Italian-Hungarian Support for the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO): A Case Study on the Hungarian Role in Italy’s Aspirations towards the Balkan Region during the Interwar Period


The disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy after the Great War changed the international order of Europe as new states were born and old ones had to adapt to transformed environments. Even the directives of the Paris Peace Conference could not satisfy every claim and the many expectations of all European countries. Regarding the victorious powers, the most unsatisfied with the new order of Europe was undoubtedly Italy. On one hand, it had joined the Entente powers due to the promise of gaining territories, including Istria and the Dalmatian Coast, which was eventually given to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (from 1929 Yugoslavia), based on the principle of national self-determination. On the other hand, the main aim of Italian foreign policy regarding Europe – especially after Benito Mussolini came to power – was to gain influence in the Balkans, Central-Europe, and the Mediterranean. Yugoslavia posed an obstacle to these goals merely by its existence. As the Italian politicians were aware, Hungary – absent two thirds of its historical territory and losing the Voivodinian part to Yugoslavia – was also interested in weakening the South-Slavic state. The Italian government approached Hungarian leaders and offered their support of Hungary’s revisionist claims. This led to strong cooperation between the two states, which included the common support of separatist movements organized within Yugoslavia, (Ustasha, Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization IMRO). This case study presents the Italian-Hungarian support given to the IMRO which is a lesser known chapter in the history of the Interwar Period.