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    How did Mussolini Rise to Power as the Dictator of Italy

    How did Mussolini Rise to Power as the Dictator of Italy

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    Benito Mussolini

    In 1922, Benito Mussolini () came to power as the prime minister of Italy and the National Fascist Party leader. At first, he ruled democratically and constitutionally, but in 1925, he turned Italy into a one-party, totalitarian state and ruled as Italy's dictator. He forcefully governed Italy until 1943, when the Allied invasion of the country led to his downfall and execution.

    His rise to power was remarkable. He went from being a journalist and a minor political figure to becoming prime minister of Italy within five years. The fear of a communist revolution abetted his remarkable rise and allowed Mussolini and his fascist party to seize power, with little opposition.

    Who was Mussolini?

    Before 1914, Mussolini was a committed socialist. [1] However, when the socialists adopted a neutrality policy in World War One, Mussolini opposed it and was later expelled from the party.[2]

    Mussolini was a well-known journalist and had strongly advocated for Italy’s entrance into the war in his newspaper in 1914. Mussolini was an Italian Nationalist, and he wanted to unify his country. He regularly employed nationalist rhetoric that portrayed Italy as a great power to eliminate regional loyalties that had kept the country divided despite the country's official unification in 1871.

    When Italy entered the war on the Allies in 1915, Mussolini volunteered and served with distinction on the front. He was severely injured in 1917 and was forced to leave the army.[3] Mussolini, like Hitler, Mussolini was deeply influenced by the war, and he came to believe that war was essential for a nation, as it would allow it and its people to achieve greatness. Later on, as Italy's leader, he would seize every opportunity to become involved in war and conflict. The war also confirmed Mussolini's belief that action mattered more than debate and reason, which was central to his fascist ideology. In turn, this led to the glorification of violence.[4]

    After the war, Mussolini founded the Italian Fascist Party. The ideology of the party was a fusion of socialism and nationalism. The Party called for a strong nation led by an elite to guide Italy and solve its interminable social and economic problems.[5] Mussolini’s new party was attractive to many, especially ex-soldiers. The party soon had genuine mass appeal, and much of this was based on Mussolini's calls that all Italians unite and overcome their class differences.[6] As the war ended, many war veterans joined the new Fascist Party and believed that it offered Italy's best hope.

    Many of these men were unemployed after the war, and they felt that their sacrifices during the war had been in vain. Mussolini cleverly formed these veterans' squadrons and employed them against all those he declared to be the enemies of Italy. These former soldiers' squads became known as ‘Blackshirts,’ and they proved to be a formidable paramilitary force.[7]

    How did World War I change Italy?

    Italy’s military performed dismally during the war and had sustained extremely high casualties, and there had also been mass desertions. Many people, and especially soldiers, were disenchanted with the political class’s handling of the war. They were widely seen as corrupt and ineffective, and many held them personally responsible for the country's failings during the war. The Italian political system, though technically a democracy, was dominated by the traditional landowning and business elite. [8]

    The Italians had entered into the First World War on the Allies' side, and they had been promised new territories and colonies. Many Italians had supported the country’s entry into the war in the belief that Italy would finally be elevated to a major European power by acquiring colonies. After the Treaty of Versailles, the Italians, though technically on the winning side, were not accorded equal status as the other major allied states such as France and the United Kingdom.[9] Furthermore, the country did not receive the territories or the new colonies that many Italians had been promised. It soon appears that the country's sacrifices during the war were all in vain and pointless.[10]

    The Italian middle class, which was very nationalistic, was especially disappointed. Many grew disenchanted with the country's democratic government model. They came to believe that it could never truly unite the nation and establish it as a world power like France or Britain.

    Like many Germans, Italians believed that the old political elite had betrayed the nation. The general population, primarily the Italian middle-class, became increasingly disenchanted with the nation’s political class and system. [11] Mussolini never lost an opportunity to denounce the political class, which increased his popularity.

    The end of the war also led to a significant economic crisis in Italy. Unemployment was widespread, as was hunger, especially among the urban poor and in the South of Italy. This made the Italian political class and even the King, Victor Emanuelle III, extremely unpopular. By 1920, the old political parties were deeply unpopular, and there was a widespread sense in Italian society that change or some revolution was needed to save the country.[12] The postwar economic and political circumstances in Italy created a great deal of unrest and disillusionment. Mussolini was fully prepared to exploit the opportunities.

    Source : dailyhistory.org

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    In which an individual hols absolute power

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    Government in which all citizens participate equally or through elected representation

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    Terms in this set (29)


    In which an individual hols absolute power


    Government in which all citizens participate equally or through elected representation

    Constitutional monarchy

    Government in which a monarchs powers are fall within the boundaries of the constitution

    What was Stalins role in the Russian Revolution?

    Communist Revolutionist

    Who did Stalin compete with for power after the death of Lenin?


    After gaining power what actions did stalk take to secure it?

    Exiled and killed anyone

    What reforms did Stalin attempt to improve the Soviet Union? What were the results?

    Goo logs, propaganda, taking away religion

    Stalin was a cult of personality In the Soviet Union. Give examples that support this statement


    What circumstances enabled Mussolini to gain power in Italy?

    Seiced provinces across Italy and marched on Rome

    What was the nickname for the fascists under Mussolini?


    What was the results of the "march on Rome?"

    Mussolini was sworn in as prime minister

    What was Mussolinis main goal for Italy?

    Restore the glory a of the old Roman Empire

    What reforms did Mussolini attempt during his rule?

    Self sufficiency programs

    What issues did Germany fave in the early 1920's?

    Hyper inflation and political revolution

    What was Hitlers main ideas in his book Mein Kampf?

    Blamed Jews for Germany's ills

    What was Hitlers attempted coup of the Bavarian government known as?

    Nazi Party

    After his failure in the attempted violent overthrow of Bavaria how did Hitler decide the Nazi Party would proceed in gaining power in Germany?

    The democrate process

    How did the Great Depression affect Germany and the Nazi Party?

    Extremist ideals seemed to offer solutions and started large movement

    What were the brownshirts?

    SA Storm troops

    In what year did the Nazis become the largest party in the German Reichstag?


    What key event happend in January 1933?

    Hindenburg made Hitler chancellor

    How did the burning of the Reichstag building help Hitler and the Nazis gown total control of the German government?

    He demanded emergency powers and removed people who opposed him

    What even occurred in 1934 that enabled Hitler to assume the title of "deh Führer?"

    German president Paul died and Hitler became president

    Nazism •Right wing

    •Extremely fascist and totalitarian

    • based on beliefs of the nazi party

    •belief in the racial superiority of the Aryan, the "master race"

    •belief that all Germans should have living space in Europe

    •violent hatred towards Jews and blamed Germany's problems on them

    Fascism •right wing

    • intense nationalism and elitism

    • totalitarian control

    • interests of the state more important than individual rights

    • maintains class system and private ownership in cooperation with state

    Communism •left wing

    • based on theory by Karl Maryx revolutionary idea of a political, economic, and social system that created a classless society

    • state ownership and control of the means of production (no private ownership)

    •soviet communism on "stallinism" was more of a totalitarian and military state combined with elements of communism


    • government established complete control of all aspects of the state

    • highly nationalistic

    • strict controls and laws

    • military state • censorship • propaganda

    • one leader (dictator)

    • total conformity of people to ideas and leader

    • use of terror and fear

    What led to totalitarianism?

    Treaty of Versailles -> Black Tuesday (stock market crashes -> Great Depression -> increasing influence on new political parties that emphasize state control (communism, nazism, fascism) -> total control of state by a dictator -> totalitarianism


    A political system where the state holds total authority over the society and seeks to control all aspects of public and private life wherever neccesary

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    Benito Mussolini

    Wounded while serving with the bersaglieri (a corps of sharpshooters), he returned home a convinced antisocialist and a man with a sense of destiny. As early as February 1918, he advocated the emergence of a dictator—“a man who is ruthless and energetic enough to make a clean sweep”—to confront the economic and political crisis then gripping Italy. Three months later, in a widely reported speech in Bologna, he hinted that he himself might prove to be such a man. The following year the nucleus of a party prepared to support his ambitious idea was formed in Milan. In an office

    Rise to power of Benito Mussolini

    Wounded while serving with the bersaglieri (a corps of sharpshooters), he returned home a convinced antisocialist and a man with a sense of destiny. As early as February 1918, he advocated the emergence of a dictator—“a man who is ruthless and energetic enough to make a clean sweep”—to confront the economic and political crisis then gripping Italy. Three months later, in a widely reported speech in Bologna, he hinted that he himself might prove to be such a man. The following year the nucleus of a party prepared to support his ambitious idea was formed in Milan. In an office in Piazza San Sepolcro, about 200 assorted republicans, anarchists, syndicalists, discontented socialists, restless revolutionaries, and discharged soldiers met to discuss the establishment of a new force in Italian politics. Mussolini called this force the fasci di combattimento (“fighting bands”), groups of fighters bound together by ties as close as those that secured the fasces of the lictors—the symbols of ancient Roman authority. So fascism was created and its symbol devised.

    At rallies—surrounded by supporters wearing black shirts—Mussolini caught the imagination of the crowds. His physique was impressive, and his style of oratory, staccato and repetitive, was superb. His attitudes were highly theatrical, his opinions were contradictory, his facts were often wrong, and his attacks were frequently malicious and misdirected; but his words were so dramatic, his metaphors so apt and striking, his vigorous, repetitive gestures so extraordinarily effective, that he rarely failed to impose his mood.

    Fascist squads, militias inspired by Mussolini but often created by local leaders, swept through the countryside of the Po Valley and the Puglian plains, rounded up Socialists, burned down union and party offices, and terrorized the local population. Hundreds of radicals were humiliated, beaten, or killed. In late 1920, the Blackshirt squads, often with the direct help of landowners, began to attack local government institutions and prevent left-wing administrations from taking power. Mussolini encouraged the squads—although he soon tried to control them—and organized similar raids in and around Milan. By late 1921, the Fascists controlled large parts of Italy, and the left, in part because of its failures during the postwar years, had all but collapsed. The government, dominated by middle-class Liberals, did little to combat this lawlessness, both through weak political will and a desire to see the mainly working-class left defeated. As the Fascist movement built a broad base of support around the powerful ideas of nationalism and anti-Bolshevism, Mussolini began planning to seize power at the national level.

    In the summer of 1922, Mussolini’s opportunity presented itself. The remnants of the trade-union movement called a general strike. Mussolini declared that unless the government prevented the strike, the Fascists would. Fascist volunteers, in fact, helped to defeat the strike and thus advanced the Fascist claim to power. At a gathering of 40,000 Fascists in Naples on October 24, Mussolini threatened, “Either the government will be given to us, or we will seize it by marching on Rome.” Responding to his oratory the assembled Fascists excitedly took up the cry, shouting in unison “Roma! Roma! Roma!” All appeared eager to march.

    Later that day, Mussolini and other leading Fascists decided that four days later the Fascist militia would advance on Rome in converging columns led by four leading party members later to be known as the Quadrumviri. Mussolini himself was not one of the four.

    He was still hoping for a political compromise, and he refused to move before King Victor Emmanuel III summoned him in writing. Meanwhile, all over Italy the Fascists prepared for action, and the March on Rome began. Although it was far less orderly than Fascist propaganda later suggested, it was sufficiently threatening to bring down the government. And the king, prepared to accept the Fascist alternative, dispatched the telegram for which Mussolini had been waiting.

    Source : www.britannica.com

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