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Italian Fascism. A Definition of Fascism. Fascism is the totalitarian philosophy of government that glorifies the state and nation and assigns to the state control over every aspect of national life.

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Italian Fascism

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a definition of fascism
A Definition of Fascism

Fascism is the totalitarian philosophy of government that glorifies the state and nation and assigns to the state control over every aspect of national life.

The State not only is authority which governs and molds individual will with laws and values of spiritual life, but it is also power which makes its will prevail abroad….For the Fascist, everything is within the State and…neither individuals nor groups are outside the State...For Fascism, the State is an absolute, before which individuals or groups are only relative….Liberalism denied the State in the name of the individual; Fascism reasserts the rights of the State as expressing the real essence of the individual. -- Enciclopedia Italiana, 1932

characteristics of fascism
Characteristics of Fascism
  • Ideology
    • Nationalism is most important form of loyalty
  • Subordination of the State
    • Glorification of Force
    • Individuals mean nothing
    • To believe, obey and fight
  • Myth of Rebirth
    • National rebirth after decline
    • Spiritual Revolution
    • Purge ‘aliens’ for unifying cause
  • Militarism
  • Sexism
  • Disdain for Human Rights
  • Religion & Government are Intertwined
    • Used religion as a tool to manipulate
    • Jews are the enemy
  • Disdain for Intellectuals & the arts
  • Fraudulent Elections
  • Control of Mass Media
  • Labor Power is suppressed
totalitarianism on the rise
Totalitarianism on the Rise
  • Fascism
    • Middle-class oriented
    • Pro-Business
    • Anti-communist
    • Anti-democratic
    • Violence prone
    • Strength of government against enemies of the state
    • Work camps established for undesirables
    • Control over every aspect of people’s lives
    • Xenophobic
  • Communism
    • Working-class oriented
    • Pro-worker
    • Anti-capitalist
    • Anti-democratic
    • Violence prone
    • Strength of government against enemies of the State
    • Work camps established for Undesirables
    • Control over every aspect of people’s lives
immediate post ww i italy
Immediate Post-WW I Italy
  • Fascism was a product of anxiety and fear among the middle class
      • Economic Distress
      • Weak Government
      • Fear of Communism & Socialism
      • Lack of democratic tradition
      • Appeal to Nationalism
          • A feeling of national shame and humiliation at Italy’s poor treatment by the others
immediate post ww i italy1
Immediate Post-WW I Italy
  • In 1920, the Italian Socialist Party organized militant strikes in northern industrial cities.
  • In response  fascist group “Black Shirts” [squadristi] attacked the Socialists.
  • Mussolini will use them as


benito mussolini 1883 1945
Benito Mussolini (1883-1945)
  • Believed:
    • By 1909, he was convinced that a national revolution was necessary.
    • The war was a turning point for Italy.
    • The returning soldiers would form a new elite state which would transform Italian politics and society!
mussolini comes to power
Mussolini Comes to Power
  • 1921 election  Fascists won only a small number of seats in Parliament.
  • October, 1922  Mussolini threatened a coup d’etat.
    • “March on Rome”  25,000 Black Shirts staged demonstrations.
    • King Victor Emmanuel III forced to name him premier.
mussolini forms a government
Mussolini Forms a Government
  • 1925  Mussolini seized dictatorial powers during a political crisis.
  • New laws passed to create a single-party state:
    • Political parties & trade unions were abolished.
    • Freedom of the press gone.
    • Special courts created to persecute political opposition.
    • Secret police created (OVRA)
the lateran accords 1929
The Lateran Accords (1929)
  • Settled dispute over the Church’s role in Italian politics
  • Terms:
    • The Papacy was granted sovereignty over Vatican City.
    • The Papacy was guaranteed Roman Catholicism as the sole state religion throughout Italy.
    • The Papacy accepted Italian sovereignty over the former Papal States.
the fascist family
The Fascist Family

The Fascists encouraged the development of large families.

  • The first sentence pronounced by children at school was Let us salute the flag in the Roman fashion; hail to Italy; hail to Mussolini.
  • Textbooks emphasized:
    • The glorious past of the ancient Romans.
    • The imperial destiny that awaited Italy’s future development.
anti semitism
  • 50,000 Jews lived in Italy in the 1930s.
  • Mussolini did NOT implement an extermination program.
    • 75% of Italian Jews survived World War II.
    • 8,000 died in German extermination camps.
  • 1938 anti-Semitic laws passed
    • Manifesto degli Scienziati Razzisti [The Manifesto of the Racist Scientists].
      • Excluded foreign Jews [most of them were sent to German death camps].
      • Forbade Jews from teaching.
      • Excluded Jews from serving in government or military.