Italy- The rise of Mussolini and the creation of a fascist dictatorship…
Italy- The rise of Mussolini and the creation of a fascist dictatorship 1919-26
The Mutilated Victory
Italy received Trentino, Trieste and occupied Istria and northern Dalmatia. However the failure to gain Fiume and African colonies undermined the Liberal government.
D'Annunzio described it as a mutilated victory, a national shame that had disgraces the 600,000 soldiers who had lost their lives in the war. It demonstrated the weakness of the Liberal government and Italy's low position in comparison to other European powers
Occupation of Fiume
In September 1919 D'Annunzio alongside Nationalists, army officers and industrialists, led a coup to seize Fiume. The occupation lasted 15 months as the government failed to act. On Christmas day 1920 Giolitti's new government sent in the Italian navy to remove D'Annunzio.
Gave opponents more momentum and showed the weakness of the government. D'Annunzio's actions influenced Mussolini and the Fascist movement.
By November 1919 unemployment reached 2 million
Millions of demobilised soldiers flooded the job market
Inflation was high and the lira collapsed in value
The two major munitions companies, Ansaldo and Ilva collapsed in 1921
1919-1920 Biennio Rosso
Membership of the socialist unions had grownfrom 250,000 in 1918 to 2 million by 1920
The largest strike took place in September 1920 with over 400,000 workers taking over factories for nearly 4 weeks
Italy was rocked by major strikes, factory occupations and violent riots.
The method of voting was changed to proportional representation
The amount of people allowed to vote had increased by 11 million (all Italians who had served at the front any any other male over 21 could now vote
1919 election - PSI won the greatest share of the vote with 32%
The Fascists did poorly in the 1919 election winning less than 5,000 votes and no seats in parliament
By the end of 1921 the PNF had around 200,000 members- It appealed to urban middle class, professional white collar workers and small business owners
In January 1921 the more radical members of the PSI split to form the PCI with support from Russia. This split weakened the political strength of the left-wing. However the PCI wanted revolution to end the capitalist system in Italy but it was too small provide a political threat
The 1921 election was a disaster for Giolitti and he resigned
The Fasci di Combattimento was formed March 1919 in Milan
Mussolini started as a strong socialist but was moving towards the right wing
Mussolini hoped to destroy the liberal order and create a trincerocrazia that would rule Italy
The party's programme was quite vague at this stage but included: the confiscation of all church property, an end to the monarchy, the formation of a republic, universal suffrage
The party grew quickly having 3,000 members by June 1919
In October 1921 the movement was organised into a formal political party (the PNF)
The fascists found themselves into small, military squads known as squadrismo.
In April 1919 a fascist squad of around 200-300 dressed in black and carrying pistols attacked a socialist demonstration in Milan and burned down the Milan offices of Avanti
In July 1921 Mussolini called for an end to squadristi violence