Unificaion of Italy- Edexcel


Political System

Constitutional Monarchy- King was head of state, commander of armed forces, dealt with treaties and trade

Era of Stability- Victor Emmanuell II 1900-1945

  • Liberal politicians= social elites- middle class professioals
  • Vote extended to 2m men only
  • Parliament chosen by wealthy educated- not masses
  • Trasformismo (linked to Giovanni Giolitti)- Political manoevuring - Kept same politicians in power- didn't addres social & eco problems
  • Elite did not reflect what the people wanted

1900- Italin Socialists Party (PSI)- 1913 winning over 20% vote- change=  Reform V Revoloution

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Italia Irridenta: Nationalists demanded, Nice, Savoy, teratories in South Tyrol, Istria and Dalmatia (all in Austrian possession)

  • Nationalists- wanted Empire to rival Britian France
  • Liberals: Colonies to distract from internal issues

Abyssinia-FAIL humiliating defeat battle of Adowa(1896)- prestige- italians blamed Gov

1911 Giolitti- SUCCESSarmy to attack Libya- Success defeated Turkish forces (October 1912)


  • control over Papal States- Italy created = Land taken away
  • Threat of socialism- Pope ordered Bishops- advise Catholics to vote against socialism
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Political Challanges:

Political Challenges

Development of industry in the North (1880's & 1890's) Founding of Trade unions- Demandes: Higher wages, organised strikes- as depression hit (1898)

  • Bava Beccaris Massacre- 200 killed (Milan 1898)
  • King Umberto assasinated (1900)
  • General railway strike (1902)
  • General Strike (1904)
  • Red Week- Riots & Demonstrations (June 1914)

(Remember: Burger King; BGR/KG - 1889, 1902, J1914, 1900, 1904)

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Tripple Alliance

Tripple Alliance

Italy formws Triple Alliance with Germany & Austria Hungary (traditional enemy): 

  • guarantee security -(BUT limited threat from France)
  • complicated nationalist ambitions to gain Italia Irridenta

BUT: Italy refused to act on terms of alliance at outbreak of war

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Political Reform

Giolitti wanted reform to tackle Soicalism:

  • Laws to control female (11 hours a day) and child labour (under 12)
  • Social insurance & pension schemes
  • Extension of Franchise to all adult males 30+
  • Taxes on food reduced
  • Increased public spending on public works by 50%

But- All brought in via trasformismo - extension of franchise to ensure continues support for Libyan war

  • Increase to 8m voters
  • 1913 elections- voters supported Socialitst or Catholics
  • Lower classes- shokeepers, civil servants wories about growth of Socialism- look for alternative
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Economic Problems- N/S divide

North South Divide

North- Significant changes between1896-1914

  • expansion in  profitable crops: grapes olives rice etc & dairy farming
  • More efficient farming: Technology-Tuscany (mechanisation, fertilisers, irrigation)
  • Schemed for land reclamation & drainage -Po Valley= commercial farming - hired landless peasants: poor living conditions & low wages
  • Land holdings divided amongst large number of peasants - owner sold produce for profit- Peasants-share of crop( Land owners maximise profits squeeze peasants share)
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N/S divide

South- Little change before the war

  • Dry, hostile climate- poor soil & Barren hill sides
  • Considered backwards - poverty, low income, land controlled by few landowners (lived off rent- pesant tennants)
  • High unemployment -pesants seasonal labour jobs or emigrating
  • Gov schemes transport and industrial subsadies had little impact
  • Malaria- pre 1900-15,000 people died every year (advances in medicine- low lying and unhabtable countryside-Basilicata- now farmed)


  • 1914 industry still infant comared to European industrial nations 
  •  Italy lacked Key resources: Iron Coal (coal= 12% imports 1914)
  • annual production=11.5m ton steel = less than 1m ton
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Social Problems

Industrialisation=expanding towns and cities

  •  population in Milan doubled 1871 an 1911
  • Cities not equipped- poor workers=overcrowded & unsanitary conditions. Taxes fell on poor -contributed to rise of Socialism
  • Education- illiterate fell from 42% 1871- 11%in 1911 - South Fall from 88%-65% -Illiteracy Major problem in parts of South
  • Little to reform agriculture, backwardness, power of landowners & Mafia
  • Peasants remain- poverty stricken, unskilled, illiterate= difficult to employ
  • Italians chose to emigrate- 1914 6m/41m Italians  lived and worked abroad
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Why did Italy enter World War One?

Prime Minister Salandra-Italy enter war to obtain teritory

If Tripple Alliance Won=Italy little oppertunity to reclaim teritoys from Austria V If Entente powers won -not be very sympathetic to Italian Ambitions=

Treaty of London (April 1915)-Signed in Secret

Britain and France promised:

  •  Dalmatia, Istria,
  •  South Tyrol,
  • Trieste,
  •  Trentino,
  •  Colonies

- May 1915= enter war on side of Britain & France

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5 million men served in Army- Majority conscripts from rural areas (industrial working class= armaments)

Appalling conditions, Meagre rations, Low pay, Harsh Discipline, high desertion rates= Low Morale

Caporetto (October 1917)- MAJOR DEFEAT

  • Surprise Austro-German Attack:
  • 700,00 retreaing over 100 mile (70 miles into Italy)=
  • 300/000 wounded, 300,000 taken prisoner
  • Gov promise major reforms after

Vittorio Vento (Octobr 1918)-Victory

Austro-Hungarian empire on verge of defeat- Italy wins smaller battle- 500,000 Austrian prisoners of War captured- Victory remembered by Italian people

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Eco Problems after the War

National Debt- Borrowed large amounts from Britain US - increased 16bn lira 1914- 85bn 1919

Inflation- Increased X4- affected cost of living, purchasing power of wages & savings

Industry- Munitions industry done well in war, now no need profits fall dramatically

Trade Unions & Strikes- Discipline strict- No strikes in war- Long hours & fall in value of wages = wave of strikes 1919 1million + workers went on strikes, membership of unions increased to two million in 1929

Agriculture- Conscription soaked up unemployment & inflation (wiped out peasant debts)- peasants Demand Land- soldiers promised land at end of war

Unemployment- 5 million soldiers returning form war forced out of army= no work (unemployment passed 2 million 1919)

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Mutilated Victory

Mutilated Victory

Prime Minister Orlando: promised - obtain terirories & colonies promised in Paris Peace Conference 1919

What italy Wanted- Promised treaty London- Gained Treaty St Germain

  • Sout Tyrol     Yes                                 Yes
  • Trentino        Yes                                 Yes
  • Istria              Yes                                 Yes
  • Dalmatia        Yes                                 No-
  • Colonies        Yes                                 No
  • Fiume             No                                 No

Limited reward- for 600,000 dead,massive debts, huge increae in the cost of living- Lib Gov Blamed

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Fiume= port on the Adriatic sea - part of Austro hungarian empire- Nationalists demanded government demanded claim Fiume-FAIL

September 1919- D'Annunzio-  SUCCESS:

  • 300 ex-soldiers siezed control over Fiume
  • 15 months
  • Liberal Gov failed to do anythin
  •  message use force to achieve political aims- image of weakness)

D'Annunzio- highly critical of gov- inspired Mussolini:

  • Speeches
  • Rhythmic chants( Eja Eja)
  • Followers were blackshirts & skull and cross bones
  • Used castor oil to humiliate opponent
  • Roman Salute
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Political Problems after the War

Divided Liberals-Giolitti against intervention

  • Unpopular Liberals
  • Gov critisised by Nationalists
  • in favour of war angered at lack of success
  • Gov tried to Implaiament reform (bread subsadies 8 hour days)
  • failed to solve real problems
  • Fiume= Gov had betrayed Italy failing to support D'Annunzio

Political changes:

  • Liberals tried to maintain trasformismo& coalition gov
  •  when Libs formed alliance with one party loss support of other
  • Result: shot-lived, weak coalition- continued till Mussolini took control (October 1922)
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Proportional Rep

Proportional Rep:

  • 54 consituencies
  • 508 deputies could be elected= Encouraged divided political party system
  • Introduced to reward soldiers = undermine Giolittis political system PPI & PSI deputies unlikley to participate in trasformism

Univerasl Male Suffarage- All adult Males right to Vote= reflect what Italy wanted

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Political Problems after the War

Liberals fragile- no measures to cope with Eco & political problems after war- couldn't govern with parliamentary opposition= loss support and political instability

Liberals failed to give power to police and army- prevent collapse of law and order.

  • October 1922-
  • Libs lost control events and politics being conducted on streets with violence.
  • liberals fearful of threat of socialism- believed only Fascism could crush socialism

Italian people unsatisfied with Liberals- Italy descended into chaos- Lawlessness widespread- Fascism offered Italians a firm gov in an era of instability

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Formation of Fascist Movement

Mussolini- regime that would provide dynamic ladership

23 March 1919- Milan-

  • Fascil di Combattimento ( Combat groups) first meeting of new movment
  •  100 people 'Fascists of the first hour'
  •  designed to appeal to patriotic Italians- Commited to violence as political wepon

June 1919- First programme= Left Wing- Republic (abolish monarchy), Church (confiscate Church land and property)

Election FAILURE (Nov 1919)-

  • Early movement not dicaplined
  • in election Mussolini failed to become deputy
  • (5,000/270,000 votes in Milan)-=Failed to win a seat in parliament
  • Post War- Mussolini exploited Liberals failings
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Revival of the Fascist Movement

Revival spontantious =(1920-21)- Po Valley, Ferraran Tuscany, Cremona & Bologna

RAS- Rutheless leadership -built independant empiires to overthrow Gov- used intimidation and violence to destroy Socialism- established their own control:

  • Italo Balbo
  • Roberto Farinacci
  • Dino Grandi

Fascist Squads: made up from former soldiers (felt not rewarded from Gov) - & middle class students (exiting contrast to old Liberal men in charge)

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Support for Fascism


  • Landowners middle classes-
  • prepared to pay & equip Fascist squads to defeat Socialists unions (Federterra) 
  •  Industrialists (Fiat & Pirelli funded fascist squads)-
  • Middle classes= petty bourgeoisie
  • (lowerclasses including teachers)- All thought they would do well under Fascist Rule

Fascist Backlash- November 1920 use of Fascist violence= formation of Soicalist Council in Bologne turned into riot

Violence continued through winter and srpring 1921- Destroying 80 trade union offices - 200 dead 800 wounded

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Role of Mussolini


  • Charismatic speaker skilled propaganda(ist)
  • lack of ideological commitment (change views to suite audience)
  •  persue 'dual policy'- intimidation & violence masked of respectibility (including illigal tactics)
  • owned II Popolo d'Italia (important propaanda tool)
  • Prepared to use violence to put pressure on Liberals & King- March on Rome

Relised if come to power had to become a right-wing movement- secure support from elites, conservatives & middle classes.- made out elite had much to gain- strong expansionist Italy- hated democracy and parliament

Electoral Pact (May 1921)- Mussolini entered parliament- SUCCESS

Liberals fail to gain majority=electoral pact with Mussolini-Mussolini MP's support Giolitti when elected in Parliament- Fascists 35 seats- 'air of respectability'

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PNF (National Fascist party)

November 1921- Mussolini & Ras unite to form PNF

Dual policy- 1921-22

  • Newspapers publicise Fascist activitys
  • Present Fascism as National Movement- vision of New Italy
  • Fascism was anti-Scoailist crusade

Fascism noq the "defender of property and law and order": Offered: Stable Government:

  • Strong Leadership
  • Enforce Law and Order
  • Scoail Reform
  • Improvement in Social and Eco condisitons
  • End to Class division
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March on Rome October (1922)

March on Rome- October (1922)

  • Mussolini wanted to be elected Prime Minister legaly- But under pressurefrom the Ras to sieze power
  • Believed the psycological threat of a March on Rome engough to make Liberal agree to becoming prime Minister
  • King under pressure an feared ciil war- indicisive and lacked confidence (feared bieng replaced by his cousin- Duke of Aosta)- pressure MoR= Mussolini appointed Prime Minister 30th Oct 1922
  • Needed to form a coalition Gov- King would not let him remove parlliament- not got compleate control or Ras- Had to keep Ras and Elite sweet but sepearte
  • First Movement- 4/14 senior ministers Fascist
  • Mussolini- Prime Minister & Minister of Interior & Minister of Foreign Affairs
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Steps to dictatorship

Convinced MP's violence of socialism so serious he needed emergency powers (reality socialist threat non existent) -

1- Rule By Decree got- parliament to grant him rule by decree for 12 months= Laws without parliament- MP's Massive vote of confidence

2 Control Fascist Party- looked to consolidate his position:

(1). Grand Council of Fascism (Dcember 1922)-right to make ll appointments to the Grand Council

( 2.) National Militia (January 1923)- Reduced influence of Ras, turinign Fascist Squads into national Militia e.e (private army 30,000men)

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Electoral Reform

Proposed to change electoral stsyem - make Fascists largest party

1. Acerbo Law (July 1923)

polled 25&vote + = 2/3 seats, be able to control and no-one be able to vote them out of power:

  •  Fascist squads- smash hostile newspapers &rival parties
  • Mussolini= Minister of Interior- instruct police to stand aside
  • Fascists- important positions ing Gov

2.Acerbo Election (April 1924):

Acerbo law in pratice- April 24- Fascists secured 374/535 seats- Corrupt, black shirt violence, intimidation, vote rigging. (BUT:Socialists & Communists 2.5 million votes)

Mussilinis opposition: Opposition parties, king could sack prime minister, army

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The Matteottti Crisis

  • Before General election MP's trie to publicise Fascist violence.
  • Socialist Spokesman: Giacomo Matteotti- produced evidence of fascist terror & vote rigging
  • 10 June 1924- Matteotti abducted and stabbed to death
  • Evidence of Mussolinis involvment= tension & criticism- opposition urged King to sack Mussolini
  • Reaction: Mussolini made consessions to secure position- resigned ost as Interior Minister- made national militia swear oathe of loyalty to King.
  • King throughout 1923 not go against Mussolini fear spark civil war.
  • July 1924- Mussolin introduced press censorship- August banned meetins by opposition parties
  • Ras unhappy- demamd Mussolii secure power
  • 3 January 1925- sealled his move to dictatorship - gave himself much greater power
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Censorship-From 1925-

  • Journalists registered with Fascist Authorities
  • Anti-Fascist newspapers shut down (anti-F writing seen as treason)
  • Newspaper editors personally liable
  • Intense campaign of intimidation & violence against press
  • By 1930- Fascists controlled 2/3 newspapers- daily instructions of what to write

Leggi Fascistissime:

  • During 1925- Laws ban opposition parties & trade unions
  • 1926- All local elections abolished
  • Elected Mayores replaced by Fascist officials
  • Opposition deputies expelled from Parliament
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Terror (2)

Special Courts-

  • Try political crimes
  • No trial or Jury
  • 5,000 political opponents imprisoned up to1943 10,000 kept in'confino'(exiled island around Italy)
  • 400 people executed
  • Death Penalty for treason- Nov 1925

Fascist Squads

  • 50,000 armed militia intimidate opponents- beat victims- destroy property-(est 2,000 killed by 1926)
  • Violence reduced after 1925- threat enough
  • Became legitimate force'- national militia helping police

(1926- reporting to King not Parliament- authorised 'rule by decree'

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Terror (3)- OVRA

OVRA=December 1926 "Law for the defence of the state"-established secret police:

  • Power to arrest & hold suspects without trial
  • Carry out searches
  • tap telephones
  • intercept mail
  • Acts of violence against political opponents
  • 700- full time agents-reliant on network of informers

Decree of Public Security (1926)-control & surveillance anyone based on rumour

OVRA: attacked Freemasons, Mafia

Once Mussolini has established power Fascist terror unnecessary

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 Mussolini's domestic and foreign policies hailed triumph

  • Cinema- 25 Fascist propaganda news reels
  • Newspapers: Reporting on crime- forbidden - Gov grants so bias newspapers
  • Radio-Praised Mussolini broadcast his speeches in full- 1930- every village=communal radio limited in south and countryside- radios given to schools
  • Posters: simple slogans images praising Mussolini (everywhere)
  • Rallies- Mass parades organised- impress italians, sense of belonging
  • Sport- participation encouraged & spectating (successful teams = boost national pride)
  • Ancient Rome: used to justify & inspire Fascist policy "propaganda a substitute for action"
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Cult of Personality

Cult of 'ilDuce'- intended t build support- Superhuman saviour- destiny to reform Italy to former greatness

  • Supposed work 20 hours a day on Gov business- Left office light on to give this impression
  • Duce infalible- Alway right "Mussolini is god!"-poster slogans
  • Family man, Horse riding, planting trees, athletic, often stripped at the waist, sking, diving, cars at high speed, airplanes, pictures of him wearing glassed banned- age NEVER mentioned
  • Inctulectual writer, poet, cultured man- read all European classics-photos of him playing the violin

Impact of Duce:

Questionable- how many people bought into it- quantitiy made it difficult to ignore: Italians just accepted- he started to believe his own propaganda

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Securing control- Economic policy

Eco policy (1922-25)

  • Inherited eco problems:
  • Large budget deficit
  • 500,000 unemployed
  • Limited raw materials
  • Traditiona N/S divide

Mussolini came to power  when italin industry beginign to boom- Claimed responsability for exports doubling (textiles cars agricultural- doubled 1922-5)

  • Appointed tresury minister: Alberto Stefani:
  • `Limited Gov speding
  • Reduced state intervention
  • Reduced taxes on companies
  • Banned socialis and Cathoilic trade uions-  industrialists budges surplus unemployment fell to 122,000
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Battle for Lira (Quota 90)

1926- Boom coming to an end: exchange rate for Lira falling= Stefani sacked

By 1926: 150lire to pound- 1927 Mussolini re-evaluated it to 90 Lira to the pound= Short term increased Mussolinis prestige- Long term: damages Italian economy:

  • Italian exports more expensive
  • Low exchange rate deterred tourists
  • worsening the balence of re-payments

Economic Depression -1929 Wall Street crash:

  • Large umbers of companies colapsted
  • car production down 50%
  • Un-employment risen 2 million1933
  • Introduced public work schemes- paid by tax: motorways, powerplants electric railways(cycle got people back to work thus increase in emand- money to spend)
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Mid 30's- War in Europe or Africa inevitable must prepare- aim establish Fascist prestige abroad

  • promote industry
  • Economy to become self sufficiant

Result of Eco sanctiond League of Nations- after Italys in vaison of Abyssinia 1935;

  • Engourages: Steel shipbuiliding- government contracts
  • Major companies allowed to merge- Fiat=Car Pirelli= rubber


  • Eco not self sufficiant by war 1940; (problem unsolved)
  • Production Slow: Coal, Oil, Iron ore
  • Government spending on armaments expensive=deeper debt= Massive cuts military spending & tax increases
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Eco- Corporate State

1920's- Mussolini first proclaimed 'corperate state' (new way of organising/running economy)


  • Corperations for each sector of industry- agriculture/comerce
  • Each corporation- Employers & Fascist trade unions
  • Employer/Trade union disagree=court of labour (Ministary of Corporations)- dispute resolved


  •  Maximise profit- good of nation
  • Avoid disputes/strikes as Britain & France
  • Allow Business & industrial elite-run industry make profits
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Corporate State- Reality


  • Employers- too much power over workers (strikes banned)
  • Employers-no provide annual paid holidays- alter pay& working conditions little consultation
  • Leader of trade unions- Chosen by Fascist Party- Sided with employers
  • Conflicts not solved=Suppressed
  • Industrial elite= support Mussolini
  • Mass bureaucracy- corrupt officials trivial regulations
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Battle for Grain (1925)-Propaganda!!

Mussolini-focus on projects which = power & prestige (industrial) not agricultural

Battle for Grain 1925

  • Began in 1925- promote Fascist Power & National self sufficiency
  • Traditionally needed to import grain to feed people
  • gov grants- enable Farmers buy tractors, fertilisers machinery for wheat production- Farmers guaranteed high prices for grain


  • average harvest increased 5.5m ton p/y (early 20's)- 7m tonn (1930's)
  • Grain imports declined- 75% drop (1925-35)
  • Appeared success-Mussolini credit- press photographs
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Battle for grain -Failure


  • land in central/southern area unsuitable for such crop- handed over for wheat
  • Could not be sustained- (max 2 yr) yield declined years later
  • Citrus fruits grapes olives- dropped= decline in agricultural exports
  • Tariffs on foreign cereals subsidies agricultural production
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Battle for Land (1928)- Propaganda

Land reclamation schemes- Pontine Marshes (50km Rome)- Propaganda show piece


  • Malarial swamps- drained
  • Netwrok of small farms set up- owned ex-service men
  • Public health improved
  • Provided thousands of Jobs during depression
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Battle for Land- Failure

Battle for Land-1928

  • Land reclaimed- limited- much land lost 1943-35- neglect
  • Ag Workers- wage cuts than indus in 1930's= emigration
  • Emigration- 200,000 p/y Italians/southerners- to USA-  USA stop imigration from 1920= left countryside for towns- cant cope- increase slums Turin && Milan
  • Population of Rome doubled
  • Mussolini tried to prevent further migration

(Fascist policys- help large landowners rather than landless pesants- pesants need land-families

Law 1922- Parliament- distribute large stated to pesants- Mussolini dropped this- fear of offending landowners- (political supoporters)=n increase in backwardness:

  • Richest land owners= 40%+ of land
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Limits to control Elites


  • Alliance of intrests- Failed to remove M over Mattiotti crisis- need support to retain throne
  • Mussolini not remove King- fear of offending elites
  • 1930-King= little responsibility
  • (King=removed Mussolini-July 1943)

Gov & Judiciary: - Replaced opponents- baristers & Solicitors opposed to Fascism


  • Expanded Armed forces
  • Adopted roman salute
  • Fascist badge on uniform
  • Tension between army & Fascist Militia
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Control-Catholic Church/ Lateran Agreements

Mussolin could not control Italy with Catholic oppisition- agreements over 'Roman  Question' = increased public support:

  • Rstored Catholic Educaion in stateschools
  • ncreasing gov payments to priests - secured confidnece of Pope(had previously with drew support PPI-1923)
  • Nuteralised support of Church
  • (BUT: Fascism didnt neciserrily have support of Vatican)

Lateran Agreements (1929) - ended conflict between church & State

Laterain Accords: Pope recognised Kingdom of Italy and posession of  Rome & Old-Papal States V State recogise Popes control over Vatican City & Part of rome:

Pope recieved compo 750m lira cash & 1bn Lira bonds-surrender claim to Rome

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  • Priests could not belong to political parites
  • No divorce without concent of Church
  • Catholic education compulsory in state schools
  • State pay salaries of Clergy
  • Catholic youth section independant
  • Pope appoint bishops - gov could veto


  • Couldnt remove Catholic influece
  • Increase popularity of the regime with catholics
  • Increased Mussolinis standing as  international statesman

Tension 1931- clash, state tried to suppress Schurch sponsored club "Catholic Action"- Rival fascist youth group, 1938 Pope Pius IX regretted relatioship

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Women- Battle of Births= Propaganda!!!!!

Battle Of Births (1927)- aim= increase poulation 40m -60 by 1950- contraception banned Youth= Soldiers for armies & clonies -easily influenced: 12 children p/family


  • Marriage loans- reduced per child
  • Man with 6+  children exempt from taxes
  • Healthcare % Welfate benefis
  • 1929- Maternity leave
  • Prized-most pprolific mothers


  • Singles- heavily taxed
  • Childless= no jobs & promotions in Gov
  • Railways sacked all women appointed since 1915 - exeption war widows
  • From 1933- only 10% workforce could be women in public sector (1938- extended to all companies)
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battle For Births- Result

Battle of Births = Fail

  • marriage remained unchanged
  • birthrate declined until 1936 (increased slightly after)
  • Population up- 44m (result of emigration control to US & fall in death rate)
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Youth Control Schools-

  • 'get em whilst their young'
  • 1925- teachers political view= dismissed
  • 1929- teachers- swear oath of loyalty to regime
  • 1931- Fascist Teachers Association- membership compulsory by 1937 -( compulsory black shirt)
  • Curriculum text book replaced- Fascist ideals = Italy forefront of history- Lies!!!:
  • Teachers- stress Mussolini's genius
  • Portrait in every class room

(patriotism, manliness, obedience & fascist Values)

  • School expenditure doubled
  • school leaving age raised- 1m children in p/s
  • illiteracy fell
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Youth Movement- ONB

Opera Nazi Bililla (ONB)- 1926:

1930's membership compulsory-7m joined


  • Military training & fascist ideology
  • Camping
  • Sport
  • Fitness training


  • Sewing
  • Singing
  • Child Care

Mussolini overthrown= ONB colapsed

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Adult Social Life

Dopolavoro- 1925- provide bias activitys Mid 1930- controlled: - NOT COMPULSORY

  • All football clubs
  • 1,350 theatres
  • 2,000 drama societys
  • 3,000 brass bands
  • 6,000 libiarys

(every village/town= min 1 dopolovoro clubhouse) - 1939 4m members

Pros; Popular- free only lip service= Fascist ideas -physical & military training, focus= good time

Cons: attempt to distract from Social/Eco problems

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Foreign Policy-

Mussolini's aims:

  • Achieve great power status
  • Italian prestige -'lame duck' after WW1
  • Italian dominance- Mediterranean, Adriatic, Balkans
  • Build Italian empire over seas
  • Leadership & Achievements (personal)
  • Aggressive & Adventurous foreign policy- divert attention from Eco and failing domestic policy

Britain:= Gibraltar, Suez Canal, Malta, Cyprus = Naval Power

France = Corsica, Tunisia, Algeria & Morocco = Naval power - Both challenge Italy expansion

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Corfu August 1923

Corfu Aug 1923

  • Ongoing border issue- Albania & Greece
  • Italian General & 4 other Italians murdered
  • Mussoini Blamed Greece- apology & compo= 50m lira
  • Greece- LoN sort out- Mussolini= Italian fleet to Corfu- Shelling Island
  • Critisim: Mussolii- 'gunboad diplomacy'
  • Victory: B & F- ordered Greece to pay - Success 'Dynamic Fascism'
  • Mussolini-Popularity Up - need to maintain good relations with Britain & France

Fiume( Feb 1924):

  • Agreement reached with Yogoslavia -Fiume  handed to Italy in Pact of Rome
  • Popular - prestige
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Abyssinia October 1935

Abyssinia (Ethopia) October 1935:

  • Not colonised by European powers
  • Lacked means to fight back- easy to invade


  • Imperal Status
  • revenge humiliation of Adowa (1896)
  • Consolidate Italian position- East Africa
  • Destiny of Roman Empire
  • Teritory for Italians to Emigrate
  • exploit resourece- Oil & markets for Italian Goods
  • Divert attention eco problems
  • Continued support for Mussolini
  • Fascism-Force to rekoned with

Thought: B & F more concrned with Nazi Germany- Sympathetic to Italins Adventures= minimal risk

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Abyssinia- Outcome


  • Height of his popularity
  • War won quickly
  • 1,000 casualties & Italian East Africa created

Marked a turning point':

  • Budget Deficit increased by 660%
  • Abyssinia's fought Guerilla Warfare- Italy maintained army - 250,000 men
  • Abyssinia- not rich in resources- no oil
  • 1939 only 2% Italian trade with Abyssinia
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Locarno/Kellog-Briand Pact

Lacarno Treaties (October 1925):Mussolini- 'Honest Statesmanship' - confirming German Western Boarders - Era stability


  • Propaganda Exercise - speed boat late- press-
  • Only there for few mins to sign and leave
  • 100+ jounalists boycotted aperance- protest- Fascist burtality

Kellogg-briand Pact (Aug 1928)

  • Britain France USA- War not used as diplomatic Wepon
  • BUT: Mussolini-  'absurd proposal' - not meaningfull
  • Propaganda -highlight his role - international statesman
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Spanish Civil War 1936-1939

Spanish Civil War-July 1936-Wanted to establish Fascist style Gov in Spain

Mussolini sent(Spain):

  • 75,000 men
  • 950 tanks
  • 700 aircraft

Impact: -costly= unprepared for war 1940

  • 14bn Lira
  • Drain on weapons/materials/resources (1/3 military strength)
  • Troops withdrawn-1939
  • 4,000 killed - 12,000 wounded
  • Britain & France remained neutral
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Relations With Germany

Austria (July 1934)

  • Wary of Hitlers intenions- Austria (M regarded Italian Sphere of Influence)
  • July 1934- Austrian Nazis attempt seize power- assasinating Austrian Prime Minister: Dolfuss
  • Mussolini=4 divisions to boarder (40,000 men):
  • Determined demonstrate guardian of Austrian independance

Rome-Berlin Axis (November 1936)

  • After Abyssinia- Mussilini increasingly associated with Nazi Germany
  • Italy- Foreign minister= Count Ciano - Signed Rome- Berlin Axis= Mutual support for each other
  • Extended to Anti-Comintern Pact (November 1937)
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Anschluss (March 1938)

Anschluss March 1938

  • Mussolini didnt intervne- Germany united with Austria- March 1938
  • Still angry with Britain & France- Abyssinia -didint want to jepordise relationshipItalians= unhappy- Germany Neigbour= Mussolini popularity slumped
  • Mussolini didnt intervene = German occupation of Prague- March 1939 - Fear & Admiration

Pact of Steel (May 1939)

  • Italy= commit all armed forces if Germany became involved in War
  • Hitler not want war for another 3 years
  • Mussolini- knew of plans invade Poland
  • Italy not in position to fight
  • War could be unpopular
  • Would not be involved for Italian interests






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War (1940-1943)

Decision to fight with Germany (June 1940)

  • Outbreak of War= Sept 1939
  • Mussolini declared Italy= 'Non-Beligerant' - Italians= happy
  • 1940- Fall: Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg & France= got to join war (or =)  Europe dominated by Germany
  • War= Chance: military glory
  • Neutrality= Mussolini pathetic

Conduct of War (1940-1943)

  • Hope to achieve cheap- significant territorial gains
  • Military campaign= Disastrous failure
  • Thought war over in 6 months
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War & Economy

Lacked essential war Materials= Oil, steel & explosives= dependent on German coal

Problems- large scale armaments production:

  • Fall in imports- coal
  • Shortages of oil
  • Bombing- industries & homes= low morale
  • Agricultural production= fall- lack of machinery & people (conscription)= Food Shortages = Rationing (150g bread p/d)
  • Shortages: Clothes, shoes, coffee, petrol, soap
  • Increase taxes
  • Increase Strikes- long hours
  • Wide spread anti-Fascist Graffiti- increase demands -end war
  • Soldiers Stories= lack of preparation, shortages materials & clothing & tanks, poor leadership
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War & Military

  • Under strenght divisions
  • Dated weponry
  • Inadiquatly armed tanks
  • Navy lacked= Aircraft &fuel

Result= FAIL

  • Greece (October 1940)= Disaster
  • Battle of Taranto (November 1940)- loss 5 warships
  • Britain defeats Italian forces=1941- North Africa
  • 400,000prisoners= LOSS OF ALL ITALIAN COLONIES
  • Italian tropps sent to fght Russia
  • Declare War USA December 1941
  • War turn against Germany = El Alamein (Nov 1942) & Stalingrad (Feb 1943)
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Outcome July 1943

Outcome July 1943

  • Fascist regime crumbles - Eco & social chaos
  • Mussolini lost support of elite & leading Fascists
  • July 1943- US invade Sicily & Rome bombed
  • Fascist Grand Council- vote to end Mussolini's rule
  • Dismissed by King July 1943
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