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Italy And Mussolini I Why Did The Fascists Come To Power In 1922?

1413 words - 6 pages

The question regarding why fascists came to power in Italy during 1922 is a complex one. There are many contributing factors to consider before a clear answer can be provided, but is it submitted that the role of the Italian King is the most significant. It can be argued that to provide an accurate response to this question, one must generate two answers. The first answer must clarify which single event resulted in the fascists achieving power and the second answer must discuss the actions which contributed towards the rise of fascism. The following essay shall generate these answers and additionally argue the relative importance of the role of the King, the failure of liberal parliamentary government to deal with the problems and disillusion of post-war Italy, the appeal of fascism to wide sections of the Italian people, Mussolini's opportunism and flexibility, and the fear of revolution coupled with the apparent security offered by fascism.As mentioned, it can be submitted that the King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III, was the final barrier the fascists had to confront in their rise to power and subsequently the most significant factor in how the fascists came to power in 1922. It was his failure to declare martial law in the face of Mussolini's March on Rome in which Mussolini stated he would seize government that led to a succession of events which resulted in Mussolini achieving the title of prime minister and the fascists controlling government. It is noted that the King had stated that the army would be unable to stop Mussolini's camice nere, black shirts, and so he had decided to try and compromise with Mussolini. However, this claim was challenged by military leaders at that time and furthermore in later years by surviving military records. These claims demonstrate that if the regular army had stood up to this threat, Mussolini and his black shirts would have been defeated, given that they were essentially outnumbered and ill-equipped. Subsequently the Mussolini and the fascism era of Italian history would not have taken place. This appears to be the answer as to why the fascists came to power. The discussion, however, can not end there. Previous events must be considered, as it was these events which allowed the fascists to be in a strong enough position to be successful in using the threat of violence.The failures of the liberal parliamentary government are arguably factors of considerable importance as to how the fascists came to be such a position of popularity. It is essential to declare that the opponents of Mussolini do not include the King as he did not resist Mussolini. The liberal parliamentary government faced struggles following World War I which included economic decline and the nation's discontent with the peace treaty. With Italy suffering from economic decline, mass unemployment and a considerable decrease in Italian tourism and export trade, the country was left poor and in debt with its people searching for a way out....

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