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Mussolini Rise to Dictatorship

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Mussolini however could not have claimed his rise to power if it weren't for the Liberals crippling themselves due to the split in decisions of the First World War, from then on the Liberals were left with a continuous struggle to maintain the old transformismo system of a coalition government. The introduction of male suffrage in 1918 stemmed the emerge of mass parties adding to the increasing problems of the liberals which again was worsened by Nitti's introduction of proportional representation in 1919 it seemed as though the years went on instead of Italy's political instability being stabelised the Liberals problems worsened making a wider division within the Chamber of Deputies. 1919 went from bad to worse for the Liberals as catholic party (Popalari) emerged, Liberals new support would flood in mass amounts however they also new there co-operation also looked unlikely as the Popalari deplored the Liberals policies. Added stress was inflicted apoun the liberals when the 1919 elections were a disaster they led to the Socialists and the Popalari became the biggest parties in the Chamber of Deputies this however was unconventional as neither of these parties cooperated with one other or the Liberals. 1919 seemed to be the year which Italian politics came to a halt, various prime ministers came and went with numerous failed coalitions to try and salvage Italian politics and in one more bid to save the Liberals Gioltti called for another election in May 1921 however this led to his reconisation when both the Popalari and Socialists party's strength was not weakened but increased by the elections. In the following 16 months all 3 different coalition governments lacked a majority and therefore resulting in the over confident fascists taking matters into there own hands as the other parties failed not only to gain a majority but also failed in self belief and confidence.

Mussolini founded the Fascist movement in 23rd March 1919 when 100 or so ex service men and left wing revolutionaries attended a meeting in Milan which had been advertised in the Popolo D'Italia almost immediately he appealed to the Italians of all classes it was in total contrast to the failing Liberal governments which they were used to. To distinguish themselves from the political parties they so despised, Mussolini was the main speaker and his proposals set the tone of the meeting. Social confusion and political drift in the post war Italy gave Mussolini and his fascists their chance their appeal rested on the ideas of the movement, which appeared to offer direct solutions to the complex social, economic and political grievances of many in the Italian state. Fascism seemed to be a strong and assertive option its uniforms, black shirts and marches with helped toward keeping this facade, the “mutilated victory” and how Fascism proved itself to be the only force prepared to resist advancing socialism in the turbulent years of “Bienno Rosso”. The RAS ruled the years 1920-21 in the countryside with the help of strong leaders such as Italo Balbo and Dino Grandi whom although in helping fascism sought to gain power for themselves. Within a few days Marinetti and Vecchi organized an attack on the socialist newspaper “Avanti”, totally destroying its offices this then led to further violence such as attacks on socialists, union offices and strikes breaking out. Fascism began to spread from Milan first to then other towns of northern and central Italy with the help of the police, army and the courts siding with them. Liberals included had praised Fascism viewing them as not a threat but a help toward defence against a left wing take over. Squadristi thugs under funding from the elites felt abandoned by the government however they were not the only ones who felt this way the support for the squadristi grew as did the lack of courage in their government industrialists, landowners and the petty bourgeoise felt Fascism offered them an advantage and protection from socialism. Mussolini himself new that the time for Fascism was now, he acted quickly and cunningly he used this to take his movement to the right dropping both his anti catholic and capitalist slogans from his programmes, he used his own newspaper the Il Popp D'Italia to hold his movement together and advertise things such as the “March on Rome”. Not only this but Mussolini cleverly convinced Gioltti to introduce the Fascists party into the list of official candidates before the 1919 elections, although this only gained a pitiful 35 seats in total this was still enough for him to be reconised and just a few years latter take the title of Italy's prime minster without even a majority.

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