Here is a term paper on the ‘World Economic Depression’ for class 9, 10, 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short term papers on the ‘World Economic Depression’ especially written for school and college students.
Term Paper Contents:
- Term Paper on the Introduction to World Economic Depression
- Term Paper on the Economic Diplomacy during the Depression
- Term Paper on the Origins of the Nazi Revolution
- Term Paper on the Rome-Berlin Axis
Term Paper # 1. Introduction to the World Economic Depression:
Since 1922, at least for next seven years the United States enjoyed unexampled prosperity because of the wartime depletion of goods and of the readiness of Europe to place orders with American firms. Then in October 1929 the bubble of prosperity burst. There was a crash on Wall Street. The great boom came to an end in what, believed at first to be a temporary recession, turned into the most prolonged and extreme economic depression ever known, and which spread all over the world.
International stability was first shaken by the collapse of economic stability in the Great Depression. It was started by the collapse of a speculative boom in the United States; and the Unemployment which followed was swelled by the failure of purchasing power to keep pace with the increased resources of production.
The impact should be closely reviewed in two sectors:
i. The economic and
ii. The diplomatic.
In economic side it was then believed that deflation was the only way to avoid inflation. There must be sound money, balanced budgets, and cuts in government’s expenditure and reductions in wages. But this policy taken by different countries created havoc. By the end of October 1929 American investors had lost 40,000 million dollars.
The collapse of the New York Stock market led to the collapse of agricultural prices in America and sent a shudder of apprehension round the world. Though in November slight improvement was shown but prices began to fall again and continued to fall incessantly despite various measures taken by the Government as well as the bankers.
Millions of stock shares were offered for sale. Bank and business houses closed their doors, factories shut down, millions of investors lost their life savings and millions of workers walked the street in a hopeless search for work. The previous theory of deflation was thought to be only cure.
The producers of food and raw materials in the United States found the same devastation as of the governmental finances and industry. From 1926 onwards Europe recovered in agricultural production and felt no need to import from America and since then the American farmer cut down his own expenditures and American industry also began to feel the pinch.
Not only America, but also other large areas of the world—which specialized in primary products for export, such as, Australian fruit and meat growers, Brazilian coffee growers, sugar planters in Java—found lower prices for their products in world market. By applying scientific methods they produced an abundance of goods and now they found export was out of question because of no demand.
The purchasing capacity of almost every community of the world had gone down and its influence fell on the growers of agricultural products and manufacturers of industrial goods. “As bankruptcies occurred, and factories slowed down production or went out of business.”
The demand of goods and purchasing capacity was on the decrease in some comers of the world, whereas in other areas there arose the problem of over-production and destruction of stocks of food took place. This situation has been described by David Thomson as “the haunting paradox of poverty amidst plenty….”
The perilous effect upon Europe was more staggering than in America. The degree of effect has been compared with the effect of the Great War itself. In America though the effect was not less than Europe, it survived because of its abundant natural resources. At least five thousand American banks closed their doors within three years from 1929.
America stopped paying loans abroad and withdrew their short-term loans. This made economic recovery of Europe almost impossible, particularly in Germany and Austria. Particularly in Germany the crisis was acute. It was the largest debtor country and largest recipient of foreign loans. Ketelbey has made this economic crisis responsible for the rise of Nazism in Europe. According to Ketelbey, “In the post-war chaos of Germany, the great depression helped to produce Nazism.”
In Britain, the depression wiped out the rule of the conservatives and, on the contrary, put the socialists in power. In the United States, the depression brought Franklin D. Roosevelt to state power and he introduced New Deal to oppose the effects of Depression. He assured the people saying the famous dictum “There is nothing to fear but fear” He promised action and fulfilled this promise of action with incredible speed.
The plans, projects, programmes and measures were devised and immediately put into action. In order to, restore confidence in American banking. President Roosevelt introduced the less known measures — the Glass-Steagall Act of June 1933. The Act helped “extension of the directing and regulating powers of the Treasury Department.”
The stoppage of American loan to Germany put her in a “vulnerable condition”. She was to be under an obligation to pay back the reparation debt and carry on the reconstruction programme. Germany’s finances, public and private, floated on a constant stream of borrowed money. In accordance with the Spa Conference in July 1920 Germany was to pay 5,000 million dollars to the Allies.
Out of which France was to have 52%, Britain 22%, Italy 10%, Belgium 8% and the others 8%. The Reparation Commission on 27 April 1921 announced that they had assessed the German liability, which was 132 billion gold marks, equivalent to 32 billion dollars or £ 6,600 million. Failing to pay the initial £ 50 million by May 1921 German towns Ruhrort, Duisburg and Dusseldorf were already occupied and now Ruhr was occupied in January 1923. This brought disaster for Germany.
Now, American loan to Germany being stopped because of world slump German found herself in a desperate situation. In September 1930 General Election the National Socialists or Nazis increased their number of seats from 12 to 107 in the Reichstag. Feeling the pulse of the people they denounced the terms of the Versailles Treaty. Carr has rightly remarked that although the ministry remained unchanged, the entry of the Nazis in the Reichstag had indicated the virtual breakdown of democracy.
It may be added that a desperate attempt began by Germany to come out of this economic impasse by throwing her into tearing all norms of preserving peace. Thus one can say that the Allies, attempt and activities to put the screws on Germany not only opened the road to Nazis’ entry into the Reichstag but also indirectly led the way to the Second World War. We should keep it in our mind that the crying need of the time was economic co-operation, but the committee appointed by the League Assembly of 1930 considered some other trifle as well as impossible scheme of European Union.
Pushed to extreme corner by economic depression both Germany and Austria secretly devised a plan of customs union between them. Although for the time being this union could not have been made because of French opposition, but later on Hitler preferred this idea and announced the Union renouncing the terms of the Versailles.
The dislocation in Austria caused by the economic collapse brought about a collapse of Kreditanstalt, the largest and most reputable bank of Austria where two-thirds of Austria’s assets and liabilities were held. In May 1931, the bank announced itself insolvent. Its collapse rocked the economy of central Europe. The previous theory of laissez-faire and free trade was abandoned and Government control on all aspects of economic activities was imposed.
Term Paper # 2. Economic Diplomacy during the Depression:
Hard-pressed by economic collapse governments of various countries tried to solve the problem in three different ways:
(i) In order to control currency and exchange rates with other countries each one of them adopted drastic measures such as raising of tariffs, imposing “stiffer quotas on imports” to shield their respective country against depression,
(ii) Regional measures were taken, as the British Commonwealth took in the Ottawa agreements of 1932.
(iii) In the World Economic Conference of June 1933, sixty-six states undertook to perform a “comprehensive collective action”.
Lausanne Convention of July 1932 decided on the ending of reparations. In the United States the new President Franklin D. Roosevelt inspired the nation with fresh heart and hope and gradual recovery also took place in the United States. Nevertheless, the World Economic Conference, held mostly for the recovery of European economy, proved abortive.
Group action by European states and even separately by each state took different measures but bore no fruit. But in the United States the National Industrial Recovery (the Blue Eagle) Act was introduced by Roosevelt which brought about quick recovery of economic condition. In 1934 and ’35 the New Deal was implemented and economic recovery get further impetus.
Great Britain strengthened the trade link with Denmark, Germany, Argentina, and even the Soviet Union. In June 1934 she stopped payments installments of war still outstanding. Other debtor states except Finland also stopped payments. As a result, by the end of 1934 “started on slow convalescence” and revival of trade and public confidence returned.
The British government in its statute of 1931 implemented self-government and self-determination for Canada, Australia, New Zeeland, The Union of South Africa, and Eire. The Dominions severed their imperial connections, imposed higher rate of tariffs against imports from countries outside the Commonwealth. This action was bitterly criticised by European countries.
Partial organisations like Pan-Americanism or the British Commonwealth were more successful in promoting prosperity than that of which League of Nations and its affiliated bodies could do. In the Imperial Economic Conference which was held at Ottawa in 1932, a dozen bilateral trade treaties were signed between Britain and the Dominions.
The most devastating effects in the realm of international relations, Prof. Thomson points out, was that it led directly to the Second World War.
Term Paper # 3. The Origins of the Nazi Revolution:
Its Diplomatic Consequences: Der Fuhrer:
The Nazi of the Nazi party was identified with the fortunes of its leader Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) and with his rise the path of Nazi revolution became clear.
Under Stresemann’s guidance Germany from 1924 to 1929 shared the general recovery of Europe. The Dowes Plan began to work and Germany was admitted to the League of Nations. But this better political situation gave a false appearance of greater stability to the Republic. The Republican government represented a coalition of diverse elements and could not pursue any consistent policy of internal reforms.
Nor was its foreign policy popular. It had accepted the dictated Treaty of Versailles which was a standing humiliation for Germany. Its acceptance of unfair terms and its apparent inability to assert itself more strongly in international affairs rankled in the hearts of many patriots.
In 1929 two things occurred which brought about complete transformation in politico-economic condition of Germany as well as of Europe.
Stresemann died in 1929 leaving his task of political rehabilitation unfinished, and, secondly, the great world slump of 1929 strangled an already enfeebled and war-ravaged Germany, making all classes desperate. Stresemann’s death left the Republic without efficient leadership at a time when it was urgently needed. The people felt crushed and disillusioned. Thus a situation was produced which gave to Hitler and his Nazis a unique opportunity to come to power.
William L. Shirer has described the situation in this way. “On the very eve of the birth of the Third Reich a feverish tension gripped Berlin.” By birth an Austrian citizen. Hitler started his life as a house painter. During the World War I he had enlisted in the German army and in it he served throughout the war. As a soldier he was wounded on several occasions. He was awarded the Iron Cross for bravery and distinguished service.
However, he did not rise beyond the rank of a corporal. When the war ended he worked as a house decorator in Munich and joined the German Worker’s Party which then numbered only seven members. He never forgot the humiliating terms of the Treaty of Versailles that Germany had to endure because of her surrender.
This left an indelible impression on his mind. He cherished two aims in his life and these were, according to Hazen:
(a) “The scrapping of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles” and
(b) “The resurrection of Germany.” He believed that neither democracy nor Communism could restore or make Germany powerful.
Hitler was influenced by the writings of two political philosophers — Nietzsche and Adolf Stocker. The writings of Adolf Stocker made Hitler a sworn enemy of the Jews.
The German Worker’s Party was given a new name by Hitler — National Socialists — from which the abbreviated name Nazi Party emerged. The programme he formulated for the party was radical. It denounced the whole Treaty of Versailles, demanded the union of all Germans in a Greater Germany.
Hitler became obsessed with the idea there should be no border between these two German-speaking peoples, namely Germany and Austria, and that they both belonged in the same Reich. He condemned the Parliamentary system and called for the adoption of national, rather than Marxian Socialism. He discovered in himself gifts of oratory and propaganda and set himself to apply them in the interests of his new party. His meetings were attended by large number of Germans.
Hitler’s frenzied exposition of woes and wrongs of Germany attracted large audiences and held them spellbound. He began by raising a body of storm troops (the so-called S. A.) whose duty it was to protect party meetings and to break up those of other parties. On the eve of the elections in 1925, the Nazi party was completely reorganised on the lines of the Communists and the Fascists. The organisations of students, children and the youth were started.
Local branches were organised all over the country and Munich was made the headquarters. Hitler became the chairman of the Nazi Party. He organised the Special Police (S. S.) with a distinctive uniform of black shirts while the Storm troops (S. A.) in brown uniform. Hitler was a genius at least in one aspect; he understood German mass psychology and which he successfully exploited in his favour.
In 1923, Hitler attempted a premature coup (Putsch) against the Republic and was thrown into prison. The notoriety he gained from his trial and imprisonment served to arouse widespread interest in the Nazi Party,’ and its patriotic programme made a strong appeal to the people whose feelings had been recently outraged by the French occupation of the Ruhr.
While in prison Hitler utilised his enforced leisure in writing a book, Mein Kampf, which is an account of his life and political ideas. The mind of Hitler and the roots of the Third Reich. It is a sort of Nazi Bible and soon became widely popular. It teaches the supremacy of the state, the superiority of the Nordic race and the manifest destiny of the pure Nordic people to rule the world.
The Nazi movement grew solely but steadily. The Party in 1919 started with only 17 members but gradually its rank and file swelled and, by 1924, it had gained the strength to fight the general election and in which the Nazis won 32 seats. In 1930 general election propaganda, the Nazis denounced the Young Plan as the chief cause of the economic plight of Germany.
They had hypnotic effect. The result was that Hitler polled six million votes and won 107 seats in the Reichstag. In the elections of 1932, the Nazis further consolidated their position. They won 230 seats and became the largest party in the Reichstag.
When the polls closed on March 13, 1932, the results were:
Hitler had increased the Nazi vote over 1930 by nearly five million — some 86 per cent — but he had been left far behind Hindenburg. In the second round of election that took place on April 10, 1932.
When the results were out late at night were:
Political upheavals often have their roots in economic problems. For Hitler and the Nazis, this opportunity was provided by the worldwide slump of 1929, the worst in recorded history. By this time the organisation of the Nazi Party had become highly efficient. The slump affected all sections of people in Germany and they began to join the Nazi Party in crowds in the hope that it would evolve a policy of national regeneration. The Nazis were strong in the Reichstag and it became increasingly difficult to carry on the government without their co-operation.
Without a majority at his command in the Reichstag, Heinrich Brüning of Catholic Centre Party, who was governing the country by presidential decrees issued under Article 48, tried to outbid the Nazis. Brüning was succeeded, in June 1932, by a right-wing Chancellor, Franz von Papen, only to be replaced by General Kurt von Schleicher as Chancellor.
But Papen persuaded President Hindenburg that a new right wing coalition — without von Schleicher but including and headed by Hitler — could save the decaying situation. Von Papen was confident that in this process the real authority would be held by him and Hitler would be a cipher. Papen definitely underestimated the ability of Hitler. Hindenburg, however, had no option but to appoint Hitler as Chancellor on 30 January 1933.
The coalition of Papen and Hitler forced Hindenburg to dismiss Schleicher. Papen was appointed the Vice-Chancellor, only to be thrown out of power. Shirer has described the rise of Hitler as a Chancellor of Germany in a lucid style “In this, by way of the back door, by means of a shabby political deal with the old-school reactionaries he (Papen) privately detested, the former tramp from Vienna, the derelict of the First World War, the violent revolutionary, became Chancellor of the great nation.”
Hitler’s advent had brought forth dictatorship and ended German democracy. He destroyed political freedom and the rule of law but made Germany for the first time a united country.
In the diplomatic arena Hitler was looked for by the Western powers as the possible contender of communism. Until 1938 Britain and France accepted Hitler as a persona grata and rebuilt good relation with him giving him undue concessions and preponderance. Hitler was, though, appointed Chancellor by President Hindenburg in a strictly constitutional manner and for solidly democratic reasons, he destroyed democracy and grabbed absolute power, and absolute power gradually corrupts him absolutely. Hitler was determined to free Germany from the shackles of Versailles Treaty and then to make Germany the greatest power in Europe rebuilding its army as invincible.
Although some scholars have identified Hitler as a demon who sought deliberately to destroy existing civilization, Taylor refuted this idea. He thinks the idea is preconceived by the scholars like Hugh Trevor-Roper, Elizabeth Wiskemann and Allan Bullock-Hitler availed himself of the technicalities of popular approval where they suited his purpose. He constantly presented his case in vehement monologue.
He deceived the Western statesmen when he concluded the’ settlement of Brest-Litovsk posing himself as the “champion of European Civilisation against Bolshevism and the Red peril”. Hitler might have directed his ambitions towards the East and the conquest of the East might be only prelude to conquest in Western Europe. None can say definitely. Only events could have given the answer.
Everything that Hitler did perseveringly against the Jews followed logically from the racial doctrines and, interestingly, most Germans believed that and it was same with diplomatic policy. Taylor has suggested that “In principle and doctrine. Hitler was no more wicked and unscrupulous than many other contemporary statesmen”.
The only difference between them was Hitler “outdid them all”. The policy of both Britain and France rested ultimately on force. British policy rested on sea-power whereas French policy on the army. But the statesmen of Britain and France, according to Taylor, did not want to use this force. Taylor goes on saying, Hitler wanted to use his force, or would at any rate threaten to use it.
In October 1933, Germany left the League of Nations. In the plebiscite that was held in November 1933, more than 96% Germans supported the action of Hitler. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934 and immediately it was declared that the offices of President and Chancellor would be merged and, shortly afterwards, the armed forces took a new oath personally to Hitler, Fuhrer of the German land and people and 90% of the German population approved this measure when they were invited to register their approval.
Having firmly established himself in power, Hitler adopted measures against the Jews and they were deprived of their citizenship right. Although he was criticised in the foreign press, Hitler continued the persecution of the Jews. Although the Churches — belonging to both Protestant and Catholic faith — inclined to support Hitler in his fight against Bolshevism, they, however, stood firm against Nazi attempts to coerce them into approving the new racial theories as defined in the “Nuremberg Laws” of September 1935.
A secret police organisation called the Gestapo was formed to deal promptly and severely with the slightest indication of opposition to or even criticism of the Government. Liberty disappeared completely. Hitler proclaimed the superiority of the German race over all other races. All Marxian propaganda was banned. Germany was proclaimed a unitary state — “The Third Reich” (Third Empire).
In January 1934, Germany entered into a Non-Aggression Pact with Poland for 10 years. Poland, being suspicious of France, sought to make, an alliance with Germany. She was further disturbed by the German minorities and an alliance with Germany, Poland might have thought that she would be saved from the perpetual nuisance.
Austria, though a German state, had been kept separate from Germany by the Versailles Treaty as the Allies were unwilling to make a strong and powerful Germany which could be a source of danger to the peace and security of Europe. But Hitler encouraged Nazi agitators in Austria to capture the machinery of the Government. He instigated the Nazis in Austria to revolt in 1934. But the revolt failed.
On 16 March 1935 Germany under Hitler tore off the military clauses of the Treaty of Versailles and reorganised the German army by conscription. In June of that year Hitler entered into a naval agreement with Britain, by which Germany agreed to limit the size of her navy to 35% of the .strength of the British navy. The terms of the Treaty of Versailles dimilitarised the Rhineland.
It was specifically provided that no German troops were to be stationed in the region. It was forbidden for the safety and security of France and Belgium. In May 1935, France had concluded a military pact with Soviet Union and, in protest, Germany denounced the Locarno Treaties and German troops marched into the Rhineland. Hitler demanded that Franco-Russian Treaty was to be directed against Germany.
In 1936 a civil war broke out in Spain. On the one side it was the Republican government helped by the Soviet Union and on the other side was General Franco and his supporters helped by Hitler and Mussolini. The Republican Government of Spain was overthrown and General Franco established his dictatorship.
Shirer remarks about Hitler’s Spanish policy that it was, “from the beginning, shrewed, calculated and far-seeing.” Hitler’s policy in Spain — as has been described by Shirer (from captured German documents) — was to “prolong the Spanish Civil War in order to keep the Western democracies and Italy at loggerheads and draw Mussolini toward him.”
In October 1936, Count Ciano, Foreign Minister of Italy, came to Germany and the result was the signing of Protocols that embodied an agreement of cooperation between the two dictatorships. This is known as Rome-Berlin Axis and immediately after the formation of this Axis; Germany signed with Japan the Anti-Comintern Pact. Italy joined the Anti-Comintern Pact on 6 November 1937. Thus Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis came into existence.
Term Paper # 4. Rome-Berlin Axis:
Mussolini, a Prisoner in Hitler’s Hands:
On 26th October 1936, a secret treaty was concluded between Germany and Italy aiming at checking the influence of Communism as well as joint venture in Spanish Civil War on behalf of General Franco.
On 1st November 1936, Mussolini delivered a lecture at Milan and in this lecture he announced that an Axis had been formed and he said “This vertical line between Rome and Berlin is not a partition but rather an Axis around which can resolve all those European States with a will to collaboration and peace”. Thus, a new word “Axis” entered the history of international affairs. The treaty was made possible only because the international situation remained conducive to Hitler and Mussolini.
The ever-increasing hatred to Soviet Russia and its Communism inspired Britain and France to utilise Hitler against Soviet Russia. Therefore, any move or action taken by Germany or Italy to reestablish the European peace was overlooked by Britain and France. In fact, Germany and Italy were given free-hand in Europe and also no action was taken by Britain and France for flouting League of Nations by Germany and Italy. Moreover, both Italy and Germany were ruled by one-party dictatorship. Obviously, the situation was ideal for bringing in Germany and Italy more closely.
Again, Hitler often mentioned in his public speeches: the need for Lebensraum. Hitler expressed his intention to occupy extra space in Eastern Europe for the excess population of Germany who could be rehabilitated there. In Austria, Hitler assumed that Austrian Nazis would gradually penetrate the government there and would transform Austria into a Nazi state. But at the same time Austria was under the protection of Mussolini. Therefore, Mussolini’s alliance was essential for Hitler despite underneath there was conflict between Germany and Italian foreign policy.
Mussolini wished to maintain his protectorate over Austria and Hungary and to extend Italian power in the Mediterranean, principally at the expense of France. Hitler intended to make Germany the leading power in Europe with Italy as, at best, a junior partner. Neither was eager to promote the ambition of the other. Each planned to exploit the other’s challenge to the Western powers in order to extract concessions for himself.
In such circumstances, discussion of practical questions might lead to a quarrel. Instead, therefore, they put stress on their ideological similarity — the modern and creative spirit of their two states which allegedly made them superior to the decadent democracies.
This was the Rome-Berlin Axis, loudly announced by Mussolini in November 1936, round which European politics henceforth were expected to restore. Subsequently, this pact was extended to Japan.
One aspect we can glean from the facts that both Hitler and Mussolini had successfully exploited the fear of Britain and France of Communism. They clearly sided with Germany and Italy so long Germany invaded Poland. Indubitably Britain and France inclined to be neutral in the struggle between Fascism and Communism or perhaps even on the Fascist side.
They feared Hitler as the ruler of a strong, aggressive Germany. But they also welcomed him as a protector of European civilisation against communism. Many Englishmen, particularly in the Conservative Party, raised the slogan: “Better Hitler than Stalin”. Even some well-to-do conservative Frenchmen shouted not merely “Better Hitler than Stalin,” but “Better Hitler than Leo Blam”.
Prof. Taylor has described Hitler and Mussolini as two supermen but except as heroes they were nobodies. Before they attained power they had achieved nothing and the supposed class-basis of their rule was arrant nonsense. General Beck, who was ousted by Hitler, remarks, “This man has no country”, and one could add — no class, no past, and no family. Taylor remarks that Mussolini was hypnotized by Hitler and Hitler was genuinely taken in by Mussolini.
All the same the pull of real life was too strong for them. Hitler despised Mussolini at the very moment of believing in him. Mussolini knew that Hitler was leading him to disaster, even though he followed him with conviction. Each tricked the other and intrigued against other though each knew that this was a sin against the hero in himself.
Thus Mussolini encouraged the Czechs to become Communist in the autumn of 1939 in order to make things difficult between Moscow and Berlin. He protected Polish refugees and even hoped that Yugoslavia would be a barrier against German expansion in the Balkans. Hitler kept German irredentism in Tyrol up his sleeve, cut down Italy’s share of Yugoslavia after his conquest, rejected Italy’s claims against France.
And final oddity, though they both were liars, they were genuinely hurt at having deceived. Probably each was happy in the last phase securely divorced from reality, Mussolini rattling the bones of the Fascist Republic and dreaming of St. Helena, Hitler reading Carlyle and preparing a stupendous ‘Gotter dammerung’.
Both ran true to form to the end. Hitler’s last letter reproached Mussolini for having lost the war by invading Greece. Mussolini carried this letter in his pocket to show that he had been the first of the resisters. In these last acts each expressed national character as well as his own — the hard luck story of the German, the smart intrigue of the Italian. They were. Prof. Taylor remarks, a very nasty and ridiculous pair. The worst part of the story is that millions of people believed in them and applauded their every action.
William L. Shirer in his master-piece The Rise and fall of the Third Reich remarks that towards the end of the war the reverses of the Germans in Russia and of the Italo-German armies in North Africa stirred Mussolini to think otherwise. Hitler had invited him to come to Salzburg for a talk. This time Mussolini decided to ask Hitler to cut his losses in the East, make some sort of deal with Stalin and concentrate Axis strength on defending the rest of North Africa, the Balkans and Western Europe.
But due to ill health Mussolini could not make the long journey and Ciano, his son-in-law who was also Foreign Minister of Italy, met Hitler on his behalf and repeated to the Nazi leader the proposals of Mussolini, the Duce. Hitler scorned both of them though assured Ciano, the Italian Foreign Minister, of accepting the proposals.
Until now we find Mussolini tried his best to maintain an independent charisma. Mussolini was so over wrought that he could no longer follow his onetime friend’s tirades and, therefore, skipped meeting with Hitler on the pretext of ill health. Mussolini carried on his own shoulder the gun of Hitler and acted according to the instructions of him, and, at the same time, he tried to revolt but without success.
William Shirer has given a vivid description of the first meeting between Hitler and Mussolini when the latter, on September 25, 1937, outfitted in a new uniform created especially for the occasion, he crossed the Alps in the Third Reich.
Feted and flattered as a conquering hero by Hitler and his aides, Mussolini could not then know how fateful a journey this was, the first of many to Hitler’s side which were to lead to a “progressive weakening of his own position and finally to a disastrous end.” But Mussolini found his time running out quickly. He was arrested and dismissed from office by the king of Italy but was released by Hitler in a daredevil attempt.
From this time on, at the far end of his life, Mussolini was under surveillance of Hitler and Mussolini was convinced that his future lay at the side of Hitler.