March 19, 1933 Benito Mussolini called for the creation of the Four-Power Pact as a better means of insuring international security. Under this plan, smaller nations would have less of a voice in Great Power politics. Representatives of Britain, France, Germany, and Italy signed a diluted version of Premier Benito Mussolini's Four-Power Pact proposal. Mussolini’s chief motive in suggesting the pact was the wish for closer Franco-Italian relations. If Mussolini’s purpose of the pact was to calm Europe’s nerves, he achieved the opposite result. The treaty reaffirmed each country's adherence to the Covenant of the League of Nations, the Locarno Treaties, and the Kellogg-Briand Pact. The Pact was intended to be the solution to the issue of how sovereign powers could come together and operate in an orderly way. Premier Mussolini's goal was to reduce the power of the small states in the League of Nations with a bloc of major powers.
The Four-Power Pact had little significance but is not completely devoid of merit. Mussolini’s Four-Power Pact was supposed to be a solution. The exploitation of the balance of power was at interest to Italy and also appealed to the British. However, the pact did face speculation among the French and Germans; London and Rome were close enough to mediate between Paris and Berlin. France was justifiably alarmed.
The document that was signed bore little resemblance to the initial proposal. In practice, the Four-Power Pact proved of little significance in international affairs, although it was one of the factors contributing to the German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact of 1934.
It has been argued that the Four-Power Pact could have safeguarded the European balance of power with the hope of balance peace and security in Europe. However at that time, in Europe, depression was abundant and the rise of Hitler to power makes this claim unlikely. At this time Polish reliance on France had been weakened and differing attitudes emerged of the pact between Poland and Czechoslovakia. Opposition to revise the Four-Power Pact was expressed by Poland and Little Entente States, as apparent in the French dilution of the pact in this final form. It is apparent that the Four-Power pact had a negative impact of France’s allies in Eastern Europe.
The rise of Adolf Hitler to power was an adequate reason to propose alternative power arrangements. However, what had started as an alternative to the League of Nations ended as a reassertion of devotion to that failing institution. Hitler was willing to accept the gratuitous triumph of the League of Nation’s death. The pact soon failed, but Britain in particular did not easily throw away the Four-Power idea. German withdrawal from the league put the Pact on hold. Throughout the next six years Britain make vain attempts to make it work at nearly any cost. The Four-Power Pact had no influence and served as a warning of future possibilities.
To the right is a Hitler Cartoon from "The Nation" in New York (5 April 1933). The cartoon suggests that Hitler wants war in the wake of the "Four-Power Pact" in Rome, which guarantees peace between the nations involved for the next ten years.
Jarausch, Konrad Hugo. "The Four-Power Pact, 1933." The American Historical Review, Vol. 72, No. 2. (Jan., 1967), pp. 571-572
Mazur, Zbigniew. "Pakt Czterech." The American Historical Review, Vol. 86, No. 4. (Oct., 1981), p.880
Wallace, W. V. "International Affairs" Royal Institute of International Affairs, Vol. 43, No. 1. (Jan., 1967), pp. 104-105