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The cornerstone of the Social Republic's foreign policy was to re-establish Italy as a great power and to "bring back Italy's honor and glory". Mussolini began his conquests in 1934, with the invasion and annexation of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies. He claimed the Risorgimento had not been completed, and the all who live in the peninsula are Italian. The war lasted less than a week, with very little casualties, and it actually spurred resistance to the Bourbon leaders, and most of the military refused to fight against their fellow Italians, and joined the Italian military in its march toward Naples. Mussolini then proclaimed that Italy proper had finally been fully unified, boosting the popularity of the regime. Christian Abyssinia was another target of the Fascist regime, and after a secret green light by the United Kingdom, was invaded and annexed into Italy's East African colony in 1935.
When war erupted in 1939, an inter-party debate on which side to back caused Mussolini to proclaim non-belligerency. Mussolini oversaw debates between the Allied sympathizers led by Italo Balbo, and the Axis sympathizers led by Pietro Badoglio. Eventually, the Axis sympathizers won and Mussolini declared war on the Allies on May 24, 1941, and invaded France and its colonies. After the war, Italo-German relations fell sharply, as the toleration of Germany's racist and anti-Semitic leadership for the sake of the war evaporated. This souring of relations, known as the Italo-German split, climaxed in 1948 when Benito Mussolini was expelled from the European Community for not bowing down to German demands.
Italian Colonial War
The emerging nationalist sentiment among colonials and the refusal of the Italian government to follow suit with other colonial powers who have pulled out of their colonies led to the first major attack on Italians in East Africa. The National Republican Guard had routinely put down anti-Italian imperialism demonstrations, however on February 17, 1959, a violent riot in Kenya had left 26 Italian Guardsmen and 32 Kenyans dead, as well as hundreds of people injured. Less than a month later, on March 4, 1959, Ethiopian militia had ransacked various Italian households and murdered dozens of Italian colonists. This led to a crackdown on any and all opposition to Italian rule, with hundreds of arrests by the National Republican Guard occurring. To combat the Italians, various Ethiopian, Kenyan, and Somali militias formed a united front known as the People's Front for the Liberation of East Africa.