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Italy situation

  • Nationalists and Facists blamed weakness on the ruling Liberal-Conservatives.
  • Gabriele D'Annunzio led troops to seize the town of Fiume in Croatia in 1920.
  • 4 years between end of war and Mussolini, Italy had 6 coalition governments. Dominant party's after 1919 elections were the Socialists and they Catholics people's party.
  • Italians believed they had been cheated by their Allies at the Paris conferences of 1919.
  • Communists made no serious attempt to seize power.
  • Remained a constitutional monarchy with an essentially parliamentary form of government
  • Victorious power of WW1.
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Problems in Italy

  • Italy's 'Red two years' between Nov 1918 to Autumn 1920
  • 1920's Italy suffered from serious economic problems
  • High levels of unemployment due to demobilization of millions of troops.
  • Levels of inflation hit middle class worse.
  • Experienced a upsurge in militancy strikes, bread riots and occupation of land and factories and peasants and workers
  • Failure to resolve these problems undermined the Italian's people's faith in the political parties and in democracy.
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Agrarian Facism

  • From autumn 1920-22, 1000's of men joined the movement.
  • Working class had a lack of confidence in the Government.
  • Mussolini and Fascists cashed in on these feelings particularly in Northern and Central Italy
  • Fascist Fighting squads took the side of landowners and middle class in these area and defeated the peasant leagues and trade unions.
  •  Fascism seized power by force at local level.
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March on Rome.

  • 24 October 1922.
  • There was a serious opposition to the fascists.
  • Mussolini warned the if fascist were not given power they would take it by force
  • By this time, Socialist/ People's party were badly split
  • As Fascist Squadristi marched on Rome, Mussolini remained at Fascist HQ in Milan.
  • King representatives had to plead with Mussolini to journey to Rome for negotiation
  • Called the 'Sleeping-car revolution' because Mussolini traveled overnight from Milan to Rome, in order to seize power.
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Consquences of sudden rise to power.

  • This did not give quite enough time for fascists to build a a proper party machine complete with youth organizations and cadres of specialized officials.
  • Fascist party depended on Italian establishment ( Lib- conservative, monarchy, armed forces, catholic churches and elites)
  • Mussolini didn't have enough time to bring the provincial leaders of the Fascist movements firmly under his control ( Farinacci, Scarza and Balbo)
  • Mussolini didn't have enough time to bring the institutions of the state under fascist domination.
  • This not give the fascist enough time to fully develop a full-blooded ideology.
  • Fascist party's lack of a strong parliamentary position meant that they were obliged to rely on other party's.
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Mussolini reign of terror.

  • Mussolini used militancy groups as a 'police/ military' purpose and authority. most well know group were the black shirt.
  • Like Matteoti, socialists opposed Mussolini
  • Those who were opposed to Mussolini were severly punished to the point of fleeing Italy or Death.
  • Despite terrifying threats from black shirts to dissidents they rarely used the murderous tactics that the SS and Gestapo used on a frequent basis to repress dissidents.
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