Why set up the Fascist movement?
- Intended to be a movement, no clear ideology.
- Mix of Socialist and Nationalist ideas, cemented by concept of the Duce.
- Prime aim was to gain power - beliefs were less important than their desire to restore Italy to greatness.
How did the message develop? What did it offer by 1922?:
- Dropped radical ideas - more acceptable face of fascism.
- A movement and a party pledged to restore Italian power and prestige
- To develop the economy by increasing productivity
- To re-establish strong leadership and law and order.
- Mussolini claimed that Italy has enough of politics and programmes and wanted action instead (which they were to bring).
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Who supported Fascism?
What groups and why?:
- Young-lower-middle class recruits from university, civil service and 'respectable' bourgeois families soon joined the party
- Key group = petty bourgeois - contained working and middle class who felt a collective sense of insecurity. Prone to turn to radical groups.
- Many were ex-soliders, felt humiliated after the victory as they were not given their 'due' by the government.
- Support also came from the rural lower-middle class. Allowing fascism gain a rural base. Many smaller peasant farmers and large landowners welcomed groups who would fight against the Socialist power.
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What was the Role of Violence?
Who carried it out and against whom?
- Developed a sadistic policy of humiliating their political enemies.
- Fascist members and leaders carried these acts out.
- Main enemies were the Socialists, so many of their victims belonged to the political party.
What form did the violence take?
- The Fascists forced their victims to drink castor oil - in order to purge them of their sins.
- Sometimes they were beaten up or the oil would be made into a 'cocktail' containing petrol, benzene or iodine. (Illness and Death could follow)
Why was it succssful?
- Elites and agents of government co-operated with the fascists to avoid similar treatment.
- Authorities preferred to tolerate and collaborate than oppose Fascism.
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What did Mussolini contribute to the Fascist movem
- He lead them into power in 1922
- Not favourable in parliament due to his weak parliamentary base
- Used the threat of the Ras to reinforce his claims
- Tension within the Fascist movement and the governing groups was the way he used to gain his vital background.
- This meant that he lead the policies and claims and kept the movement together.
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How strong was Fascism by 1922?
- Half a million party members - quarter of a million Blackshirts
- Virtually controlled several regions
- Offerred to give firm leadership, end class conflict and gain national greatness - what people wanted.
- Violence smashed Socialism, attracting support from the elite and others - much of the population wanted this done.
- Other opponents were unable to co-operate against the growing threat
- Weakening power of Socialism meant less need for Fascism to overcome Socialist Revolution.
- Responsible for the disorder through use of violence
- Divided on how to achieve power - Ras wanted to seize it.
- Mussolini had a weak base in Parliament.
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