Why Did Mussolini's Power Survive The Matteotti Crisis?

1232 words - 5 pages

There was a range of factors contributing to Mussolini's prevailing power throughout the Matteotti affair. Whilst there was an initial public furore surrounding the murder of the Anti-Fascist politician, a range of groups and support from these parties meant that Mussolini was to triumph. The King, the Army and the Elite of Italian society were the main factors in Mussolini's continued support.King Victor Emmanuel III was a great advocate of Mussolini. Although he had ultimate power, the ability to remove the Prime Minister from his office at any time, he had no intention of exercising this right at that moment in time, even with many voices of dissent emerging. He stated that he was 'blind and deaf' to such pressure until such a time as Mussolini no longer held a parliamentary majority, more or less ignoring the Aventines completely - labelling them as 'unconstitutional'. The King had his own reasons for rejecting the Aventines too, in that they possessed republican tendencies. He also noted in his diary that support for Mussolini would still be found from Salandra - almost as though attempting to justify his position. You could argue that the King was a weak man and lacked the stomach for a tough decision like imposing his authority in such a way, but such apparent devout support would suggest a certain sympathy to Mussolini's beliefs and approval of the very real action the Prime Minister was taking to secure the state's supremacy. Of course a predominant factor in the King's decision to support Mussolini, and indeed in many others, was the fear of the 'Red Tide' of Socialism and Communist ideologies in general.Also influenced by the fear of a Socialist revolution were the Elites of Italian political and civil society, Industrialists whose natural alliance was with the right wing groups as they stood to lose the most in the scenario of a communist state, seeing Mussolini as being victorious in saving Italy from the threat of 'Bolshevism'. They were a powerful source of support as they exercised a wide power base throughout Italy in terms of the economy and were often affiliated with politics and official affairs, so they could offer support for Fascism in the right places. Interestingly, the Pope was also a leading figure in support for Mussolini - if only by inference. The Vatican's "Osservatore Romano" quoted a passage from the bible reading 'let he who is without sin cast the first stone', effectively forgiving Mussolini for his sins and suggesting that he was no worse than the majority of politicians. A quote from such a source would doubtless be taken very seriously indeed, and more likely than not influence many people throughout Italy to look at Mussolini in a more positive light.The other important group which was to present an influence on Mussolini's continued power was the Army. They were another group that resented Socialism (due to its very nature and well known anti-war stance) and wanted to express their open support for Fascism...

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