To what extent was the creation of a Fascist dictatorship between 1922 and 1926 due to the mistakes of Mussolini's political opposition?

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  • To what extent was the creation of a Fascist dictatorship between 1922 and 1926 due to the mistakes of Mussolini's political opposition?
    • Parliamentary compromise and coercion
      • There were only 35 fascist deputies in Parliament, meaning Mussolini had nowhere near enough numbers to get legislation through. Therefore, he would have to make concessions and compromises with other parties.
      • Mussolini was now seemingly against violence from fascist squads. This preference had evolved through his duel policy. The squads were now demanding more power, but Mussolini believed he had better chance of consolidating his power through good relations with the King and conservative elite
      • Mussolini had members of the PPI, ANI, liberals and members of the military in his cabinet
      • He appointed himself as foreign minister and minister of the interior
      • He appointed Alberto D' Stefani as Minister of Finance, who was popular with the Conservatives
      • He gained the trust of the Church by reinstating Crucifixes in schools and reinstating clerical pay
        • These policies led to the decline of the PNF as they seemingly lost the influence of the Vatican
      • Absorbed the ANI into the PNF
      • Got the PPI on side by appointing Luigi Cavazzoni as minister of work and welfare. He encouraged the PPI to accept Mussolini's policies
      • His maiden speech as PM was a mixture of offers to work with others and threats
      • He secured year long emergency powers which meant he could not be removed by Parliament for at least a year and could raise taxes without Parliaments approval
    • Controlling the PNF
      • Created the Fascist Grand Council as a rival to the Cabinet
        • Undermined the cabinet which Mussolini had a weak position in. He would no longer have to compromise with Liberals and members of the PPI
      • Discussed key policy and elevated fascist leadership to the same position as the cabinet
      • Centralised his power as he had the sole power to appoint members to the Council and was the only person who could decide what legislation would be discussed
      • Created the MVSN, which absorbed the Squadristi and formalised their role as a party-based Parliamentary force whose job was to support the army and police in defending the fascist revolution
        • This meant he could control the squads as they pledged allegiance to Mussolini at the expense of the ras (who were the people who controlled the squads).
        • Violence was now seen as unfavourable to the traditional parliamentarians.
    • The Acerbo Law and 1924 Election
      • This law said that if the largest party win over 25% of the vote they would get 2/3 of the seats
        • At the time, PR was used, meaning many parties were in Parliament and it was highly unlikely that any party would win enough of the vote to get a majority
      • The passing of the law was then followed by the 1924 General Election
      • The Fascists won the greatest victory since unification. They increased their share of the deputies from 35 to 275 and won 66% of the vote
        • Support was overwhelming due to Italians believing Mussolini could offer stability and because of support from prominent Liberals
      • Despite this win, it is important to note that Italy was still a democracy and the other parties had around 80 seats between them
    • The Matteotti Crisis
      • The turning point from the end of democracy to the establishment of Mussolini's dictatorship
      • When the new Parliament opened in May of 1924, Matteotti, the Communist Party leader, made a speech criticising Mussolini and the lack of democracy and the violence he used. It was believed he had some sort of document which could affect Mussolini's popilarity
      • He was kidnapped and murdered days later. A witness claimed that they saw Mussolini's press secretary's car being used to kidnap him
      • The traditional institutions in Parliament were concerned about Mussolini's potential involvement. The other parties called for him to be removed as Prime Minister. The ras claimed it was the first step to establishing a dictatorship
      • Around 100 anti-fascist deputies left Parliament in protest to form the Aventine Secession. This helped Mussolini as it proved he had the backing of the King and the Pope who believed there was no alternative to Fascism. He was then able to pass laws without opposition
      • Mussolini ordered an end to violence and demanded that anyone who disagrees will be removed from the party
    • The establishment of a dictatorship in 1925
      • Mussolini made a key speech in Parliament where he announced the establishment of his dictatorship in January
        • Mussolini would rule alone - not with his party - and would form a cabinet without most of the liberals and with him as PM, minister of the war, navy and foreign affairs
        • He appointed Farinacci as the PNF Secretary and he purged the party of radicals and reduced the role of the squads
      • The Grand Council passed a law which said all ras would have to disband
    • Repression and constitutional amendments
      • Socialist deputy arrested in 1925 for plotting to assasinate Mussolini
        • Mussolini announced the banning of the PSU, the party this deputy belonged to
      • Press censorship laws were introduced in 1925
      • Changed title to the Duce of Fascism in December of 1925
      • Jan 1926 - Mussolini can rule by decree
        • Those who were part of the Aventine Secession were arrested, therefore removing more opposition
      • October 1926- all other political parties banned after another assassination attempt
      • Mussolini establishes the Podestá, who will be in charge of local councils rather than the ras


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