Fascist Italy

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  • Fascist Italy
    • Rise to power
      • Fear of Communism
        • Strikes and rioting up with 1.5 million strikes in  1919.
        • Trade union membership grew, CGL 2 million members by 1920.
        • PSI 50,000 members pre-war, 200,000 in 1919.
        • Squadre grew from 20,000 to 200,000. Ras established taking over local govt.
      • Weakness of Liberal Italy
        • Never had support of all population (only 2% could vote)
        • Strong regionalism,division between industrial north and rural south.
        • Saw it as something that didnt represent them.
        • FWW disaster, 500,000 captured or deserted, 1 million killed or injured. Gained no land that was expected.
        • 1919 election, PSI PPI coalition govt, no decision made from disagreements.
        • 6 PM's between 1918 and 1922.
        • Post war: cost of living up by 50%, unemployment 2.5 million.
      • Role of Mussolini
        • March on Rome: 30,000 troops and police awaited the Fascists. King backed down, thought of civil war, as loyalty of army could not be assured.
        • Defeated socialists and strikers with violence.
        • 29th Oct Mussolini invited to form Govt.
        • Ras becoming independent   united party by returning squadre violence.
      • Why?
        • Mussolini projected a sense of power and confidence in times of despair and disorder.
        • Fascism promised a strong stable govt, and an end to political fueding that crippled democracy in Italy.
        • Intense nationalism brought back national pride.
        • At first western democracracies applauded Mussolini's govt for order and discipline.
    • Ideology
      • Impact of FWW
        • Weakened Europe (Collapse of Russia etc). Left millions of ex-service men brutalised by war. Led to worlds first communist regime.
      • Early Ideas
        • Nationalist
          • Against: Trade Unions, PSI (Socialist Party), capitalism, monarchy and the church.
          • Aimed to win over FWW veterans. Failed in 1919 as no distinction from other parties.
          • Return Italy to former glory of Roman error. Needed aggressive foreign policy, wars of conquest necessary (Brutal actions in Libya, 100,000 Libyan Arabs sent to concentration camps).
        • Totalitarian system of government
          • 'Everything within the state, noting outside outside the state, nothing against the state'. Individual freedom dangerous as it allowed people to act against the interests of the state.
        • Heroic Leader
          • Actions of heroic leader would transform society.
        • Hatred of Communism
          • Rejected ideas that economy drove history forward. Saw loyalty to communism, loyalty to Moscow and not the State/Italy.
        • Militarism
          • Believed war drove history forward. 'Better to live 1 day as a Lion, than 100 years as a sheep'. Needed to return Italy to former glory.
        • Corporatism
          • Third way between communism and capitalism. Developed over 1925-39. Aimed to create a harmony between workers and employers through creations of corporations by Fascist officials. Ministry of Corporations created in 1926, led by Mussolini.
    • Il Duce
      • Reasons
        • Ideology (Heroic Leader).
        • Desire for personal power (totalitarian).
        • Kings accpetance.
        • Remove opposition.
        • Role of Propaganda.
      • Development
        • Simimlar to development of dictatorship.
        • Creation of FGC gave him immense power.
        • By 1939 Chamber of deputies passed pretty much anything Mussolini said.
      • Use of Propaganda
        • Media (Cinema and radio) films praising Mussolini  demonstrated him to be the great savior.
        • Regualtions on how to present Mussolini were made (speel his name with all CAPS). End of 1930's.
        • Foreign reporter said Mussolini was a great man, Italian newspapers reported their leader to be held highly by the rest of Europe.
      • Key Features
        • Role model.
        • Hard worker (office light left on through night).
        • A father, lover and common man.
        • Strong man against communism.
      • Limitations
        • Pope:  Had influence across the world.
        • King: Highly respected after FWW, in a dispute only the air force would back Mussolini.
      • Ideology
        • Needed a strong leader.
        • Militarism and Nationalism allowed Mussolini to train people like soldiers, making them obedient to the leader.
      • New legal code 1931, became crime to criticise Mussolini.
    • Intolerance
      • Economic
        • Ministry of Corporations had overall control of corporate state (1926).
        • Trade Unions banned in 1925 (Vidoni Pact).
        • 1934-Each sector of economy controlled by 2 governing boards (syndicates),these were controlled by Fascist officials. Economy split into 7 sectors.
          • Fascist officials enhanced their state salaries with bribes and took money from building planning, left buildings with no piping.
        • ORVA and MSVN meant confidence in no worker uprising.
      • Political
        • Only those who paid taxes of more than 100 lire able to vote (from 10million to 3million voters)
        • Between 1925-1940, 100,000 decrees passed. Elections ceased.
        • Judiciary system dealt with by sacking dozens of judges and legal system perverted to allow imprisonment without trial.
        • ORVA established 1926, only had 375 agents.
        • In total 5,000 opponents imprisoned or banished for a total of 28,000 years.
        • Chose party secretary who was replaced often so they couldn't establish a power base.
        • 1930's teachers had to swear oath of loyalty to Mussolini  of 1,250 only 11 refused.
      • Cultural
        • The Opera Nazionale Dopolarvaro (after work) set up in 1925 to coordinate leisure time of adults, controlled a large number of social organisation(all football clubs by 1932).
        • Youth organisations created to ensure continuous exposure to fascist values. 1926- The Balilla formed for boys between 6 and 18, had to swear oath of loyalty to Mussolini.
          • Piccole Italince for girls 9-14 and Giovani Italiane 15-17.
            • Trained girls for future roles as mothers.
        • Women able to go into higher education and teaching, not lessons important to regime like History (1925).
        • One textbook became compulsory which gloified Italy (1936). Single sex schools enforced.
        • 1938- Law passed limiting percentage of women allowed in the work place to 10%.
      • Religion
        • 1931- Pope opposed Mussolini's attempts to suppress the church. Catholic action confined to those with a religious nature.
        • Latern Treaty- granted Pope over 108.7 acres of land in Rome. And payed him 750 million lire in cash.
          • Allowed Mussolini to solve the dispute that had divided Italy for the past 60 years.
        • Pope opposed anti-semitic policies but died and so prevented a clash, new pope never spoke out publically against Mussolini.
      • Racial
        • Influenced by Hitler.
        • Jewish community 0.1% of population
        • 1935-ridiculed Nazi Germany for anti-antisemitism. By 1938 Italian Jews came under attack.
        • Italian empire in Africa racially intolerant (100,000 Arabs driven out of Libya and sent to concentration camps, 50,000 died).
        • Germans and Slavs-Imposed policies attempting to destroy language and culture  Italinaised surnames.
    • Establishing a One-Party State
      • End 1925: All political parties banned and one party state established.
      • Factors
        • April 1924: Acerbo law passed through govt, granted 2/3 seats in chamber of deputies to largest party, providing they won 25% of vote.
          • 1924 elections: 4.5 million votes = 374 seats of 535 (66% of vote). Helped by intimidation of voters by black shirts and vote rigging.
        • Backed by King, Catholics and military leaders as they had desire to crush the left.
        • Aggressive forgein policy allowed him to gain support. (demanded compensation of 50 million lire for murder of Italian general).
        • Jan 1925, began to establish a dictatorship:
          • Freedom of press and speech disappeared.
          • Political opponents attacked, forced to eat live toads and drink caster oil.
          • 4 attempts on Mussolini's life gave opportunity to crush opponents-act against socialist parties.
          • Dec 1925, act passed banning opposition parties.
          • Deputies who left prior refused re-entry. Mussolini only answerable to the king. Jan 1926- govt by decree legalised. Oct 1926-formal decree banned all other political parties.
      • 1922- Fascists have 4/14 cabinet ministers(others were catholic, military leaders who thought Mussolini could be used to crush the left). He would be controlled then dismissed. 7% popular vote (35 seats in Duma).
  • 1935-ridiculed Nazi Germany for anti-antisemitism. By 1938 Italian Jews came under attack.

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