Was Force More Important Than Persuasion In Mussolini's Consolidation Of Power Between 1924 And 1929? (In Which I Argue The Other Side)

1942 words - 8 pages

In a speech to parliament, Mussolini promised he would give Italy peace and quiet 'if possible in love, but if necessary by force.' This statement well explains Mussolini's methods of consolidation. Up to 1926, the early years of his dictatorship, Mussolini employed predominantly forceful methods to consolidate his power quickly. Then, from 1926 onwards, when his position was secured he used principally persuasive methods to maintain support. Therefore, although Mussolini used both force and persuasion, in the consolidation of power force was the more important factor. The type of force most associated with the Fascist regime is squadristi violence, but force is also synonymous with the removal of choice; for example, through censorship and the banning of political parties of the opposition.The most immediately threatening institutions over which Mussolini needed to assert his control in order to become dictator were those of government. The significance of Mussolini's control over government to his rule of Italy meant that he tackled these institutions at the beginning of his regime. Mussolini's control over the king was based predominantly on persuasion; for example he placated him with twice weekly visits to imply he was involving the king in policy. Mussolini relied on persuasion and the apparent unwillingness of the king to take action until 1928 when the king lost his right to elect Prime Minister. Control over parliament was achieved in 1924 with the Acerbo Law and following election. Theoretically this occurred through the persuasion of parliament to pass the law and then the persuasion of the people to vote for Mussolini in the next election and it would be unfair to suggest that persuasion played no part in the outcome of the election. Mussolini was armed with examples of the previous weak Liberal governments to persuade parliament to pass the law, and his talent as an orator enabled him to 'bring popular passion to a frenzy'. However the looming presence of the squads, preventing opposition voters from reaching the polls and pacing the halls where the ballots took place, suggests that intimidation played a large if not predominant role in the results of the election which thus secured the Fascist party a majority in Parliament. In 1925 when Mussolini announced his dictatorship, the Legge Fascistissime was passed exerting a final measure of control over parliament by banning opposition parties. Continuing with the theme of force, Mussolini carried out a purge of the judiciary, replacing those removed with Fascists, and Local government was to be abolished and replaced with officials from Rome. By 1926 Parliament was under Mussolini's complete control and no further consolidation was necessary. Therefore by 1926 Mussolini achieved control over government institutions primarily through force. After 1926 Mussolini focussed his attention on other areas of society.By 1924 Mussolini had already asserted much control over the Fascist party...

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