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Revision Notes - Mussolini

Revision Notes - Mussolini

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Published by Yegor Lanovenko
A very short summary of key events.
A very short summary of key events.

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Published by: Yegor Lanovenko on May 09, 2010
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Revision NotesYegor Lanovenko
Mussolini
Rise to Power
The Liberal Government has never had much support. From 1911 - unstable coalitions.The Mutilated Victory - Italy with 600 000 soldiers dead in the war gained very little, did notFiume - which was important for them. 1914 saw the worst unrests.By 1915, 5 million immigrated to the USA, which was seen as humiliation. Plus 2 millionunemployment from the returned soldiers.The debt by the end of the war was 85 million lira, compared to the 16 million in 1914.In 1919, 32% of the votes in election went to the Socialists, which horrified all the MiddleClasses. The Liberals did little to pacify the workers appealing for better wages andworking hours. NItti tried to encourage the factory owners to appease the workers. In thecountryside, peasants started to occupy land from their landlords.1919-1920 - The Two Red Years - where there was most strikes and unrest and the fear ofa Socialist revolution was the biggest. This fear pushed many to support the emergingFascists.Mussolini was working in a Socialist newspaper, but moved away from Socialism as hefavoured war, and the Socialists called it an “Imperialist Adventure”.He establishes a new ideology to help the “combatants and producers”, i.e. soldiers,farmers and factory workers. The movement was yet without any clear ideology in 1919.Giolitti was always too scared to use force against the workers on strikes, as in 1920 when400 000 workers occupied the factories. Even though these occupations were alwaysunsuccessful, they weakened the position of the government in the eyes of the public.Another success for the Socialists in 1920 Elections.In 1920, the right in the North of Italy began to take over - the Fascist Squads weresupported by the landowners who were terrified by the peasants unrests. The local Fascistleaders, ras, used more and more apparent violence to increase the visibility of control andorganization. Mussolini promote it in his own newspaper.In 1921, the Fascists won 35 seats. Giolitti hoped to form an anti-Socialist coalition withthem, thinking the Fascists would get absorbed by the system. The coalition lasted onemonth. Mussolini moves away from the idea of Social reforms to win the support of factoryowners. From 1921-22 there was a lot of unrest, and the squads contributed to it.
 
Revision NotesYegor Lanovenko
Mussolini re-organizes the squads into a more attractive organization in 1922. Heappeased the Catholics by promoting divorce - after all of this, party membership rose to200 000.He wanted to get power legally. In 1922 the failed General Strike of the workers showedthe incapacity of the government to deal with it and showed the Squads as the keepers ofpeace on the streets.March on Rome 1922 - the bluff and the inactive King.
Consolidation of Power
In 1922, the Fascists had only 4 ministers.Mussolini asked the government to let him rule by decree for 12, which he would then giveup.1923 - corrosion of constitutional government. Squads merged in MVSN, Grand Council ofFascism (of which Mussolini was the Head) was established, centralizing the party on him.Makes promised to Church to win its support.The Acerbo Law in 1923 - no more proportional representation, the single biggest partyhas 2/3 of the seats.Elections in 1924 gained Mussolini 66% of the votes.The Matteotti Crisis in 1924 results in press censorship and ban on opposition partymeetings.OVRA - secret police in 1925.Podestas replace local mayors.1926 - Mussolini the sole leader of Italy.The King never took much part in the internal affairs. The Church was pacified by theLateran Pacts of 1929 which gave the Vatican autonomy.The Grand Council of Fascism became more and more powerless as Mussolini stayed inoffice, especially after the creation of MVSN, the official militia.The party was “an instrument of the state’s will”.
Economic Policies
 
Revision NotesYegor Lanovenko
The aims of economic policies were - to consolidate the political system, to make thecountry self-sufficient and to provide an economic base for military might, which was ofcrucial importance to his idea of the Roman Empire.He did not want to abolish capitalism - he wanted to unite all the people to work for thebest benefit of the state.The Corporative System - Mussolini thought it to be the third way.Corporations consisted of workers’ organizations and employers in every field of economy.This was supposed to be the “best of capitalism and socialism”. They would meet todiscuss their own problems.The national interest was represented by the Ministry of Corporations and Party Officials.Employers were represented by themselves, however the workers’ syndicates by Fascistsyndicate representatives.Employers saw this as a means to control the workers. Mussolini as the head of theMinistry of Corporations made all the important decisions while the meeting were just afacade for the workers.Rocco Law in 1926 named strikes illegal and set up first corporations. Ministry ofCorporations in 1926. Trade unions were proclaimed powerless.Vast bureaucracy with little real power.Parliament was replaced by the Chamber of Fasces and Corporations in 1939.
Propaganda
Main messages of propaganda - powerful Fascist government, the wise Duce, work as oneunited nation, Italy the heir to the Roman Empire.Ancient Rome created the whole style of propaganda and the regime. Symbolseverywhere. architecture to represent it - classical design. Mussolini established order outof chaos like Augustus.Romanita - the cult of Rome.Newspapers were the main means of propaganda. Mussolini’s Press Office extended it’spower in 1930s. In the model of Germany became a ministry in 1935. From 1923, prefectsresponsible for censorship. Greater variety of press. Regime called the journalist regime.Radio numbers increased to 1 million in 1938, but was not so censored - one could catchthe BBC.

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