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Enlarged Photograph (55kB)

Italy's position
The expectations of the Balkan countriesThe laxity of inter-Balkan bonds

Italy heads for the war (March-June 1940)

The expectations of the Balkan countries

As soon as the Balkan countries were convinced that the Italian "non-belligerence" (September 1939-June 1940) was not an Axis trick, they endeavoured to form a bloc of neutral states, which would contain the countries of the Balkan Treaty under the leadership of Fascist (yet, neutral) Italy. On Rumanian initiative, the Italian government discussed a series of proposals during the autumn of 1939, for which however the Nazi government expressed reservations.

So, while Ciano continued to foster the anti-German orientation of Italian foreign policy, Mussolini avoided (and evaded) commitments that could restrict his freedom of action in the future. When the plans for the creation of a neutral countries' bloc collapsed, Greek foreign policy re-entered a phase of insecurity, given that the ambivalent Italian policy did not provide tangible guarantees for Mussolini's future intentions.

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