Mussolini - Mussolinis initial program We declare war on...

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Mussolini’s initial program: - “We declare war on socialism not because it is socialist but because it has opposed nationalism” Socialistic programming: - Against political parties - Against parliamentary government - Elections to determine if the population wanted a monarchy - Republic - Universal suffrage including for women - Abolish conscription - Equal rights for women - Anti-clerical (against Catholic Church) - Heavy graduated income tax - Close all banks and stock exchanges - Worker’s rights: 8 hour day, minimum wage, retirement age of 55, workers should control industry - Peasants’ rights: peasants should control the land Nationalistic components: - Italy’s superior place in the world - Regaining the Roman Empire (Romanitá; Mare Nostrum) - Other countries will respect and fear Italy - Glorification of war - Militarism Dictatorship: totalitarianism – the state superseded all; state above the individual Fascists of the First Hour: earliest members; creating the idea of an elite within fascist society November 1919: Not one fascist won a seat in parliament To gain power, Mussolini would change what he emphasized depending on whom he was addressing - downplayed anti-Catholicism Creation of his paramilitary organization: Squadristi (Black Shirts) - Militia - Formed out of ex-soldiers (veterans) who were disillusioned with the treatment they received from the government - Violent Mussolini would hire them out to industrialists and landowners to suppress working-class movements Ras : Regional or provincial leaders of fascism - revolutionary in nature - wanted to establish a true fascist regime November 1921: Formation of the PNF: Fascist Nationalist Party January 1922: Creation of a Fascist Labor Organization Expansion and Breakthrough: 1920-1922 How Mussolini appealed to different groups in Italian society: He was seen as a protest against the existing government and parties who were seen as doing nothing Upper classes – exploited their fear of communism; in his speeches, he played up the threat of communism Lower classes: attracted to the socialist program and felt that the PSI had done little to support them Nationalists + veterans: supported his pro-military and expansionist policies
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Military: the Army was sympathetic to Fascism because of the number of veterans in the Squadristi Weaknesses and errors in Italian government: - Alienated socialists – no one would collaborate with them - Lack of gains at Versailles - Appeared soft on workers o Lock-ins: the workers would lock out the managers and owners and continue working to show good faith but to protest conditions - Expelled D’Annunzio from Fiume - Coalitions kept on collapsing - Government was in debt - Parliamentary paralysis: due to tenuous coalitions, a government cannot act All of these conditions led the Italian people to think that parliamentary government was not effective March on Rome: In October 1922 Mussolini addressed the country and called for the people to march on Rome and take power from the government - this threat caused the government to react - strong fear of civil war -
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