In concluding his Fascism: A History (1996), Roger Eatwell notes that 'fascism emerged as a significant force…as a result of a complex inter-relationship between national traditions, the actions of key leaders…and socio-economic developments, especially crisis'. 1 It is vital to stress that the study of fascism and of its political choices-not least of all, territorial expansion-cannot be properly comprehended from a single viewpoint. The widening of the scope of research, encompassing ideology, structural factors and international relations, has contributed to the elaboration of our understanding of fascism, and of its expansionist policies in particular. Furthermore, the debate about fascism's relations with the national past has introduced a fruitful interest in studying fascism not simply as sui generis case, but in relation to a plethora of long-term and short-term dimensions: intellectual traditions, institutional developments, the crisis of the anciens régimes.
Why study ideology, then, in order to analyse fascist expansionism? The first reason for this is to gain a general insight into the most extreme fascist policies, of which expansionism (with all its consequences) was a striking example. The extension of the intentionalist-structuralist debate to the issue of the Holocaust, the bitterness of the Historikerstreit,2 and the immense interest in the Goldhagen controversy, to mention only recent historiographical developments, have shown that the discussion on the significance of ideology in fascism is not over. If large-scale expansionism and war were responses to domestic deadlock or the outcome of cumulative radicalisation, then why should we assume that expansion was the obvious and logical choice for diversion from domestic problems? Why was radicalisation expressed in these terms? Even if we dismiss the ideological pronouncements of Mussolini and Hitler as propaganda, even if we interpret expansion as a reaction to domestic crisis, there is always a process which formulates intentions and prioritises options. This process is not