Chapter 7 - Chapter 7 Overview The devastations of the war...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Chapter 7 Overview The devastations of the war and the depression had the effect of polarizing the societies of the capitalist powers along lines of class. The appearance of a communist nation on the world stage frightened a significant portion of the middle classes; worker risings in Germany and strikes there and in France, Britain, and Italy convinced many people that workers might indeed take over their countries. Conservative parties took advantage of the rising sense of panic to sharpen their ideologies and make overstated claims about the threat of communism. Businesses, in turn, reading the political tea leaves in their favor, hardened their stance against striking workers. In Britain, the General Strike of 1926 seemed to validate conservative fears and enabled them to pass legislation that restricted the ability of unions to operate on behalf of their members. The Liberal party, traditionally the center party bridging the gap between left and right, lost its capacity to seriously contest elections: the middle classes moved right and found a home in the Conservative party, while working-class men and women flocked to the Labour party. In France, class conflict took on the aspect of two diametrically opposed political groupings. On the right, semi-fascist parties faced the Popular Front, a coalition of moderate and leftist parties. In Italy and Germany, fascist parties came to power with the aim of recuperating national greatness through war. The belligerence of Hitler and the Nazis during the 1930s proved so provocative that the European powers found themselves once again preparing for war against Germany. Fascism and the Rise of Hitler In Italy, a variety of middle-class interests gave their support to the fascist party. Italy had been hurt badly by depression as early as 1919, and a rash of strikes exacerbated middle-class fears of revolution. Under the leadership of Benito Mussolini, the Italian fascists promised to defend against working-class revolution; blackshirted fascists attacked socialists and impressed many with their willingness to take action where others seemed merely to shrug their shoulders. Business leaders appreciated their anti-strike stance, and supported their efforts. After winning a number of local elections by promising to end class conflict through the creation of national unity, Mussolini felt strong enough to force the issue. In September 1922, he began to demand a role in government. In October 1922, at the head of some 50,000 blackshirts, he marched on Rome and took the city. When the prime minister resigned, the king, Victor Emmanuel III, asked Mussolini to form a government. Quickly he moved to establish a dictatorship, abolishing parliamentary government and eliminating opposition through violent means.
Image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern