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Fascism and Mussolini Ms Leslie History 12.

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1 Fascism and Mussolini Ms Leslie History 12

2 Fascis Latin term for a bundle of rods, firmly tied together with a beheading axe protruding from the center. It was a symbol of absolute authority in ancient Rome Which is why Mussolini chose this symbol

3 Fascism - what is it? applied mostly to the movement spawned from Benito Mussolini in Italy from Fascism Rejects the Major philosophical trends of the last two centuries that stress individual liberty and equality of all men and races. embraces social Darwinism. The Italian slogan was ‘To believe, to obey to combat.’

4 Main characteristics Action over thought - no moral or rational reasoning - Use of violence to further party and national aims Ultra-nationalistic beliefs. - Creation of national myths and great reliance on pageantry and symbolism Unquestioned rule of Dictator - Individual serves the state - the state does not serve the people; citizens are to obey and serve Extremely anti-communist Ultimate goal is to be imperialist through conquest of war.

5 All about Benito born in 1883 in Varano di Costa in Romagna, Italy.
His father was a blacksmith and socialist. Full name: Benito Amilcare Andrea after the left-wing Mexican revolutionary Benito Juarez His mother was a deeply religious school teacher. He spent the days fighting with other boys or hunting.

6 At 9 parents sent him to boarding school due to his bad behaviour
Benito hated school rules Hated how much parents had to spend on tuition Got in a lot of fights Stabbed another boy with a pen knife

7 At 10 he was sent to another school which he liked better
He worked hard and became well known for his powerful speeches, most of which had socialist leanings. In July, 1901, Mussolini received an elementary teacher's diploma.


9 Taught for a year before moving to Switzerland
He was avoiding Italy’s conscription Mussolini's life in Switzerland was one of vagrancy. He begged for change and lived on the streets. Learned about Marx, Nietzsche and Buddhism

10 Eventually deported due to violent ways
Went to France to teach, but went back to Switzerland Became an established Socialist 1904 Italian King announced a pardon to all deserters

11 Mussolini returned to Italy to enlist for military duty
Conscripted for WWI but was exempt due to a grenade training injury So he looked for a different way to make a name for himself.

12 Italy after WWI Italy devastated after WWI Little success in battle
Peace didn’t come with all that was promised Italians resented allied powers Wilson would not give Italians the territory they wanted at the PPC as there were no Italians in them

13 Society after the war Inflation Rise of socialist activities
Extreme poverty in the south - peasants start occupying land In the North prices rose 560% and unemployment increased.


15 Post war elections Failed to produce stable governments
5 different governments Proportional representation to blame (5% of vote means 5% of seats) No one could get a majority, lots of coalitions

16 Bolsheviks in Milan Bolsheviks in Milan began to organize a take over of the country. There were several massive strikes. Big industries like Fiat looked desperately for someone to crush this threat.

17 Benito makes his move A Fascist movement begins in Milan in 1919.
Mussolini saw his opportunity in protecting landowners and industrialists from the socialists factory and land seizures. He recruited unemployed ex-servicemen and middle class youth

18 Mussolini lead his group of Fascists against Socialists and Trade Unions; bringing him the support of industrialists who were afraid of a left-wing seizure of power. The fascists were supplied with arms and transport and promises of immunity of punishment.

19 Mussolini called his gang ‘Combat Squads’ and unleashed them on peasants and workers.
They would club their victims to death and torture others. There was huge pay out from landowners, industrialists and banks…. In the Millions of pounds.

20 Things get legit In 1921 The Fascist Party was asked to join the National Block Coalition with the Liberals, democrats and nationalists. Mussolini won 35/535 seats in the election.

21 Enter the Blackshirts In 1922 Mussolini’s party had a membership of 360,000 of which 50,000 were a member of Combat Squads, now given the nickname ‘The Blackshirts’. Mussolini uses his private army to show his might He outfits them all with Black Shirt uniforms to make them feel special


23 March on Rome On October 28, 1922, Mussolini puts the word out that he is going to march into Rome with 26,000 Blackshirts. The King decided to make Mussolini the new Prime Minister rather than risk civil war by sending in the troops. So on Oct 29, Mussolini became prime minister of Italy

24 It is important to note the March on Rome was only a threat.
Mussolini arrived in Rome on a train after the King invited him. Mussolini does not have complete control yet and rules in a coalition government He takes steps to secure his power:

25 Acerbo Election Law Who ever got the largest number of votes (as long as it was 25% or more) would automatically get 2/3 of the seats in the lower house of parliament. The rest of the seats would be divvied up proportionally. This allowed Mussolini to gain 374 out of 535 seats in April 1924.

26 Murder of Giacomo Matteotti
an outspoken opponent on June 10, 1924, 5 fascists thugs on the party payroll killed him. There is no proof that Mussolini ordered this murder. The people liked Matteotti and were upset with his death

27 Loss of freedoms Takes away freedom of press, assembly, speech, and freedom from arbitrary arrest ‘useless or harmful liberties’ Trade unions abolished

28 The Corporate State Trade unions were replaced with ‘corporations’, which were run by fascists to settle disputes; interests of bosses usually won out and the living standards of workers fell. All economic planning was centralized

29 Other changes He adopted the title ‘Il Duce’ Civil service purged
1928 cancelled future elections and replaced the Italian parliament with the Fascist Grand Council

30 political parties are banned (except for Mussolini’s of course).
In 1926 he reinstated the death penalty. In 1927 he set up his secret police the OVRA to harass political opponents.

31 Important events The Corfu Incident. An Italian General and their officers were assassinated while on Greek territory in August of Mussolini bombarded and occupied the Island until the Greeks paid indemnity and apologized.

32 The economy Autarchy. Fascism believes in a self-sufficient state.
launched the ‘Battle for Wheat’ with the goal of increasing production and decreasing imports. From wheat production went up 75%. He tried to do the same with a ‘battle of births’ but was unable to get the population to comply. Unemployment reached 1.1 million in 1932

33 It’s all Benito’s fault
He fired the competent Finance minister to give his friend a job He raised the value of Italian currency, the lira, to 90 to the pound instead of 150, making Italian exports more expensive; thus demand for Italian goods abroad fell sharply. Wasted money helping Franco out in Spain

34 But what about the good things Mussolini did?
Road infrastructure increased. Archeology was pushed to the forefront and tourist was boosted because of the new artifacts discovered. Iron ore and steel production increased as well as hydro electric power.

35 The Lateran Accords Catholic Church last possible opposition
Traditionally Pope forbids Catholics from participating in politics (no voting) In exchange for not saying bad things about fascism the Pope got: control over education, recognition as the official state religion and the right of the Pope to have the Vatican as it’s own state

36 Mussolini's youth groups

37 Foreign Policy 1934 he guaranteed Austria’s Independence against German Threats. In 1935 Hitler attempted to invade Austria and murdered the Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss, to which Mussolini reacted instantly. Mussolini could not risk Hitler taking over Austria for the safety of Italy. He sent three tank divisions to the Austrian border. Hitler was out-bluffed and out bullied and backed down.

38 Stresafront Agreement
Mussolini declares his stand against Hitler in the Stresafront Agreement of 1935. In this agreement Italy, France and Britain condemned Germany’s re-armament. Shows Mussolini did not always want to align with Hitler


40 Oct Abyssinia Mussolini wanted to restore Italy’s Empire to the glory of Rome. Abyssinia was between two Italian Colonies and had been the location of a humiliating Italian defeat in 1896

41 1934 - Italy provoked an incident where Italians were killed and demanded an apology
Ethiopia appealed to the League of Nations but they stalled for a year In October of 1935 Mussolini invaded Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and was successful due to the new inventions of flamethrowers and poison gas.

42 Newsreel film and eyewitness reports of the Italian use of poison gas and flame throwers brought public outrage in Britain and France.

43 The League of Nations applied sanctions on Italy - did not include steel, coal and copper
Austria, Hungary and Germany refused to obey the sanctions Sanctions were a joke - UK even allowed Italy to continue to use the Suez Canal

44 Hoare-Laval Plan - respective foreign ministers from Britain and France. Agreed to let Italy have Abyssinia if they stopped fighting immediately. This secret agreement was leaked to the press and other countries stopped obeying sanctions (why bother?) An attempt to patch up the Stresa Front

45 Mussolini quoted saying he would have quite within a week if oil sanctions in December had been imposed

46 Germany continued to trade with Italy normally throughout the incident and an alliance between the two nations was forged. Hitler dominated this alliance and the Italian people were against it as Germany was a traditional enemy. The May 22, 1939 Pact of Steel solidified the link between Germany and Italy in an offensive and defensive alliance. Based on the assumption war would probably start in 3 years

47 end

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