Mussolini Powerpoint

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Benito Mussolini:

Benito Mussolini The Rise of Authoritarian States Italy, 1918-45: the first appearance of fascism


Background Unification completed in 1870 “new” state suffered from economic & political weaknesses WWI placed strain on Italy’s economy Bitter disappointment w/Versailles Treaty From 1919-1922, there were 5 different governments

Fascist party:

Fascist party 1919, founded Italian Fascist party 1921 elections won 35 seats Staged a march on Rome to end a left-wing revolution King Victor Emmanuel invited Mussolini to form a gov’t in October, 1922 Remained in power until July 1943


Mussolini Eventually became a totalitarian dictator Initially was successful due to popularity & successful foreign policy Made fatal mistake of entering WWII & sided with Germany (could not afford involvement in another war) Italians turned against Mussolini after defeats by the British who captured Italy’s African possessions & occupied Sicily

The Demise of Mussolini:

The Demise of Mussolini Deposed & arrested in July, 1943 Rescued by the Germans in September Set up as puppet ruler in northern Italy, backed by German troops April, 1945 attempted to escape to Switzerland as Allied forces advanced Captured & shot dead by Italian enemies Body taken to Milan & strung up by the feet in a public square

Mussolini’s Rise to Power:

Mussolini’s Rise to Power Disappointment at Italy’s gains from Versailles settlement Economic effects of the War Growing contempt for the parliamentary system

Strikes of 1919 & 1920:

Strikes of 1919 & 1920 Growth of trade unions & strong socialist party Protested economic & political condition of Italy by organizing a series of strikes Accompanied by rioting, looting & occupation of factories by workers Gov’t unable to stop strikes & protect property Italian communist party formed in 1921 creating fear of revolution

Support for Mussolini:

Support for Mussolini Claimed to rescue Italy from feeble gov’t Former primary school teacher Began political career as a socialist Was a journalist & editor of socialist newspaper Avanti Began own newspaper, Il Popolo d’Italia Founded Fascist party in1919; sympathized with factory occupations

Widespread support:

Widespread support Local party branches of fascist party known as fasci di combattimento (fighting groups) Fascists were anti-monarchy, anti-Church, & anti-big business Won no seats in 1919 elections Mussolini decided to change his strategies

Growing support:

Growing support Became defender of private enterprise & property Gained support from wealthy businessmen Late 1920’s, “black shirts” attacked & burned down local socialist headquarters & newspaper offices 1921 property owners viewed him as guarantee of law & order

Official Support:

Official Support Pope Pius XI encouraged Church to support Mussolini as a good anti-communist weapon (Sept., 1922) King Victor Emmanuel began to look favorably on fascists Within 3 years, Mussolini went from extreme left to extreme right

Lack of effective opposition:

Lack of effective opposition Anti-fascists did not block the fascists Prime Minister Giolitti held elections in May, 1921 hoping fascists would gain seats & support his government (hoped they would become more responsible once in parliament) Only won 35 seats - should never have been a threat; but, socialists (who won 123 seats) would not cooperate with Giolitti to stop fascist violence & work with him to form a stable gov’t Giolitti resigned Socialists called for a general strike in 1922

Summer of 1922:

Summer of 1922 Fascists announced that if gov’t could not end the strike they would Mussolini became the saviour October, 1922 - fascists were confident to stage their “march on Rome” 50,000 blackshirts converged on Rome while other occupied important towns in the north King refused to declare a state of emergency Invited Mussolini (who was waiting in Milan) to come to Rome & form a new gov’t

Aims of Fascism:

Aims of Fascism Extreme nationalism Totalitarian system of government Single-party state Economic self-sufficiency (autarky) Military strength & violence

The Fascist State:

The Fascist State National State Voluntary Militia (legalized blackshirt private army) Acerbo Law (Nov., 1923) - changed rules of general elections Prime Minister responsible only to the king, not parliament (1925) Prime Minister could rule by decree(1926) Electorate reduced from 10 million to 3 million Adopted title of Il Duce - the leader!

More of the Fascist State:

More of the Fascist State Changes in local government Censorship Education supervised - “Believe, Obey, Fight!” Employment Policies An understanding with the Church - Lateran Treaty of 1929

Benefits of Fascism for the People:

Benefits of Fascism for the People Industry encouraged Battle of Wheat Battle for Land Public works programs ‘After-work’ (Dopolavoro) organization Successful foreign policy

Unsolved Problems:

Unsolved Problems Shortage of raw material Battle for Wheat at expense of dairy & arable farming Lira revalued too high to “show” Italy had strong currency Great Depression of 1929 made matters worse Lacking social services Regime was inefficient & corrupt

Downfall of Mussolini:

Downfall of Mussolini Entry into WWII Suffering of the general public Italians suffered defeats which led to surrender Mussolini lost his “touch” Italian historian Benedetto Croce referred to fascism as ‘a short-term moral infection’

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