You are here:

Fascist Italy sought to expand its territory and influence as a cardinal element of its foreign policy. In the 1920s, for example, it fought a colonial war in Libya to destroy resistance of the Senussi tribe that rejected Italian control. In the Arabian Peninsula, unable to establish strong ties with Ibn Saud in the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd, Italy sought to develop influence over Imam Yahya, the king and religious ruler of Yemen, who was fighting against Ibn Saud and Britain to establish control over the historical Yemeni homeland. Italy sought to develop its influence in Yemen through a combination of trade, economic aid, and arms supplies. This study of Italy’s attempts to establish a base of operations in Yemen will demonstrate the imperialist attitudes of Italy’s elite, Imam Yahya’s resistance to Italian economic penetration, and the challenges for developing countries to modernize within the context of empire and colonization. It also will explain the limits on Italian power and the methods that Italy used to balance competing interests in its foreign policy. This episode is a fundamentally important prelude to the failure of Italian expansion during World War II and the failure of the Yemeni state, leading to today’s civil war and terrible humanitarian crisis. 

All welcome- this event is free but booking is required.