The Rise of Fascism
In the chaotic situation which prevailed in the post-war
period many came to believe that a Soviet style revolution was possible
in Italy. Others tired of what they saw as the lawless activity of industrial
workers and peasants, both led by the Socialist Party and--after its
As the post-war governments found it difficult to establish
order or to carry out necessary reforms, those who felt threatened gave
up hope for governmental solutions and began to rely on their own resources.
In their attempts to dislodge peasant squatters and to disrupt
During 1921-1922, the Italian political situation worsened.
Parliament, which accurately represented the lack of consensus in the country,
found it impossible to cobble together cabinets with any staying power.
Meanwhile, the Fascist movement grew stronger and
In these conditions, Mussoliniís threat to march on Rome
in October 1922 were taken seriously. Historians still debate the precise
role of Victor Emanuel III and his advisors in this crisis, but the King
chose not to counter Mussoliniís threat with force. On 31 October
For more than two years Mussolini served in the capacity
of prime minister in a strictly legal sense. Yet he strove to consolidate
his power, especially by persecuting the socialists and communists and
by promoting a new electoral law that abolished proportional
On 3 January 1925 he accepted moral responsibility for Matteotiís murder and began to create a new, totalitarian state.
The lectures and readings will go deeper into these themes, analyzing more closely Mussoliniís consolidation of power and the institutions through which he ruled.
| Assignments: DiScala, pp. 211-254;
Stille, Benevolence and Betrayal, Begin