Nazi Germany's obvious political and military ally in Europe was Italy. The Italians had been governed by a fascist regime under Benito Mussolini since 1925. Italian fascism was very much the elder brother of Nazism, a fact Hitler himself acknowledged. Yet for all their ideological similarities, the relationship between Hitler and Mussolini was bumpy and complex. The alignment of their two countries was consequently not as firm as many anticipated. By the late 1930s Germany and Italy had become military allies. Their priorities, however, lay with their own national interests, rather than supporting the interests or ambitions of another country. The union between Nazi Germany and fascist Italy became a marriage of convenience and expedience rather than a firm alliance of sister states.