The Key Aspects of Fascism's Development 1919-22

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  • Created on: 12-04-19 08:34
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  • Key Aspects of Fascism's Development 1919-22
    • Foundation of the Fasci di Combattimento and the party programme
      • The Fasci di Combattimento was formed of 20 ex-soldiers and was also know as the Fasci.
      • Mussolini wanted to recreate what he had seen in the trenches - no divisions between North and South; just Italians fighting together for one great nation
      • Mussolini since believed that those who had fought for Italy in the war should rule Italy
      • Their original programme was in favour of the confiscation of Church Property; against the monarchy and in favour of progressive taxation
      • The first programme was too close to that of other left-wing parties and did not succeed. At its peak, it had around 3000 members
      • The Black Shirts came into existence and were modelled on what commandos had worn in WW1
    • Squadrismo and move to the right
      • Violence during WW1 had created a strong culture of violence amongst returning soldiers
      • They had decided that socialists and communists were the enemy due to their 'neither support nor sabotage' policy in WW1.
        • Because of this, the Fasci di Commbattimento formed small squads known as squadrismo with the members being called squadristi
      • In April 1919, they attacked Avanti! offices - a socialist newspaper - and killed 3 socialists. One Fascist was also killed. Mussolini began to realise it was a powerful tool
      • The Fascists had done poorly in the 1919 election - they won 5000 votes and no seats
      • The Fascists had not been arrested or condemned by the government or by the police. Mussolini began to realise that this was because of their fear of socialism
      • Mussolini began organising the squads like military units and encouraged them to attack Socialist councils as well as supporters. Their weapons were supplied by the police and army barracks.
        • Many Socialists were attacked by being beaten up, being forced to drink castor oil or being murdered
      • Many country side landowners were happy with the violence against socialists. They believed the soldiers had saved Italy from Austrians and now from a socialist revolution. Mussolini used this as propaganda
    • Political legitimacy
      • Fascists began achieving legitimacy because many liberal and conservative politicians were praising them for restoring law and order and stopping a socialist revolution. They were also praised by police.
      • During the General Election of 1921, Fascists used violence and intimidation towards voters.
      • The Police lent army weapons. The Judiciary were lenient to any Fascists who came to court
      • They won 35 seats and 7% of the vote in 1921. This gave them credibility in parliament and also helped Mussolini - he was now immune to prosecution and a charge he faced of trying to overthrow the govt was dropped
    • The PNF and New Programme
      • May 1920 - The New Programme is adopted
      • The New Programme was more conservative and right-wing
      • Removed references to nationalisation of industry; promised to sell off nationalised industry
      • Compulsory military service introduced; strived for unification; education would train students to fight
      • The Party was now formed into the PNF.
      • Mussolini attempted to centralise power around himself and get control of the Fascist squads.
    • Nature and extent of fascist support
      • 1921 - 200,000 members of the PNF
      • Appealed to urban middle class; white collar workers; small business workers
      • Supporters of the PNF did not want a PSI government that would increase taxes and create a socialist revolution
      • The PSI believed in land reform - farmers and those in the country side were against this
      • Some workers who were against the constant strikes (as it lost them money) also supported the PNF


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