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Mussolini’s Italy 1922 - 1943. Defeat in Victory World War One Ambitions –Treaty of Versailles Setbacks National Debt Expanded to pay for War –Inflation.

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Presentation on theme: "Mussolini’s Italy 1922 - 1943. Defeat in Victory World War One Ambitions –Treaty of Versailles Setbacks National Debt Expanded to pay for War –Inflation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mussolini’s Italy

2 Defeat in Victory World War One Ambitions –Treaty of Versailles Setbacks National Debt Expanded to pay for War –Inflation Rampant Destroyed Middle Class Savings Fixed Salaries hit –Industry happy as long as war continued Post war contracts ended – Job cuts –Labour Militancy –Demobilisation »Unemployment soars

3 Polarised Politics Newly enfranchised Working Class flock to Socialist Party –Russian Revolution –Planned overthrow of Liberal State Conservatives petrified of Bolshevik style takeover Liberals - Falling between the Stools –Seen as caving in to Workers –Or, as not forcing reform fast enough November 1919 elections –Universal Male Suffrage

4 Mutilated Victory Liberals blamed for disastrous Versailles deal –Fiume regarded as essential for new Yugoslav state –Dalmatia denied –German colonies denied Liberalism and Parliamentary democracy blamed by military and Nationalists –Liberals lumped together with Socialist Bolsheviks –New dynamic Italy required D’Annunzio provides prototype –2,000 ex-soldiers and nationalists take Fiume by force Liberal Government does not use force to Prevent D’Annunzio

5 Mussolini’s Rise Socialist Youth –Libya –Editor of Avanti Aggressive Vitriolic Attacked Liberal State Advocated violent Socialist Revolution –World War One Split with Socialists –Imperialist war versus speeding up revolution »Mussolini in favour of war »Il Popolo D’Italia

6 The Shift to the Right Mussolini’s War Service –1915 – 1917 Corporal –Wounded in accident Il Popolo Editor –Blames Liberal Government for Caporetto –Italy needs a Dictator to guide country to victory –‘Newspaper of Combatants and Producers’ As opposed to parasitic Businessmen/Profiteers, Socialist Pacifists and Liberals ‘Combat Group’ Fasci di Combattimento –March 1919 –100 anti –Liberals (and Anti-Socialist (Class Struggle)) Nationalists, Republicans, Anarchists, Futurists, Radical Poets and Painters –Radical Programme of Immediate Demands New Assembly, Abolition of Nobility, Republic, Co-operatives –Use Violence and Intimidation against Opponents

7 November 1919 Elections Universal Suffrage and Proportional Representation Popolari –100 Seats No single voice or ideological agreement Socialists –156 seats – the largest party Northern based –Irresponsible and uncompromising leadership –Split over Soviet ‘Opportunities’ Independent Socialists –21 Liberals –23 rightists –91 Giolitti Centrists –Radical liberals down to 67 Fascists –ZERO – Nothing – Nada – Not one Deputy! No overall majority! Radical Liberal Nitti soldiers on with Minority government

8 Liberal Suicide Nitti’s government falls over Fiumi Giolitti Coalition –Liberals, Radicals, Popolari and some Socialists –Economic Chaos Strikes, clashes, Lock outs Giolitti remains ‘Neutral’ –Enrages Industrialists –Does not satisfy Trade Unionists/Socialists –Fascists note weakness and offer to fill gap Leads to deal with the devil!

9 Fascist Constitutional Engagement? Rising tide of Violence –Local criminals and thugs join in –Provide ‘Protection’ to landowners & Industrialists Help against striking socialists –Bolshevik threat milked –Mussolini’s Perceived authority over Fascist Squads Through Il Popolo d’Italia Claims to be able to control Squads Convinces squads of benefit of unified leadership

10 Out – Foxing the Fox Giolitti attempts deal with Mussolini –To harness Anti-Socialist sentiments –Confers respectability on Fascist thugs –Authorities turn blind eye to Fascist excesses 100 socialists die First Fascist Foothold –Mussolini himself elected PR Lists

11 May 1921 Election Results Government bloc (184) –Extreme Nationalists 10 –Fascists 35 –National Bloc (Giolitti) 139 opposition (175) –Radicals (Liberal Democrats) 68 –Popolari 107 Left opposition (176) –Reformists 29 –Socialists 123 –Communists 15 –National minorities 9 Total seats (535)

12 The House of Sand Collapses Giolitti Haemorrhaging Support –Mussolini withdraws immediately Foothold achieved Avoid blame for upcoming crises –Popolari withdraw support over tax –Remaining Liberals distrust each other Parliamentary collapse mirrored by law and order collapse –Socialists beaten up at will –Fascists beat up socialist deputy in Parliament!

13 Fascist Opportunities Mussolini converts Fascist movement into a Party –October 1921 –Becomes official leader November 1921 Broadens appeal –Conservatives Opposes deals with Unions Promises to Restore order –Catholics Opposes Divorces Help Peasants Improve their lot Promises to settle Vatican situation Most of 1919 Left wing promises quietly ditched Dual Policy –Constitutional Engagement –Political Thuggery

14 Socialist Patience Snaps Fed up with Violence directed at them Fed up with government inaction Fed up with Police Connivance Call General Strike –July 1922 –Plays into Mussolini’s hands Fascists attempt to carry on functions of striking workers / Police / Courts / Judge & Jury Start negotiations with Liberals over running areas of government whilst plotting a Coup D’etat Fascists claim to be ‘Defenders of Law and Order’

15 ‘For my part I prefer 50,000 rifles to 5 million votes.’ Plan –30,000 fascists take over Northern Cities and then March on Rome Reality –Mussolini negotiates with Monarch King is Commander in Chief of Army Cousin Aosta a Fascist sympathiser Losing patience with weak Liberal Governments –Several thousand Fascists camp outside of Rome in rain waiting for orders –Government forces sent to disperse Fascists congregating The March on Rome

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17 The King hands the Pretender the Throne Victor Emmanuel changes mind –As troops are approaching Blackshirts, King refuses to agree to ‘Martial Law’ Army frozen –Government Resigns –King approaches conservative liberal Salandra Liberals cannot agree to support Salandra government –Mussolini invited to become Prime Minister October 29 th 1922 Mussolini takes train to Rome –Blackshirts parade victoriously through Rome

18 Consolidating Power Cautious Start by Mussolini –First Administration Only 4 Fascists (out of 14) Popolari and Liberals –Happy to use Fascists to crush Socialists »Then plan to absorb/discard fascists Mussolini builds up tension –Threat of Socialist violence –Threat of Bolshevik Revolution –Most Violence Fascist Inspired Demanded a 12 month period to rule by decree –Until situation stabilises

19 Requesting Power “With 300,000 young men, fully armed, ready for anything and almost religiously prompt to obey any command of mine, I could have punished all those who have slandered the Fascisti… I could have shut up Parliament and formed a government of Fascisti exclusively. I could have done so, but I did not wish to do so, at any rate at the moment… Before arriving here we were asked on all sides for a programme. It is not, alas, programmes that are wanting in Italy., but men to carry them out.”

20 Emperor Mussolini? Rule by decree vote –Liberals and Popolari fall for ‘Temporary’ Dictator Mussolini Including Salandra, Giolitti and Facta –Only Socialists and Communists vote against

21 The Emperor consolidates his power amongst the Fascists Grand Council of Fascism formed –Proposes all laws to the ‘Government’ –Mussolini appoints All Grand Councillors Reduces power of Regional Fascist Leaders Fascist Squadrismo converted to militia –30,000 Private ‘Loyal’ Army –Paid for by State –Used to Intimidate all opponents

22 Divide & Conquer Industrialists –Drops Giolitti’s Tax Evasion clamp down –Strike Breaking Church –Bans Contraception –RE compulsory in State Schools –Pope withdraws support for Popolari

23 Tailoring the Electoral System Acerbo Law –The largest party to receive 2/3rds of seats (as long as it secures 25% of vote) –Guarantees working Majority –Guarantees end to weak coalitions –Guarantees Dictatorship! Blackshirt intimidation of Parliamentarians

24 Constitutional Confirmation of Power 1924 Election Results Fascist & Right Wing Liberal Electoral Pact –66% of vote Extensive ‘Legal’ Intimidation Extensive Ballot Rigging Fascist deputies –From 35 to 374 Socialists & Communists still receive 2.5 million votes

25 The Matteoti Murder Mussolini Implicated Socialist Giacomo Matteoti presents evidence of Fascist intimidation to Parliament Fascist thugs abduct Matteoti –Broad daylight –Dragged into car –Stabbed to death Mussolini denial of involvement Press links Mussolini to murderers –Haemorrhages public support Remaining non-Fascist deputies set up rival parliament –Ask King to dismiss Mussolini –Giolitti and Salandra prop up weakened Mussolini

26 All or Nothing! July 1924 Introduces –Press Censorship –Bans Public Meetings by Opposition Parties Fascist Ultimatum to Mussolini –Haemorrhaging Support Declare Dictatorship or step aside! –King’s Position Pivotal January 1925 Introduces –Opposition Political Parties banned –Free Trade Unions banned –Press Censorship strengthened –New Secret Police created –New Courts to try political crimes –Mayors nominated rather than elected –Mussolini could rule by Decree

27 Essay “The Socialist threat and the belief that Italy had suffered a mutilated victory in the first world war enabled Fascism to grow and take power.” How far do you agree with this statement?

28 Increasing Mussolini’s Control 1925 Last Fascist Party Congress –Internal arguments banned by Mussolini 1926 Cabinet Meetings suspended –Mussolini takes Foreign, Interior and Defence ministeries for himself 1926 Parliamentary powers curtailed –No discussions on policy, no amending of legislation, no criticism of government allowed 1926 Election law –Working classes in socialist areas prevented from voting –All candidates to be approved by Fascist party 98% 1928 All Fascist party appointments made from Rome Headquarters –To undercut Ras 1939 Parliament dissolves itself –Chamber of Fasces and Corporations

29 The Lateran Agreement Neutralising Catholicism –1929 Pope Recognises –Italian State Papal States Rome Mussolini Recognises –Vatican City –Pays £30 Million compensation to church –Catholicism as official State religion –State to pay salaries of clergy Clergy prevented from political activity of any kind –Catholic RE compulsory 1939 Pope recants

30 The Cult of Personality Control of flow of information –Opposition newspapers suppressed –‘Press Office’ to distribute ‘authorised’ stories –State Radio Network established Radios given to all schools Communal radio centres –Cinema Official films to precede all films –“The public are stupid, dirty, do not work hard enough and are content with little cinema shows” Heroic Portrayal of Il Duce –All pictures of Mussolini personally vetted Man of action, culture, genius, youthfulness –20 hours a day stories Lights Claims all credit, blames all failures Militarism encouraged Unrelenting stream of propaganda Youth Organisations

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33 The Corporate State De Stefani –Orthodox Liberal Economics Professor Boom period Trade Unions and strikes banned Reduced State Interference 1927 Labour Charter - Corporative System –Official unions including employees, employers and Fascists 1927 Battle of the Lire –Strong currency = strong country Hits Exports Import levies on imports –Except for steel, ships and armaments 1932 World Depression –Intervention Public Works projects Bail out of banks Cheap loans provided 1935 League of nations sanctions –Autarky 1925 Battle of Grain –Economies of Scale

34 Foreign Policy 1923 Corfu –Bombardment and invasion after assassination of Italian General 1924 Fiume ceded to Italy 1924 – 26 Albania and Yugoslavia 1925 Locarno 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact 1933 Hitler visit 1934 Dolfuss Affair 1935 Abyssinia 1936 Rome Berlin Axis 1936 – 38 Spanish Civil War 1940 Invasion of France Distraction or Expansion?

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38 Comparison with Nazi Germany SimilaritiesDifferences Rise to Power Consolidating Power Role of Leader Propaganda Foreign Policy Religion Economy Dealing with Rivals Racial Policies


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