it. An angry Mussolini threatened in December 1933 that “His majesty, the cannon” would have to resolve disputes in the absence of the pact.There is a macabre sense in which Mussolini’s proposal was farsighted, however. The policy of appeasement followed by the British and French governments, which culminated in the revision of Czechoslovakia’s borders by the four powers at Munich on 30 September 1938, was an example of the kind of diplomacy through which Mussolini was hoping to stabilize Europe.
Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. Mark F. Gilbert & K. Robert Nilsson. 2007.
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