Axis Powers Map


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However at this time Mussolini stressed one important condition that Italy must pursue in an alliance with Germany: that Italy "must . . . tow them, not be towed by them". Italian foreign minister Dino Grandi in the early 1930s stressed the importance of "decisive weight", involving Italy's relations between France and Germany, in which he recognized that Italy was not yet a major power, but perceived that Italy did have strong enough influence to alter the political situation in Europe by placing the weight of its support onto one side or another. However Grandi stressed that Italy must seek to avoid becoming a "slave of the rule of three" in order to pursue its interests, arguing that although substantial Italo-French tensions existed, Italy would not unconditionally commit itself to an alliance with Germany, just as it would neither unconditionally commit itself to an alliance with France over conceivable Italo-German tensions. Grandi's attempts to maintain a diplomatic balance between France and Germany were challenged in 1932 by pressure from the French, who had begun to prepare an alliance with Britain and the United States against the threat of a revanchist Germany. The French government warned Italy that it had to choose whether to be on the side of the pro-Versailles powers or that of the anti-Versailles revanchists. Grandi responded that Italy would be willing to offer France support against Germany if France gave Italy its mandate over Cameroon and allowed Italy a free hand in Ethiopia. France refused Italy's proposed exchange for support, as it believed Italy's demands were unacceptable and the threat from Germany was not yet immediate.