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Why Fascism Failed Essay

1784 words - 7 pages

Goncalves 1William GoncalvesMs. Smolders26 May 2014CHY 4U1The Development of FascismBy definition, Fascism can be defined as "a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism" (dictionary.reference.com). Fascism was a reactionary political movement sparked by the chaos caused by the First World War. It was seen as a means to censor and control the population through tyranny and intimidation. Fascism was successful in Europe because they promoted nationalism, and promised the financially desperate people of Europe prosperity and evolution. Fascism also became a more attractive choice to Italy and Germany because they were afraid of a revolution similar to that of Russia. Political, economic, and social factors in Germany, Italy and Russia allowed for fascism to develop, while in Great Britain, these very same factors prevented the evolution and integration of fascism.Fascism first emerged in Italy in 1919, under Benito Mussolini; an editor for a socialist newspaper. Fascism began as a way to seek nationalism, modern development and activism that nurtured idealistic thought, violence and anti-materialism (Payne). A totalitarian system was beginning to become adopted by even the most right wing governments. The idea of Communism was becoming more acceptable because of a dictator's ability to make quick, concise decisions that would not be possible in a free democratic country. Italy was a part of the Allies in the First World War, with the incentive that they could potentially gain some territory from the Austro-Hungarians and the Turks. However, these hopes were not realized by the peace settlement in the Treaty of Versailles, as they were left frustrated because they were expecting more territory for their contributions and sacrifices. This caused disappointment in Italy, which the nationalist and fascist parties used to promote their ideas and helped to convince the population that they were being betrayed by the Allies (Banyard). Italy incurred a total loss of 700,000 soldiers and a budget deficit of $12 billion, which left Italy in a dire economic situation. Social strife was rampant: workers were going on strike, peasants were taking land from their landowners and there were huge numbers of demobilized soldiers left unemployed. With the end of the war also came the fear of a revolution similar to Russia's Communist revolution in 1917, causing many anti-communists to turn to extremely right wing groups. In 1921, the most extreme was the "Fasci di combattimento" led by Benito Mussolini. Italy's current government was a Parliamentary democracy led by the unpopular Prime Minister Giolitti. His government was not functioning effectively, and the other political parties were weak, unorganized and ministers were ruling by decree (Kagan). This was met by extreme discontent from the Italian...

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