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The Difficulty Of Liberal And Democratic Politicians To Oppose The Rise Of Fascism In The Years 1919 1922

994 words - 4 pages

The Difficulty of Liberal and Democratic Politicians to Oppose the Rise of Fascism in the Years 1919-1922

Liberal politicians found it difficult to oppose the rise of Fascism
because of the various problems in Italy which they did not tackle.
These include the widespread discontent over the result of the war and
the ‘mutilated’ victory, the economic dislocation brought about by the
war, the socialist threat in the two red years and the weaknesses of
the Liberal Government itself. Italians turned to the Fascists because
they promised to solve these problems and give Italy a strong
government and make it powerful.

One of the difficulties the Liberal Government faced in opposing the
rise of Fascism was the response to the outcome of the Great War and
the spread of nationalist feelings throughout Italy. Not only did
Italy suffer great losses in the during war itself, for example the
huge losses it suffered in the Battle of Capporetto , but it did not
receive all the land it was promised before Italy entered the war in
the Treaty of London. Italy received 14,500 sq km of land yet all
Italians saw was the fact that Italy was not allowed to have the
Dalmatian coast or to take Fiume because US President Woodrow Wilson
wanted these places to remain free from foreign control. Italians saw
this as a great humiliation and as a ‘mutilated’ victory. This was
followed by the spread of Nationalist feelings throughout Italy which
encouraged the growth of Fascism which had Nationalistic and
Imperialistic elements and promised to make Italy strong.

Another difficulty the liberals faced in opposing the rise of the
Fascists was the economic situation in Italy after the war and the
promises of the Fascists to solve the problems. The war years saw a
surge in industrialisation in the Milan-Turin-Genoa triangle to meet
the Liberal Governments demands for ammunition which together with
food supplies, pension payments, and soldiers’ wages became very
expensive. The liberals paid for it by borrowing money but by the end
of the war Italy was 85 billion lire in debt, 4 times the 1914 figure.
Also, the liberals paid for it by simply printing more money and in
1918 inflation rates rose 25% faster than wage rate. By 1919 the lire
lost half its value. Also the reduction in the need for munitions
after the way severely affected the war industries. This, together
with the rapid demobilisation of troops caused unemployment to rise
from 2 million to 5 million after the war. This economic dislocation
gave...

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