Rise of Mussolini

The Rise to Power of Mussolini

(Emily L, Vanja, Rebecca R.)**__

Origins of the single-party state

  • Bitter dissapointment of the Treaty of Versailles for recieving no land for efforts
  • Strain of World War One on Italy's economy
  • Increasing number of workers going on strike
    • the rise of a communist base among lower class workers
    • middle class and elites no happy
  • Growing discontent of unemployment
  • 1919-1922: five different governments attempted to take power
    • all incapable of taking decisive action granted by the situation
  • A desire to return to the glory days of Rome

Emergence of Mussolini

  • Came to Italy from Switzerland in 1910 and became the editor of a socialist newspaper Avanti!
    • December 1914 Mussolini broke away from socialism to support Italian expansion to its "natural frontiers" as an interventionalist
    • Supported King Vittorio Emanuel III when he declared war on Austria
      • 1915 Mussolini injured by a grenade explosion
      • Italy defeated on October 24, 1917
    • 1919 Mussolini creates the Fascio-dicombattimento (Italian League of Combat)
      • Becomes the National Fascist Party in 1921
    • 1921 the Fascist Party wins 35 seats in the elections
      • But there was still a real danger of a communist seizure because of the atmosphere of strikes and riots taking place in the north
      • At first, Mussolini threatens a coup d'etat in 1922
        • Fascist Party grown to 300,000 members
        • unemployment still increasing
      • But the Fascists staged a March on Rome in October 1922 where King Emanuel invites Mussolini to form a coalition government with Gioloitti
    • During a political crisis in 1925, Benito Mussolini seizes dictorial power

Establishment of the single-party state

  • From 1925 through 1931 new laws were passed to create a legal basis for Italy's official transformation into a single-party state
    • 1925 the Fascists kidnapped and murdered a parlaiment member who exposed Mussolini
    • 1926 Mussolini dissolved opposition parties and independent unions by establishing strict press censorship
      • Socialist leaders Giacomo Matteotti and Giovanni Amendola were both beaten to death
      • Special courts were created to persecute any political opposition
    • National Police Force created (which also included a secret police component)
    • Also reduced powers of parlaiment
    • Eventually replaced the Parlaiment with the National Council of Corporations
      • Mussolini adopted the title Il Duce (the leader)
      • Fascist Corporatism was created which is a system of economic, political, and social organizations where social groups or interest groups, such as business, ethnic, farmer, labour, military, or patronage groups are joined together under a common governing jurisdiction to achieve societal harmony and promote coordinated development
      • 22 corporate bodies created
      • Detrimental to workers who have very few rights and are restricted from striking under this system
    • Mussolini felt very confident with his power and reduced violence in late 1926
    • The Lateran Accords were created in 1929 which settled the dispute over the Catholic Church's role
      • both Mussolini and the Church agreed to respect the other's role in Italy (the first time in history)
      • Terms:
        • The Papacy was granted temporal sovereignty over Vatican City
        • The Papacy was garunteed the free exercise of Roman Catholicism as the sole state religion throughout Italy
        • The Papacy accepted Italian sovereignty over the former Papal States
    • 1929 Worker's lives continue to get worse as their wages drop below levels set in 1922
    • Propoganda used heavily to encourage party membership and the single-party state
      • encourage larger families
      • emphasize physical fitness
      • encouraged education of Fascist ideas
        • stressed Italian nationalism and glorified the Romans
        • limitations imposed on the present inhabitants by geography and the West
        • taught concept of imperial destiny which awaited Italy's future development
        • Free expression in the arts is openly attacked
      • To work towards returning Italy to the glory days of Rome
    • Wore black shirts to signify their loyalty
    • Used religion as a tool to manipulate public opinion by melding religious rhetoric, symbolism and mythology into their political policies to make the text sanctioned which makes people more accepting of it
    • Anti-Semitism was another unifying factor
      • 50,000 Jews lived in Italy in the 1930's
      • Mussolini did not implement the extermination of the Jewish people but in 1938 passed anti-semetic laws to exclude Jewish people from serving in the government and the military
      • Also excluded Jewish people from teaching and excluded immigration of foreign Jews into Italy
      • 75% of Italian Jews survived WWII
      • 8000 died in German concentration camps
  • 1935 Mussolini turned to violence in ruling once again

Regional and Global Impact

  • 1936 Italy's enthsiasm lead to the invasion and defeat of Ethiopia
  • Mussolini was Hitler's role model in Germany's Fascist transformation
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