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Mussolini's Rise To Power As A Direct Consequence Of World War One

1029 words - 4 pages

Mussolini's Rise to Power as a Direct Consequence of World War One

Italians were divided on their decision of whether or not join WW1.
Most Nationalists were in favour of joining, and although the King
wished for peace, the government decided to see which side would offer
the best terms. After signing The Treaty Of London with B and F which
offered them huge territorial gains they eventually declared war on
Austria in May 1915. The Nationalist poet d'Annunzio made a speech in
which he showed his enthusiasm for the war, "We shall now fight our
war, and blood will flow from the veins of Italy. We are the last to
enter the struggle but will be among the first to find glory". In
reality although Italy was on the victorious side they did not find
glory and their country was severely affected. Was it therefore
inevitable that someone with Mussolini's' personality and drive would
eventually take power in post war Italy?

WW1 proved disastrous for Italy, the land they had been promised in
the Treaty of London, the deal made with B and F was not given to
them. The people of Italy felt that the government had not delivered
what they had promised. D'annunzio who had initially supported the war
marched into the city of Fiume and took charge in declaration of
Nationalism in Italy. The government did nothing to suppress this
showing their weakness in failing to sort out Italy's problem at this
time, eg the economy and social state of the country.

Economically Italy was hit very badly by WW1, they had relied on
foreign loans to finance their war effort and once the war was over
Italy as well as the rest of Europe was now in state of economic
hardship. Their was large scale unemployment which was aggravated by
the return of soldiers from the front, who were also resentful that
they had fought for their country whilst others stayed at home and
many took both their land and their jobs. Foreign trade was at a
virtual standstill and inflation rose rapidly. By the end of the war
the Italian Lira was at only one fifth of its pre war value. Not
surprisingly then in 1919 support for socialism was high, unemployed
workers and peasants began to riot and stir up strikes throughout the
country. The government did intervene however and reforms were made.
The socialists were weakened after that, but as I will show Mussolini
took full advantage of the situation, using it as a possible Communist
threat and therefore exploiting the opportunity to gain support from
anti socialists.

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