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Italy Under Mussolini. Problems After World War 1. Did not get the territories promised by the Allies Unfamiliar with democracy. The franchise was extended only in 1913 Proportional Representation caused unstable governments. Economic Problems.

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Italy Under Mussolini

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problems after world war 1
Problems After World War 1
  • Did not get the territories promised by the Allies
  • Unfamiliar with democracy. The franchise was extended only in 1913
  • Proportional Representation caused unstable governments
economic problems
Economic Problems
  • Rural Italy was very poor, and the farmers wanted land reform
  • Urban workers called for better wages and working conditions
  • All of this frightened big business and landowners-they were afraid of communism, which threatened their fortunes and positions
rise of the fascists
Rise of the Fascists
  • Benito Mussolini-former socialist and newspaper editor
  • When his socialist approach did not bring political power, he switched his political philosophy
  • Fascism: anti-labour, anti-liberal, anti-Communist, and anti-democratic
  • It appealed to people because they saw liberal democracies unable to solve Italy’s problems
  • Mussolini’s beliefs attracted many followers among the lower classes and from the very highest classes (distrusted communism)
  • Mussolini made up the philosophy as he went along
march on rome
March on Rome
  • 1921 election: the Fascists won only 35 of 535 seats
  • Even though he couldn’t win an election, Mussolini’s Blackshirts used violence to intimidate the government.
  • Mussolini (hiding out in Milan in case things did not go well), threatened to March on the government on Rome. The government asked King Victor Emmanuel III to declare a state of emergency. He refused fearing that it would lead to a civil war.
  • Mussolini hopped on a train and arrived in time to lead the Blackshirts into Rome (Oct. 1922)
establishing order
Establishing Order
  • Quickly passed the Acerbo Act-any party with the most votes in an election automatically got two-thirds of the seats in the government.
  • When Socialist Giacomo Matteotti complained, he was murdered. Mussolini survived the political fallout, and actually increased his power.
timeline establishing a dictatorship
Timeline/Establishing a Dictatorship
  • 1925-freedom of the press ended
  • 1926-anti-Fascist parties were suppressed
  • 1927-OVRA-Secret Police force formed
  • 1928-Parliament no longer elected, but members appointed by the Fascists
  • 1929-Mussolini signed the Lateran Treaty with the Catholic Church-The Church ended its complaints about the Fascists, and in return got ownership of Vatican City
economic policies
Economic Policies
  • Autarky-Italy wanted to be self-sufficient but its policies did not lead to this
  • Italians were forced to grow more wheat (but at the expense of other crops)
  • unions were outlawed-replaced by “Corporations” (organizations representing each major industry). The Corporations always favoured business over labour.
  • Mussolini arbitrarily raised the value of the lira-this hurt exports
  • Did some good work (as the British always said of Italy, “The trains run on time”), but Italy remained a poor country