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Soon after the Second World War and the signing of the 1947 Peace Treaty, Italy was faced with the traumatic loss of its African colonial Empire, an Empire whose establishment had been one of the main objectives of the Fascist regime's foreign policy. This article analyses Anglo-Italian relations in the Somalian context, highlighting the contributions made by Fascism and by the anti-Italian policies of British troops to the tensions that were to lead to the tragic events of January 1948. Attention is focused on the diplomatic mission carried out by Umberto Zanotti Bianco, President of the Italian Red Cross, an important figure in Italian Liberalism. Zanotti Bianco was conscious of the need for Italy to rejoin the ‘club’ of democratic powers and, in accordance with the diplomatic strategy of Foreign Minister Carlo Sforza, he sought to reopen dialogue between Britain and Italy. The dispute between Italy and Britain brought about by the Mogadishu events and, more generally, by the Italian presence in Africa was soon brought to a close, due both to Zanotti Bianco's shrewd strategy and to the clear need for the Western Allies to strengthen De Gasperi's government on the eve of the decisive April 1948 elections.
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