Analyse The Historical And Contemporary Conditions In Italy Leading To A Fascist Government In 1922, And Comment On The View That A Seizure Of Power Took Place

2184 words - 9 pages

In order to analyse the historical and contemporary conditions in Italy leading to a fascist government in 1922, I will consider and illustrate a number of relevant points. That is the historical aspects being industrial and democratic weaknesses. The contemporary factors being; the threat of communism, the growing anarchism in Italian urban areas and the feeling of antipathy over the Versailles Treaty, particularly the idea that Italians had been cheated, demonstrated by the Fiume affair and that these factors stimulated and energized the growth of nationalism, the driving force of fascism. In addition to these industrial and contemporary factors there is also a consideration that the fascist's rise to power was aided by Mussolini's apparent seizure of power.Since the unification of Italy in 1870 the new state suffered from economic weaknesses. Italy's degree of industrialisation was quite small and largely confined to the north, described as the 'Industrial Triangle', situated between Turin, Milan and Genoa, however this industrialisation was only possible with government subsidies. In addition to this Italy lacked the raw materials needed for the successful continuation of this industry, crucially coal and iron-ore, therefore these raw materials had to be expensively imported from variouscountries in order to maintain Italy's iron and steel industry. The south of Italy was little help in this industrial struggle as it was purely based around agriculture.The First World War had a devastating affect on Italy and post-WWI Italy's economic problems continued. The standard of living declined due to a lack of government money - a direct result of heavy government borrowing to finance the war, in particular from the USA, who now requested theses debts be repaid. In addition to this the lira declined in value through 1914-1921 from 5 lira to the dollar to 28 lira to the dollar, additionally 2.5 million soldiers were returning from the war and heavy industry was cutting back it's wartime production, consequently the cost of living increased by five times and unemployment was massive and out of control.In terms of democratic weakness Italian governments between the period 1870-1914 made numerous economic, political and military mistakes. For example, in 1882 Italy, in order to aid her claim to be a "New European Power" joined the "Duel Alliance" of Germany and the Habsburg Empire to form the "Triple Alliance". This alliance would later prove to be a mistake and by 1915 Italy had recognised her own weakness and secretly withdrew from the Triple Alliance in favour of the "Triple Entente" of Britain, France and Russia. Italian leadershipand politics then, was highly problematic and between 1919-1922 it had become increasingly polarised. Governments had set about trying to reform Italy by introducing a compulsory two-year education programme at primary level. However, this was too short a time to ensure competent literacy and it was also considered too...

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