The Rise of Fascism in Italy

The Rise of Fascism in Italy
Benito Mussolini
Goals of Fascism:
• Attack and destroy Liberalism – to undo
the legacy of the Enlightenment and the
French Revolution and eradicate the
growing threat of Marxism
• Create a new era in history – a new
civilization not based on individual rights or
collective humanity, but “recognizing the
bond of blood that would unite and
regenerate a nation.”
Compare Liberal democracy with Fascism:
• Liberalism and the
spirit of the
Use of reason & logic
Intelligent discussion
Critical analysis
• Fascism praised…
Feeling, emotion,
instinct, desire and
• Fascism glorified
action; praised brutal
and primitive
The “duplicity” of Fascism- dictatorship of the Right
• Drew support from the lower & middle
classes – all those frightened by Marxism
• Real power was from the ruling elitesproperty owners who wanted no
interference with their private property.
- post-war unrest in Italy
• Humiliated by the
Paris Peace Treaty
• On the verge of
economic collapse
• Widespread
• Treasury was empty
• Food shortages
• Inflation
• Labor war-strikes and
Fascism was born amid crisis
• Italian govt was weak
and divided
• Veterans seized land
• Workers took over
• Tenant-peasants did
not pay their rents
• Marxists & Socialists
were gaining in
Mussolini presented himself as an answer
• March 1919- organized
jobless veterans into
terror squads of blackshirted “Fascisti” –
• beat up striking workers
and their liberal
• destroyed union
• disrupted meetings,
planted bombs and
harassed socialist
- Mussolini’s failure:
• As dictator, he never
established the
totalitarian state like
Stalin or Hitler…
• To his credit, he
hesitated to use the
ruthless methods of
the Nazis and Soviets
Biographical sketch: 1883-1945
• Trouble-maker in school,
but ranked 1st on final
exams in four subjects
• 1901-Elementary school
• 1902- Editor of Socialist
newspaper - Switzerland
to avoid military service
• 1911-1915 arrested &
jailed 11 times
• 1915 Joins the army
• 1919- Organized the
Fascist Party
-October 1922: “The March on Rome”
• Socialist & Unionists called for a General Strike
• King Emanuel III appointed Mussolini premier
and gave him emergency powers
Nationalism gone wild
• Propaganda urged
the restoration of the
Roman Empire
• Idealized life without
crime, poverty or
social turmoil
• Slogan:
Believe! Obey! Fight!
-The Corporate State
• The Fascist way of
dealing with the
tension between and
ownership worker :
• Abolished labor
unions, prohibited
strikes and allowed the
corporation to work for
the best solutions
The Axis powers:
• Nov 1, 1936, The
Rome-Berlin Axis
• June 10, 1940,
Mussolini joined with
Nazi Germany
declaring war on
Britain and France
• Neither man
survived the conflict
they started
Mussolini’s inglorious end…