Italy and fascism[1]


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Italy and fascism[1]

  1. 2. <ul><li>Three distinct regions: </li></ul><ul><li>a) Industrial & Wealthy North </li></ul><ul><li>b) Administrative & Roman Center, c)Agricultural & Poor South </li></ul><ul><li>Majority of population was rural </li></ul><ul><li>High emigration in late 1800s </li></ul><ul><li>The Pope opposed the new liberal, united nation </li></ul><ul><li>Large debt, high taxes on poor, periodic bouts of unrest </li></ul><ul><li>Limited suffrage (most males by 1912) </li></ul><ul><li>Politicians seen as corrupt </li></ul>
  2. 3. <ul><li>4 kings </li></ul><ul><li>29 prime ministers, 1869-1922 </li></ul><ul><li>Limited suffrage meant government officials not responsive to people—deal makers inside government structures & corruption </li></ul><ul><li>Development & growth of Socialist Party (>20% of vote by 1913)—party divided along three lines </li></ul><ul><li>1911 Italian Nationalist Union (Nationalists) established—Italy’s foreign & domestic policies weak; wanted authoritarian govt; “Our country is nothing without conquest.” </li></ul>
  3. 4. <ul><li>Rapid industrialization of north after 1900 increased traditional economic divide between north & south </li></ul><ul><li>Huge debts led to major tax increases hitting poorest the hardest </li></ul><ul><li>Labor & wage strikes opposed by the govt </li></ul>
  4. 5. <ul><li>“Nation states are… very rare beasts indeed, and certainly pre-1914 Italy was not one. There was… no Liberal hegemony, no agreement on basic ideological or social aims. Most people still spoke only dialect; nearly 40% of adults were illiterate. A popular press barely existed… The social and economic gap between North and South was all too evident; so too was the chasm between town and country… Italy was still run by a small elite, with little title to rule except its belligerent patriotism and its historical myths.” </li></ul><ul><li>--M. Clark, Modern Italy, 1871-1982 </li></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><li>“Companions, here is the dawn. Our vigil is over. Our gaiety begins… After so much wavering the incredible has happened. We shall now fight our war, and blood will flow from the veins of Italy. We are the last to enter the struggle but will be among the first to find glory. Here is the dawn. Let us kiss one another and take leave…” </li></ul><ul><li>--Gabriele D’Annunzio, nationalist poet </li></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>MILITARY: </li></ul><ul><li>5 million conscripted </li></ul><ul><li>11 offensives in 2 ½ years </li></ul><ul><li>Maximum advance = 12 miles (20 km) </li></ul><ul><li>600,000 killed </li></ul><ul><li>1,000,000 wounded </li></ul><ul><li>c. 290,000 deserters </li></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><li>POLITICAL: </li></ul><ul><li> govt power </li></ul><ul><li>Parliament became a rubber stamp (no democracy) </li></ul><ul><li> links between govt & industry </li></ul><ul><li>Promise of social reforms </li></ul><ul><li>Socialist Party advocated ‘neither support nor sabotage’ </li></ul><ul><li>Pope & Catholic Church criticized the deaths </li></ul>
  8. 9. <ul><li>ECONOMIC: </li></ul><ul><li>Massive govt spending </li></ul><ul><li>National debt  more than 400% </li></ul><ul><li>Inflation quadruples (1914 price index = 100; 1918 price index = 413) </li></ul>
  9. 10. <ul><li>SOCIAL: </li></ul><ul><li>Strict discipline in industry </li></ul><ul><li>Long work hours: up to 75 hours/week </li></ul><ul><li> employment of women </li></ul><ul><li>Real wages  c. 25% </li></ul><ul><li>Rents frozen </li></ul><ul><li>Some peasants paid of debts </li></ul><ul><li>Bread riots in Summer 1917 killed 50 </li></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><li>“ The Italians had been divided before, but by November 1919 they were more divided than ever: ‘combatants’ against ‘shirkers’, peasants against workers, patriots against defeatists. No conceivable form of government could suit them all. </li></ul><ul><li>The war left other major legacies. They included a thirst for justice (‘land for the peasants’) and a transformed industrial economy. The war also produced tens of thousands of new officers, drunk with patriotism and greedy to command. They had won the war, and did not intend to let anyone forget it.” </li></ul><ul><li>--Clark </li></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><li>“[T]he Great War did not bring national integration and unity. There was no… temporary national and political truce… Italy’s wartime experience was extremely divisive; it increased popular alienation from the Liberal parliamentary state while heightening expectations of transforming it. Italy’s national war was ‘waged in an atmosphere of civil war.’” </li></ul><ul><li>--P. Morgan, Italian Fascism, 1919-1945 </li></ul>
  12. 13. Italy’s Claims Treaty of London Promised (1915) Treaty of St. Germain (1919) Granted South Tryol yes yes Trentino yes yes Istria yes yes Fiume no no Dalmatia yes no Colonies yes no
  13. 14. <ul><li>Gabriele d’Annunzio: </li></ul><ul><li>Nationalist poet </li></ul><ul><li>Glorifier of Italy’s past </li></ul><ul><li>Italy’s political system: “a heap of filth which cannot even serve to manure the nation’s cabbage” </li></ul><ul><li>WW I hero: air raids, lost an eye, over 50 yrs old </li></ul><ul><li>Famous: Commander of Fiume </li></ul><ul><li>Considered marching on Rome to overthrow the decadent govt.s </li></ul>
  14. 15. <ul><li>Sept. 1919: d’Annunzio seizes control of the Adriatic port of Fiume </li></ul><ul><li>Italy had claimed Fiume </li></ul><ul><li>Denied by British & Paris Peace </li></ul><ul><li>Nationalist d’Annunzio sees Fiume as example of ‘mutilated victory’ </li></ul><ul><li>“In this made, vile world, Fiume is the symbol of liberty.” </li></ul><ul><li>Italian government did nothing in response to this action </li></ul><ul><li>What impressions of Italian government developed? </li></ul>
  15. 16. <ul><li>Would d’Annunzio use his popularity to seize power in Rome? </li></ul><ul><li>Dec. 1920: PM Giolitti sent troops to Fiume and the Italian Army took control </li></ul><ul><li>Italy & Yugoslavia had agreed that Fiume should be a free international city—until 1923 when Mussolini seized it for Italy </li></ul><ul><li>What impressions did d’Annunzio’s actions in Fiume have upon the Italian populace? </li></ul><ul><li>What impressions did it have on groups or individuals seeking a role in Italian politics? </li></ul>
  16. 17. <ul><li>Force could be used to achieve political goals </li></ul><ul><li>Govt. inadequacy: took over a year to act </li></ul><ul><li>d’Annunzio acted in Italy’s ‘interests’; Orlando failed to attain Italy’s goals at Paris Peace Conference </li></ul>
  17. 18. <ul><li>Why was there economic & political crisis in post-WW I Italy? </li></ul><ul><li>ANGER ABOUT: </li></ul><ul><li>‘mutilated victory’ </li></ul><ul><li>pacifist Socialists </li></ul><ul><li>weak govt. </li></ul>
  18. 19. <ul><li>Why was there economic & political crisis in post-WW I Italy? </li></ul><ul><li>FEARS OF SOCIALIST REVOLUTION: </li></ul><ul><li>govt. officials </li></ul><ul><li>big business </li></ul><ul><li>strikes & occupation of factories </li></ul><ul><li> success of Socialist Party in elections </li></ul><ul><li>Bolshevik Revolution in Russia </li></ul>
  19. 20. <ul><li>Why was there economic & political crisis in post-WW I Italy? </li></ul><ul><li>EXPECTATIONS OF: </li></ul><ul><li>new, dynamic Italy </li></ul><ul><li>workers’ power </li></ul><ul><li>land reform </li></ul><ul><li>territorial aspirations (new lands & colonies) </li></ul>
  20. 21. <ul><li>Why was there economic & political crisis in post-WW I Italy? </li></ul><ul><li>PROBLEMS: </li></ul><ul><li>unemployment </li></ul><ul><li>demobilized soldiers (many w/out jobs) </li></ul><ul><li>social & economic unrest (incl. fight Socialists v. Fascists) </li></ul><ul><li>govt. debt </li></ul><ul><li>inflation </li></ul><ul><li>discredited parliamentary system </li></ul>
  21. 23. <ul><li>Fascio di combattimento (Fascists) </li></ul><ul><li>est. March 1919 </li></ul><ul><li>“ There is a crisis which leaps to the eyes of all. Throughout the war we heard of the incompetence of the people who govern, and knew that if the war was won, it was solely by the virtue of the Italian people, not at all by the intelligence and the capacity of the governors. We must run… Therefore we create Fasci: organs of creation and agitation, capable of descending into the streets and crying: ‘We, we alone, have the right to the succession, because we , we were the men who forced the country into war and into victory…’” </li></ul><ul><li>--Benito Mussolini, Il Popolo d’Italia, 24 March 1919 </li></ul>
  22. 24. <ul><li>Early ideas: </li></ul><ul><li>Nationalism </li></ul><ul><li>Weak, ineffective govt. </li></ul><ul><li>Evils of Socialism </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Mutilated Victory’ </li></ul><ul><li>Land to peasants </li></ul><ul><li>Fair wages & prices </li></ul><ul><li>Hostility to Church </li></ul><ul><li>Still advocated republicanism </li></ul><ul><li>Supporters had desire to act & restore glory to Italy = more important than any unified ideas </li></ul>
  23. 25. <ul><li>Who supported the Fascist (early stages)? </li></ul><ul><li>ex-soldiers </li></ul><ul><li>small portion of elite (industrial, agricultural, & economic elite </li></ul><ul><li>petty bourgeoisie—shopkeepers, artisans, small merchants, small business owners, low level civil servants, teachers, small landowners: cannot move up & threatened from below by Socialists </li></ul><ul><li>students & youths seeking adventure & opportunity </li></ul><ul><li>anti-Socialists </li></ul>
  24. 26. <ul><li>Why did they support Mussilini? </li></ul><ul><li>exploited fears of middle- & upper-classes (respectable bourgeoisie & civil servants) </li></ul><ul><li>sense of economic & social insecurity (petty bourgeoisie, ex-soldiers </li></ul><ul><li>rural Socialist threats (rural lower-middle class farmers and agrari, large landowners) </li></ul><ul><li>Socialism & govt concessions to labor (industrialists ) </li></ul>
  25. 27. <ul><li>Mussolini Offered: </li></ul><ul><li>1920: less radical </li></ul><ul><li>restore Italian power & prestige </li></ul><ul><li>develop economy through productivity </li></ul><ul><li>eliminate harmful state controls on economy </li></ul><ul><li>strong leadership </li></ul><ul><li>law & order: targeting left-wing subversives </li></ul><ul><li>Action: not politics & programs </li></ul>
  26. 28. <ul><li>Who supported the Fascist (1921)? </li></ul><ul><li>industrialists (3%) </li></ul><ul><li>professionals, esp. teachers & students (21%) </li></ul><ul><li>small landowners, agricultural workers (36%) </li></ul><ul><li>petty bourgeoisie (24%) </li></ul><ul><li>industrial & transport workers (16%) </li></ul>
  27. 30. FASCIST PROGRAM 1919 FASCIST PROGRAM 1921 <ul><li>republic w/universal male suffrage </li></ul><ul><li>political structure to ensure Italy’s destiny—no specifics </li></ul><ul><li>8-hour work day; minimum wage </li></ul><ul><li>8-hour work day, w/exceptions for requirements </li></ul><ul><li>workers’ participation in mgt. </li></ul><ul><li>corporations of nat’l solidarity &  production </li></ul><ul><li>common education for all </li></ul><ul><li>schools for governing elite; military train </li></ul><ul><li>freedom of opinion </li></ul><ul><li>freedoms limited to nat’l interests </li></ul><ul><li>abolition of mandatory military </li></ul><ul><li>military conscription </li></ul><ul><li>heavy & progressive tax on income </li></ul><ul><li>Taxes proportional to income </li></ul><ul><li>nationalization of arms factories; 85% confiscation of war profit </li></ul><ul><li>privatize nat’l firms; nat’l wealth via individual actions </li></ul><ul><li>confiscation of all religious property </li></ul><ul><li>no reference to Church property </li></ul><ul><li>foreign policy: peaceful competition among civilized world </li></ul><ul><li>complete unification for Italy; major role in the Mediterranean </li></ul>
  28. 31. <ul><li>violence from feelings of WW I & humiliations </li></ul><ul><li>violence became part of the political process </li></ul><ul><li>1920-1922: c. 2,000 Socialists killed in political violence (c. 200 Fascists) </li></ul><ul><li>targeted the organizational structure of Socialist Party </li></ul><ul><li>party & union buildings attacked & set afire </li></ul><ul><li>union members attacked </li></ul><ul><li>End of 1921: Socialists practically ceased exercising power in northern & central provinces </li></ul>
  29. 32. <ul><li>How could a movement that emphasized a return of law & order initiate so much violence and still gain popularity? </li></ul><ul><li>elite & govt. authorities supported the Fascists claims of restoring law & order </li></ul><ul><li>Fascist hooligans perfect tool to rid Italy of socialism (fear & hatred of Left more than support of Fascist Party for many) </li></ul><ul><li>elite & govt. authorities disgusted w/weakness of the liberal govt.—cooperation w/Fascists </li></ul><ul><li>1921: Fascists minor role in govt.—many local officials even more reluctant to act against them </li></ul>
  30. 33. <ul><li>Mussolini (April 1922) </li></ul><ul><li>“We Fascists have a clear program: we must move on led by a pillar of fire, because we are slandered and not understood. And, however much violence may be deplored, it is evident that we, in order to make our ideas understood, must beat refractory [obstinate] skulls… But we do not make a school, a system, or, worse still, an aesthetic of violence. We are violent because ti is necessary to be so.” </li></ul>
  31. 34. <ul><li>Mussolini (April 1922) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Our punitive expeditions… must always have the character of… legitimate reprisal: because we are the first to recognize that it is sad, after having fought the external enemy, to have to fight the enemy within… The Socialist had formed a state within a state… this state is more tyrannical, illiberal and overbearing than the old one; and for this reason what we are causing today is a revolution to break up the Bolshevist state, while waiting to settle our accounts with the Liberal state which remains.” </li></ul>
  32. 35. <ul><li>c. 500,000 party members </li></ul><ul><li>c. 250,000 Blackshirts </li></ul><ul><li>smashed much of Socialist’s power </li></ul><ul><li>controlled several regions </li></ul><ul><li>offered firm leadership, end to class conflict, national greatness v. disillusionment brought by liberal govt. </li></ul><ul><li>presence (7%) in Parliament & role in govt. </li></ul><ul><li>ras (local leader of Fascist squads) wanted to seize power </li></ul><ul><li>Mussolini sensed chance to gain legally—due to  support from elite </li></ul>
  33. 36. <ul><li>Weakness of the Enemies </li></ul><ul><li> ability of govt. to function in Rome & in provinces </li></ul><ul><li>govt. could not stand up to Fascist violence—attempt to bring ‘moderates’ into govt. control </li></ul><ul><li>Liberal, Social & Catholic opponents of Fascists could not cooperate </li></ul><ul><li>Liberal Govt. split by personal hatreds </li></ul><ul><li>perception of Socialist threat– most historians view 1920 as their peak </li></ul>
  34. 38. <ul><li>Italy, early October 1922 </li></ul><ul><li>Fascists had gained control of local govts. </li></ul><ul><li>Fascists squads in some areas had seized power after expelling Socialists councils </li></ul><ul><li>Mussolini, MP & Fascists had 35 seats in parliament </li></ul><ul><li>Giolitti formed alliance w/Fascists (hopes to transform them to be moderate) </li></ul><ul><li>ras increasing pressure for Fascists to seize power </li></ul><ul><li>Mussolini sees opportunity to take power legally </li></ul><ul><li>rumors of Fascist march on Rome to take power  </li></ul><ul><li>govt. politicians seeking to include Mussolini & Fascists into new govt. w/Fascists having cabinet seats </li></ul>
  35. 39. <ul><li>16 Oct. 1922: Mussolini & leading Fascists meet in Milan—time right to take power </li></ul><ul><li>24 Oct. 1922: Fascist Congress in Naples—40,000 blackshirts shouting “To Rome”—leaders announce intention to organize a March on Rome </li></ul><ul><li>27 Oct. 1922: Mussolini declares “Either the government will be given to us or we shall take it, descending upon Rome.” </li></ul>
  36. 40. <ul><li>March on Rome set 27 Oct. 1922 </li></ul><ul><li>PLAN: </li></ul><ul><li>Fascist would seize control of key public buildings in North & Central </li></ul><ul><li>50,000 to assemble outside Rome & march on the govt., but to avoid trouble with army </li></ul><ul><li>Mussolini doubts, but had to -- appease aggressive elements in party & might intimidate king to appoint him PM </li></ul>
  37. 41. <ul><li>27 October 1922 </li></ul><ul><li>during night mixed success taking control of key buildings—did frighten many prefects </li></ul><ul><li>reports sent to Rome of a Fascist advance on capitol </li></ul><ul><li>10,000 not 50,000 assemble c. 35 km from Rome </li></ul><ul><li>Rain </li></ul>
  38. 42. <ul><li>27 October 1922 </li></ul><ul><li>PM Facta had decision to make: organize a resistance or surrender </li></ul><ul><li>Facta, like many senior politicians, had failed to take decisive actions against Fascists previously </li></ul><ul><li>Govt. resigned </li></ul>
  39. 43. <ul><li>27 October 1922 </li></ul><ul><li>Facta asked to stay as PM during the crisis </li></ul><ul><li>Facta asked King Victor Emmanuel III to declare martial law </li></ul><ul><li>Victor Emmanuel: “The only man who could do anything was convinced of his impotence.”—A. Lyttleton, The Seizure of Power: Fascism in Italy, 1919-1929 </li></ul>
  40. 44. <ul><li>28-29 October 1929 </li></ul><ul><li>Victor Emmanuel: </li></ul><ul><li>overestimated strengths of Fascists (as had many others); </li></ul><ul><li>mother & cousin, Duke of Aosta sympathized w/Fascists; </li></ul><ul><li>king feared Fascists would replace him w/Aosta; </li></ul><ul><li>his generals sent conflicting reports on the attitude of army toward Fascists (some generals deeply involved w/Fascists); </li></ul><ul><li>army & country might split = civil war </li></ul>
  41. 45. <ul><li>28-29 October 1922 </li></ul><ul><li>King hesitated </li></ul><ul><li>02:00 on 28 Oct. 1922: King declares martial law </li></ul><ul><li>by 10:00 on 28 Oct. 1922: c.12,000 troops deployed at key locations in Rome </li></ul><ul><li>about 10:00 on 28 Oct. 1922: King changes his mind about martial law & seeks compromise w/Mussolini </li></ul>
  42. 46. <ul><li>28-29 October 1922 </li></ul><ul><li>28 Oct. 1922: Facta resigns as PM </li></ul><ul><li>ex-PM Salandra agrees to form govt. that included Mussolini </li></ul><ul><li>Salandra’s efforts fail to gain support </li></ul><ul><li>Mussolini refused to join Salandra </li></ul>
  43. 47. <ul><li>28-29 October 1922 </li></ul><ul><li>Mussolini insists would be PM or nothing = potential vacuum & crisis </li></ul><ul><li>many business leaders had supported Mussolini as PM for some time—result of anti-Socialism </li></ul><ul><li>King faced w/limited options </li></ul>
  44. 48. <ul><li>29 October 1922 </li></ul><ul><li>King Victor Emmanuel III sends a telegram asking Mussolini to meet him to discuss new govt. </li></ul><ul><li>instead of Switzerland, planned destination if he failed, Mussolini boarded a train to Rome </li></ul>
  45. 49. <ul><li>30 October 1922 </li></ul><ul><li>10:42 Mussolini arrives in Rome </li></ul><ul><li>immediately goes to see king still wearing his blackshirt—“I have come straight from battle, which, fortunately, was won without bloodshed.” </li></ul><ul><li>Victor Emmanuel asks Mussolini to form a govt. and be its Prime Minister </li></ul>
  46. 50. <ul><li>31 October 1922 </li></ul><ul><li>Mussolini, wearing formal wear, was sworn in as PM, as well as Foreign & Interior Minister </li></ul><ul><li>Blackshirts descended on Rome, 50,000 strong to parade in front of Mussolini & the King </li></ul><ul><li>Joined by significant number of regular army </li></ul><ul><li>Celebrate their Victory—myth of a heroic revolution—their March on Rome, after Mussolini was PM </li></ul>