Mussolini in power from pm to dictator
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Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator. Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator. Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator. November 1922: Problems Facing Mussolini He was 1 of only 4 Fascists in the Cabinet Only 35 Fascists in 535-member Chamber of Deputies

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Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

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Mussolini in power from pm to dictator

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator1

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator2

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • November 1922: Problems Facing Mussolini

  • He was 1 of only 4 Fascists in the Cabinet

  • Only 35 Fascists in 535-member Chamber of Deputies

  • Fascists had won only 7% of vote—power came partly from violence & threat


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator3

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • November 1922: Problems Facing Mussolini

  • Mussolini had no detailed policies & little experience as a leader

  • Mussolini’s coalition faced same problem as earlier ones

  • Fascist supporters split between moderates & radicals


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator4

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1922-1924

  • Why had Mussolini become Prime Minister?

  • Fascist Revolution or Effective Government?

  • Radical Changes or Moderate Normalization?


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator5

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1922-1924

  • Nov. 1922: Parliament passes vote of confidence in new govt.; grant Mussolini emergency powers, 1 yr.

  • Dec. 1922: Mussolini creates Grand Council, cabinet-like org. w/in Fascist Party—way to increase control

  • Jan. 1923: creates new militia paid by state—many from Fascist squadristi


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator6

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1922-1924

  • Oct. 1922 – Jan. 1923:

  • Strengthening power in Fascist Party

  • Moving towards authoritarianism instead of radical changes—passed policies favoring industrialists, agrarian landowners & few for Church

  • European econ0my improving


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator7

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1922-1924

  • Feb. 1923: Nationalist Association joins Fascist Party—strengthens moderate elements of party

  • Mussolini knew support of elites more important than support from radical elements of party

  • Use the powers of the state to reduce & eliminate enemies


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator8

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1922-1924

  • Despite early successes his position as PM still weak

  • King could dismiss him at any time

  • Parliament likely to cooperate w/a successor (small rep. of Fascist in parliament)

  • Needed to control parliament

  • Needed to change election laws to end proportional representation


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator9

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1922-1924

  • ACERBO LAW, July 1923

  • Chamber of Deputies meet to vote on Acerbo Bill—give 2/3 of seats to party w/ most votes in election & having at least 25% of vote

  • Chamber of Deputies—surrounded by blackshirts—passed the Acerbo Law, 303 - 40


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator10

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1922-1924

  • Corfu Incident, Aug. 1923: foreign policy success demonstrating Italy’s growing strength

  • Fiume, Jan. 1924: Italy gains control of Fiume

  • Major foreign policy successes helped Mussolini’s reputation & support


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator11

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1922-1924

  • April 1924 Election (Acerbo Law in effect)

  • Govt. list of approved candidates, non-Fascists

  • Leftist opposition remained split

  • Heavy govt. influence in election process

  • Militia violence v. Socialists

  • Opposition meetings disrupted & voters intimidated

  • Fascist voters often allowed more than 1 vote


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator12

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1922-1924

  • April 1924 Election

  • A. Lyttleton, The Seizure of Power:

    “the use of violence, police repression and electoral fraud was on such a large scale that the expression of popular will was radically falsified.”

  • Fascist won 66% of vote w/275 Deputies (100 others)


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator13

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1922-1924

  • April 1924 Election

  • Fascist now have control & full power of State at their disposal

  • Official critics would be targeted; violence & intimidation by squadristi continues along w/ govt sanctioned violence; Socialist meetings, buildings, publications, members attacked


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator14

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

“Italy has never been so united as she is today… Fascismo has abolished the game of parliamentary chess; it has also simplified the taxation system and reduced the deficit to manageable proportions; it has vastly improved the public services, particularly the railways; it has reduced the superfluously large bureaucracy without any bad results in the way of hardships or unemployment; it has pursued a vigorous and fairly successful colonial policy. All this represents hard and useful work, but the chief boon upon Italy are national security and national self-respect…

Fascismo has had a great deal of courage, very considerable wisdom and immense luck… it has deserved the sincere birthday greetings of the world.”

—The Times, 31 October 1923


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator15

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1922-1924

  • Murder of GiacomoMatteotti, June 1924

  • Leader of the Socialists

  • Member of the Chamber of Deputies

  • Leading opponent of Mussolini & Fascists


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator16

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1922-1924

  • Matteotti to Chamber of Deputies, 30 May 1924:

    “No one has been free because every citizen knew… that even had he dared with majority support to express his opposition the government had a force at its disposal that would have nullified his words… We are defending the sovereign freedom of the Italian people… by demanding the nullification of the elections.”

  • “Now you can prepare my funeral oration.”—to colleagues as he left the chamber


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator17

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1922-1924

  • Mussolini in Il Popolo, 31 May 1924:

    “Matteotti made a speech of an outrageously provocative nature which should deserve some more concrete reply than the label scoundrel.”


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator18

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1922-1924

  • 1o June 1924: Matteotti forced into a car

  • License plate number of the car (55 12169) belonged to a leading Fascist

  • Investigation led to leader (Dumini) of a secret hit squad called Cheka

  • “Nine Homicides” Dumini, was personal asst. to Cesare Rossi, Mussolini’s press secretary


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator19

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1922-1924

  • Did Mussolini order the murder? Did he know about it? Was he involved in any way?

  • Widespread outrage in Italy: newspapers, demonstrations, torn up Fascist membership cards

  • Was Mussolini head of a terrorist regime?

  • Was he the head of a strengthened form of parliamentary govt. that operated w/in law?


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator20

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1922-1924

  • June 1924: Aventine Secession

  • Most opposition deputies walked out of Parliament in protest to Mussolini’s govt.

  • Met elsewhere & declared themselves the true representatives of the Italian people

  • Expected the King to dismiss Mussolini


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator21

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1922-1924

  • Mussolini’s Position June 1924-Dec.1924:

  • repression & concession—press censorship increased; militia mobilized & integrated into army; loyalty oath to King; Rossi & chief of police fired; Mussolini steps down as Interior Minister

  • Ras & radicals wanted Mussolini to seize power in dictatorship

  • Dec. 1924 evidence implicated Mussolini in Matteotti’s assassination


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator22

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1922-1924

  • Mussolini’s Position June 1924-Dec.1924:

  • radicals in Fascist Party saw power slipping from them unless Mussolini acted

  • 31 Dec. 1924: tense meeting of Fascist Party

  • Mussolini vacillation ended


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator23

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1922-1924

  • 3 Jan. 1925: Mussolini addresses Chamber of Deputies

  • Mussolini takes responsibility for Fascism

  • not for Matteotti’s murder

  • Dictatorship to go into effect in 48 hours

  • Process of Dictatorship Began (completed May 1928)


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator24

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

How did Mussolini survive the Matteotti Crisis?

King Victor Emmanuel III unwilling to act—safer to keep Mussolini in office & had learned lesson

Elite not completely happy, but thought had done a good job—esp. given alternatives

Church—Mussolini had saved Italy from Socialism

Army—would obey the King

Moderate Deputies—saw Mussolini weakened & thought could control him

Opposition unable to cooperate

Ras wanted dicatorship


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator25

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

How did Mussolini survive the Matteotti Crisis?

“Mussolini panicked and would have resigned had the King required it. The King did not demonstrating the unwillingness of conservatives even now to abandon Mussolini, partly from fear of a left-wing revival and partly in the hope of exploiting Mussolini’s vulnerability to increase their influence over him.”

—M. Blinkhorn, Mussolini and Fascist Italy


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator26

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

How did Mussolini survive the Matteotti Crisis?

“The reluctant attitudes of the King and Pope summarized the problems in a nutshell: the Italian power structure was slow to admit that its creature, Fascism, was out of control, and without leadership from the power structure, the anti-Fascist opposition remained fragmented and embryonic.”

—A. Cassels, Fascist Italy


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator27

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

How did Mussolini survive the Matteotti Crisis?

“His victory, once again, owed much to the militant squads and to their power in the provinces; and, once again, it owed much to the King’s unwillingness to use the army against the Fascists. Yet once again, it was not inevitable. If the opposition parties had been present in the Chamber… or if the Rossi memorandum had not been published when it was [during holidays]… or if the militia ‘consuls’ had not put pressure on in late December, or if the elder statesmen… had shown more initiative, then Mussolini might have fallen… the King had decided, and Mussolini was safe.”

—M. Clark, Modern Italy 1871-1982


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator28

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1925-1928

  • Arrests of opponents

  • Increasingly repressive decrees & laws

  • Fascist Movement into a personal dictatorship—centralized control of party into a govt. ministry then fired the Ras leader in charge of the ministry


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator29

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1925-1928

  • Jan. 1925: arrests & closing of hostile organizations

  • All Fascist Cabinet

  • Dopolavoro, mass leisure org., established

  • Oct. 1925: Battle for Grain—make Italy self-sufficient (economic policy)

  • Dec. 1925: greater press censorship

  • Dec. 1925: Law on Powers of Head Government—gives Mussolini great executive power—rule by decree


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator30

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1925-1928

  • Feb. 1926: elected mayors replaced by appointed podestas

  • April 1926: strikes forbidden; youth organization, Balilla, created

  • July 1926: Ministry of Corporations established

  • Oct. 1926: opposition parties banned


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator31

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1925-1928

  • Nov. 1926: Special Tribunal for the Defense of the State—wide admin powers including arrests w/o justification

  • Nov. 1926: OVRA established—secret police

  • Nov. 1926: all press freedom ended


Mussolini in power from pm to dictator32

Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

  • Mussolini, 1925-1928

  • Parliament: lost power to intiate laws; Mussolini responsible to King not parliament

  • Local Govt: judges, civil servants & teachers purged; elected councils eliminated; podestas

  • Judiciary: repressive administrative powers w/o need resort to former republican judicial system

  • Trade Unions: strikes & lockouts illegal, Fascist unions recognized as only legal unions

  • Fascists: Mussolini centralized Party under his leadership

  • Opponents: all non-Fascist parties banned

  • Electoral Laws: plebiscite system replaced individually elected MPs


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