Edexcel As History, 1 The Collapse of the Liberal State and the triumph of Fascism in Italy, 1696-1943

Notes from the course

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Preview of Edexcel As History, 1 The Collapse of the Liberal State and the triumph of Fascism in Italy, 1696-1943

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Liberal Italy
Mussolini and the Fascists
Italian unification (Risorgmento):
Cavour- Prime Minister of Piedmont 1852-61, wanted to create a liberal independent state in
the Northern half of Italy
Garibaldi- Radical nationalist guerrilla leader, popular with the masses. Aimed to liberate the
masses but trusted Victor Emmanuel. In 1860, 1862 and 1867 he tried to march on Rome.
Crispi- Prime Minster 1892-96
Antonio Starabba- Prime minister 1896-98, introduced universal suffrage etc.
Giolitti- Prime Minster- founded the Bank of Italy to manage curreny and support other
How united was Italy by 1896?
In 1859 Italy was ruled by the many elite. Unification many have challenged the aristocrats,
but they remained powerful and simply shared their wealth with a new middle-class elite.
By 1861, most of Italy was united and ruled by a constitutional monarch.
The North was much more powerful, rich and educated than the south.
After 1870's Italy was a liberal state, however the king had power over the army,
foreign policies and he also selected the Prime Minster and the individual ministers.
1874 Pius IX made it clear Catholics should not vote (power being taken from church)
1886- Forbidding Catholics to stand or vote in parliament elections.
Political parties were influenced by family and local interests along with the King's influence.
`Transformismo' , self-serving corruption was never really questioned (e.g. buying votes,
bribes etc.). The Army also played a large role in holding the country together. The
army had also been defeated in Abyssinia in 1896.
Councils who proved troublesome or uncooperative could be removed.
Late 1800's food prices collapsed, cheap wheat prices from USA, Canada and Russia effected
Italian Farmers. Bread price also increased
1887- Wheat tariffs were introduced then increased.
North- most important were textiles, although most still relied on hand looms (1800's 2-2.5
mil men in industry, ¼ in building and the rest in textiles, furniture and food production). The
elite often grew grapes for wine in places such as Tuscany. Tuscany- better housing was
provided by landlords, half their crops go as rent (normal peasants).

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South- Sicily- the price of land fell by 40% (late 1800's). Poverty stricken and alienated, the
peasants barely understood the new Italian (therefore they could not vote, have an
education etc.), Illiteracy in the South was over 80%. 1888, schooling become compulsory
but had little impact in the south. The Bitter Civil war (1861-65) - in many ways had been the
Northern army crushing the liberal movement. The South was made up of land owned my
nobles which was worked by poor peasants.…read more

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There was still a trade deficit, but the lire remained stable at approx. 5 lire to $1 and 25 lire to
£1. Partly due to rise in coal and steel, partly due to money sent home from those who had
Power becomes more based on hydroelectric power and less on expensive coal, despite this
coal imports actually increased. Italy become one of the leading in the new electrical
technology, this helped develop the steel industry (140000-193000 in 1913).…read more

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Treaty of London
1) No more secret agreements
2) All decisions regarding colonies should be impartial
3) All Italians are to be allowed to live in Italy. Italy's borders are to be `along clearly
recognisable lines of nationality' ­ most the areas Italy wanted were largely Austrian.
What did Italy actually get?
South Tyrol, Trentino and Istria. They also get East Galicia, Austro-Hungarian empire was
broken up and extended empire in Libya.…read more

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Area Y/N
Programme: a Marxist party, aiming for a socialist republic. There would be N
workers control of industry and the nationalisation of all land. Dictatorship It alienated
and religion would be destroyed (Russian style revolution). many people
Support: 300,000 people read the paper `Avanti' and they had over 200,000 N/A
members. Less support for the socialists in the south. It's difficult to
Leaders: Mussolini had been expelled in 1914. Other potential leaders such N
as Turati and Bissolati could not unite a majority.…read more

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August 1919, Nitti's government brought in PR.
What did this do?
Shifted democracy towards political parties with big resources, ending the importance of
traditional liberal elites and their local ties (this ended transformismo)
2 largest political parties:
1) PSI (socialists)
2) Catholic Popular Party, PPI (catholics)
Both were hostile to the liberal state.
PPI- want the pope etc. think liberal state=anti-clerical
PSI- want tot get rid of transformismo and the liberal state MP's etc.…read more

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The drop in liberal popularity meant that they could not form a majority (even if Giolliti bribed
all the MPs)
The PPI and PSI would not join to agree on laws and bring down Giolitti
The government was paralysed
Giolitti had lost control of the government
June 1919- October 1922, there were 4 PMs (Nitti, Giolitti (who lasted a year each), Bonomi
(7 months) and Facta (8 months)).…read more

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May 1921 elections; achieved 35 seats (PSI got 123, PPI got 107, communists got 15 and
Giolitti supports got 230.)
Mussolini was pleased with 35 seats they had only been a party 5 months
Growth in fascist membership:
Month (1921) No of Fasci (organisations) Total members
March 371 80,476
June 1192 204,506
September 1268 213,621
December 1333 218,453
Squadrismo- violent attacks of fascist gangs
Ras-local fascist/squad leaders
They were local movements made up of lors of ex-servicemen who wanted a coup de etat
vs.…read more

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Made an electoral pact with Giolitti from Autumn 1920,
Giolitti wants to use Mussolini to destroy socialists
Use popularity to support liberal Italy
Mussolini gain political power
Make them official
Then in 1921, Mussolini took further crucial actions:
3) Formed the PNF (national Fascist Party) which:
a) Gave him control of the Fascists after his disastrous Pact of Pacification (party
hierarchy with squadristi under party control not Ras control)
Richard Bosworth "it was a final victory over the Ras"
Pact of pacification
An attempt at…read more

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How did the Fascists seize power?
Fascists take control of local councils:
Autumn 1922 Po delta, May ­ September Fiume, Bologna.
locally formed fasci under Ras, very important in growth, often had different ideas to
fascists broke local power of socialsts in many places in the North and centre, seized
control of local power, Ferrara, Ravenna; parma, Alto Adige.
Dependence on violence, attack union members and buildings, 200 opponents killed
1920-22, some ¼ black shirts.…read more


Hass Khan

Thank you, very good notes

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