THE INTER-WAR PERIOD 1922
On the 6th February 1922, the Washington Naval Treaty ended with the signing of the Washington Naval Treaty in Washington D.C. The conference was attended by nine nations including the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, France and Italy. Soviet Russia was not invited to the conference. The signing parties agreed to limit the size of their naval forces.
Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Treaty of Rapallo on the 16th April 1922 re-establishing diplomatic relations. The two signatories mutually cancelled all pre-war debts by renouncing all financial claims on each other and pledging future co-operation.
In October 1922 the Russian Civil War (ongoing since the 7th November 1917) ended in the Bolshevik victory with the defeat of the last White Army forces in Siberia.
Italian King Victor Emanuel III appointed fascist leader Benito Mussolini as prime minister on 29th October 1922. Mussolini was ambitiously hoping to raise Italy to the levels of its Roman past and therefore criticised the Italian government for the weakness of the Treaty of Versailles. Capitalising on public discontent following the Great War he organised a paramilitary unit known as the ”Black Shirts”, who terrorised political opponents and helped increase Fascist influence. His fascist party marched on Rome. Widespread social discontent, aggravated by middle-class fear of a socialist revolution and by disappointment over Italy’s meagre gains from the peace settlement after the Great War, created an atmosphere favourable for Mussolini’s rise to power. On the 24th October 1922, the fascist party leaders planned an insurrection to take place on the 28th October 1922, consisting of a march on Rome by the fascist armed squads known as Blackshirts and the capture of strategic places throughout Italy. Waiting in Milan for the outcome of events, Mussolini left the work of organisation to his subordinates. He declared that only he could restore order and was given the authority as prime minister in 1922. On the 28th October 1922, to meet the threat posed by the bands of fascist troops now gathering outside Rome, the government ordered a state of siege for Rome. The King refused to sign the order, which meant the army who could have stopped Mussolini was not called on to oppose the fascists. It has been suggested the King refused to sign the order as he was afraid he would lose his throne if he did not cooperate with the fascists, he also wished to avoid a civil war. As Italy slipped into political chaos, Mussolini declared that only he could restore order and was duly given the authority in 1922 as prime minister.
The abolition of the Ottoman Sultanate by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNAT) on the 1st November 1922 ended the Ottoman Empire, which had lasted since 1299. On the 11th November 1922, at the Conference of Lausanne, the sovereignty of the GNAT exercised by the Government in Ankara over Turkey was recognised. The last sultan, Mehmed VI, departed the Ottoman capital, Constantinople, on the 17th November 1922. The legal position was ratified with the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne on the 24th July 1923.