16 FACTORS THAT LED TO THE RISE OF FASCISM AND BENITO MUSSOLINI IN ITALY

FACTORS THAT LED TO THE RISE OF FASCISM AND BENITO MUSSOLINI IN ITALY

Mussolini was born in 1883 in Romagna – Italy to a Black Smith. He was a well-educated man and graduate. In 1904, he joined a military school in Italy and in 1915 he fought in World War I.

In 1921, he founded the National Fascist Party and he adopted the Black Shirt Uniform which was the uniform of the soldiers that had served in World War I.




Mussolini’s Fascist party got seats in the parliament of Italy and while there they demanded for representation in government. The government refused and in October 1922, Mussolini and his army invaded Rome. King Victor Emmanuel III refused to resist Mussolini and his men and instead he allowed him to become the Prime Minister and requested him to form a government. 

As a Prime Minister of Italy from 1922 to 1943, Mussolini created a fascist state. He abolished all the opposition groups and the Italian parliament collapsed.  Therefore, liberal Italy had fallen to Fascism.

FACTORS THAT LED TO THE RISE OF FASCISM AND BENITO MUSSOLINI IN ITALY:

The fear of the spread of communism by the capitalists

The fear of the spread of communism by the capitalists led to the rise of fascism in Italy.

The businessmen, government officials, and land owners had fear for communism which advocated for the state control of the business and giving much power to the workers.

Mussolini opposed communism and therefore they gave him financial support to create a strong government that would reduce the political powers of the working class and put an end to the strikes of the industrial workers.

The cause for which fascism stood for

The cause for which fascism stood for led to its rise in Italy. Mussolini and his fellow fascists often spoke about the restoration of the glory or prestige and military strength of the Ancient Roman Empire.

They argued that the empire had covered a greater part of Europe and that Napoleon I had led to its collapse in 1797.

The dream of reviving the Empire attracted the attention of the army officers and nationalists who provided support to Mussolini’s fascism.

Fascism also stood for the creation of a strong or totalitarian system of government, a one-party state, and self–sufficiency in terms of food and manufactured goods which made it popular among the Italians, hence explaining its rise.




The frustrated nationalism characterized by the failure to get colonies by Italy

The frustrated nationalism characterized by the failure to get colonies by Italy led to the rise of fascism and Mussolini.

For example, Italy had failed to get Ethiopia, and instead, she was defeated at the Battle of Adowa of 1896. She also lost Tunisia to the French in 1882 as well as Egypt to Britain in 1882.

Mussolini, therefore, used this to promise that he was to create a strong Italy without such humiliation.

The disappointment arising from the Versailles Peace Treaty of 1919

The disappointment arising from the Versailles Peace Treaty of 1919 led to the rise of fascism in Italy. During World War I, Italy was promised territories by like Trentino, Tyrol and Trieste among others which were not given to her at the end of the war.

Similarly, the Italians expected a lot of compensation in the Versailles Peace Treaty having lost 700,000 men during World War I. However, they were not given any share on the German and Austrian possessions or colonies and therefore they felt cheated by Versailles Peace Treaty.

As a result, Mussolini and his supporters started demanding for such shares and therefore they got a lot of support, especially from the war veterans.

The negative effects of World War I on Italy

The negative effects of World War I on Italy led to the rise of fascism in Italy. This war broke out in 1914 following the murder of the Austrian prince Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sofie.

In 1915, Itlay joined the war and fought on the side of the Triple Entente Powers up to 1918 when the Central Powers led by Germany was defeated.

The war left many negative effects on Italy which created circumstances that led to the rise of Fascism and Benito Mussolini.

For example, it created a very high level of unemployment with over 2.5 million ex-servicemen, inflation, declining standards of living, and general poverty.

The government had also borrowed heavily from the USA which created an economic crisis in Italy as the government struggled to repay the loans.

Those Italians who were affected thought that the Liberal government was not caring for them and therefore they joined the fascist party of Mussolini which they thought would solve their problems.




The failure of the parliamentary system of government in Italy

The failure of the parliamentary system of government in Italy led to the rise of fascism. Although Italy had a liberal government with a parliament, the government lacked consistency in policymaking due to the presence of many political parties that dominated the parliament.

By 1921, there were nine political parties and they included the Socialists, Liberals, Nationalists, Communists, Catholic Popular Party, and the Fascist Party among others.

The system, therefore, prevented the existence of a strong government in Italy. As a result, many Italians joined Mussolini’s fascist party, thus leading to the rise of fascism in Italy by 1922.

The civil unrest in Italy

The civil unrest in Italy led to the rise of fascism in Italy. Between 1919 and 1920, there was a wave of strikes, riots, looting of shops as well as the occupation of factories by the workers.

This was caused by widespread unemployment in the country. For example, there was Turin factory that was taken over and in Southern Italy, the Socialist League of workers captured land from the wealthy landlords and they also set up co-operatives.

The failure by the Italian government to stop this unrest or internal violence and protect the property of the wealthy groups (church, landlords and industrialists) made them to support the fascists whom they hoped to put an end to this disorder.

The personality of Benito Mussolini

The personality of Benito Mussolini led to the rise of fascism in Italy.  By character, he was a good orator or speaker and organizer with a lot of authority. 

He criticized democracy as a weak form of government. As a journalist, he set up a news paper through which he spread the Fascist propaganda and this made him popular in Italy. 

He also formed the Fascist Party in 1921 and when this was done, he suppressed all the other political parties and therefore, Italy became a fascist state.

The role of the “Black Shirts” and their violence from 1920 onwards

The role of the “Black Shirts” and their violence from 1920 onwards led to the rise of fascism in Italy. This was a private army set up by Mussolini and they killed their opponents with high a degree of brutality or harshness which threatened those who would have opposed fascism.

Mussolini also used his “Black Shirts” army to intimidate and torture any suspected opponents to fascism.

This therefore made the Fascist Party to remain with no opponents, hence explaining the rise of fascism in Italy.




The military style, discipline, and organization of the Fascist Party attracted many soldiers

Furthermore, the military style, discipline and organization of the Fascist Party attracted many soldiers.

The way Mussolini’s group smartly dressed in their Black Shirts carried weapons and fought battles with the Trade union members or workers made many former soldiers to join Mussolini and support Fascism.

The support from Pope Pius XI and the Roman Catholic Church

The support from Pope Pius XI and the Roman Catholic Church led to the rise of fascism in Italy. Mussolini and his fellow fascists promised to repair the relationship between the Italian government and the Catholic Church which had been damaged since 1871 when the Italian government took over Rome.

As a result, the Fascist Party received a lot of support from the Pope and the entire Roman Catholic Church in Italy which enabled it to come to power in 1922.

The failure of other opposition groups to gang up or unite against the fascists

The failure of other opposition groups to gang up or unite against the fascists led to the rise of fascism in Italy. All the anti-fascist groups like the communists, socialists, nationalists, liberals and monarchists failed to unite against the Fascist Party under Benito Mussolini.

As a result, there was lack of effective opposition against fascism which paved way for its rise in Italy.

The weakness of King Victor Emmanuel III

The weakness of King Victor Emmanuel III also led to the rise of fascism in Italy. By 1922, the Italian liberal monarchy was under the leadership of King Victor Emmanuel III who had come to power in 1878  following the death of his father King Victor Emmanuel II.

His government, however, failed to solve the prevailing economic problems in Italy like poverty and unemployment. He also failed to use the Italian army as recommended by the parliament to suppress the “Black Shirts” under Mussolini who had invaded Rome in 1922 and instead he invited Mussolini to form a new government.

There was also widespread corruption in the government of Victor Emmanuel III which made it unpopular, thus enabling the fascists under Mussolini to gain power in Italy by 1922.




The weakness of Prime Minister Orlando

The weakness of Prime Minister Orlando led to the rise of fascism in Italy.  Besides King Victor Emmanuel III, Italy had a Prime Minister by the name of Orlando before Benito Mussolini came to power. 

However, Orlando was accused of being a weak and inefficient Prime Minister.

This led to the appointment of Mussolini as the Prime Minister in 1922 and since he was a fascist, this led to the rise of fascism in Italy.

Hegel’s Philosophy

Hegel’s Philosophy led to the rise of fascism in Italy. Hegel was a Professor at Berlin University in Germany who believed in state power and authority. According to Hegel, the state was the supreme manifestation or representation of God on earth.

He, therefore, advocated for the establishment of a strong government.

His philosophy or belief made Mussolini popular in Italy since he promised to set up a strong government in Italy that would replace the weak Italian monarchy under King Victor Emmanuel III.

The success of the “Fascist March” to Rome in 1922

The success of the “Fascist March” to Rome in 1922 led to the rise of fascism in Italy. In October 1922, Benito Mussolini organized his fascists to march to Rome and capture power in a coup. King Victor Emmanuel III refused to resist the march even though the Italian army was well equipped to disperse it.

Instead, the king invited Mussolini and told him to form a government. This marked the rise of fascism in Italy. Benito Mussolini governed Italy as a Fascist or dictator up to 1943 when he was overthrown during the course of World War II.

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