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Even though Ethiopia is conquered and annexed, Italy has found out that the League is still able to show its intestinal fortitude; and has continued to apply the dreaded sanctions. Italian crowds may fill the air with cries of popular enthusism for Mussolini, Badoglio and the rest, but no one will deny that Italy's "little man" has had to pull in his belt several notches in the process. The sanctions have hit the country hard and the longer they are continued, the more desperate will the situation become.
It is a distinguishing feature of Fascism that military accomplishments are loudly extolled, and foreign countries defied, whenever economic pressures increase. As the food shortage grows more serious in Rome, also do the "victory songs" grow louder and Italian medicinemen beat the tom-toms of hate and self-adulation with increasing gusto. Mussolini is faced with increased living costs, an unbalanced budget, a shortage and an upset foreign trade, and he has realized that only by playing on the passions of his Latin populace can he divert its minds from dwelling upon its economic position or physical sufferings.
By dramatically withdrawing from yesterday's League conference with all the petulance of a reprimanded child, he has made his countrymen feel that Italy is in a position to dictate to the world, and has thereby fed them with a sense of self-importance instead of with bread. When Hitler left Geneva he aroused his people to unknown heights of excitement, and gave them that wonderful feeling of having told someone where to "get off". Mussolini is now playing that same old weather-beaten trump and hopes to reap the same reward.
If Italy follows up her dramatic move by completely severing relations with the League, she will put herself in a most unenviable position. Sanctions can be continued much more easily, since the countries of Europe will not have to defend their actions before Italian delegates. If Mussolini backs down and returns to Geneva, he will lose whatever praise he has gained at home.
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