• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Did Fascism come to power more through its own strengths or through the weakness of its opponents?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Did Fascism come to power more through its own strengths or through the weakness of its opponents? On the 23 March 1919 after a series of Communist demonstrations, the almost forgotten Mussolini decided to attempt to revive his Fascist movement. A meeting was held in a hall in a Milan and was attended by some fifty malcontents. From this seemingly small and insignificant event the Fascio di Combattimento' (Combat Group) was born. Initially, it would seem that the Fasci were destined for failure with none of their candidates including Mussolini winning a single seat in the 1919 elections. By the end of 1919, Mussolini possessed just over 2% of the vote in Milan. It seemed as though the fascist party was dead; the Socialists were so confident of their success that they staged a mock funeral in Milan stopping outside Mussolini's house to invite him to attend the burial of his party. Incredibly, by 1921 the membership of this previously tiny group was to rival the size of the Socialists. How was this achieved? It was certainly by no easy means; Mussolini's skill and luck played a vital role, but he was also helped by the weakness of many of his opponents. ...read more.

Middle

During this period, Fascist thuggery became ever more efficient, claiming 3000 lives of the Socialist supporters, with only 300 Fascist fatalities. Finally, on 26 June 1921 Gioletti's incompetence caught up with him; he was forced to resign due to Fascist opposition in Parliament. A combination of Mussolini's opportunism and skill, and Gioletti's inadequacy to govern Italy had resulted in Gioletti's resignation. The King asked Luigi Facta to head the new Italian government. Deserted by the Popolari' in the summer of 1922, Facta lost his Prime-ministerial position; however, he soon became Prime Minister again on 1 August when no other could be found. Fortunately for Mussolini, Facta did not provide any form of powerful opposition towards him or his party's actions. The very day that Facta formed his new ministry in government, the unions began a general strike. The strike was called in an effort to force the government to halt the Fascist violence; in particular it was a protest against Balbo's actions in Romagna. Unfortunately for the Socialists, they played into Mussolini's hands, for yet again the problem of a socialist revolution was raised. Mussolini cleverly showed the public that he was the man to restore order while in the background he made use of his disorderly supporters. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although initially, the Fascist party had widespread but unorganised support, Mussolini brought a certain national structure and identity to the party. His first contribution was the organization of the party, making it a movement as well as a party, and therefore making it a viable choice in an election. Secondly, Mussolini brought home the importance of opportunism and action as opposed to inactivity and fixed ideologies. However, we must also consider that to a certain extent, the opposition's continued failures and misjudgements almost pushed Mussolini into power. We must also take account of the fact that Mussolini certainly had his fair share of luck. A prime example is the King's refusal to declare a state of emergency, which would have allowed the army to attack the Fascists. However, it was his ability to act out the role of the Italian people's dream leader that gave him the most success. He played upon the post-war crisis, and made it appear that Fascism was the only way in which socialism would be smashed, and Italy's society and status would be rebuilt. To the Italian people, Mussolini was seen at the time a great leader they had been desperately searching for and the only leader who was going to make Italy a great power, and a respected force in the world for which the Italian people wanted. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. Benito Mussolini.

    People who were critical to the regime were spied upon by the OVRA, possibly beaten up and imprisoned. Nevertheless Italian camps held fewer than 5,000 prisoners (Hodder and Stoughton). As in other camps the conditions were hard and tortures occurred.

  2. Mussolini(TM)s rise to power up to 1922 owes more to the failures of others ...

    This amplified the growing social unrest; which in turn gave rise to extremists. At the time of Mussolini's growth, public services were in a bad condition. There were also a high crime, unemployment and inflation rates. Such social problems and the politics of post war Italy gave Mussolini and his

  1. Why did Mussolini's Fascist Party become popular in Italy after the First World War?

    These cannot be the conditions of a perfect state where Mussolini wanted to be regarded as a supreme power of Europe. However, in economics terms, the development of Italian industry and agriculture up to 1939 was far from disastrous- output did increase and big companies did do well.

  2. To what extent was the failure of the Socialist movement responsible for bringing Mussolini ...

    But the Socialists did not reach an agreement with the Catholics, so the Liberals stayed in control. If the Socialists had made a government, it could have eradicated the Fascist movement, so this is definitely one of their failings which helped the Fascists continue their violence and gain power.

  1. Who gained the most from the Lichfield House Compact

    A Poor Rate was also to be collected, half to be paid by the landlord and half to be paid by the tenant. Overall O'Connell didn't achieve much out of this act. The one positive example was that it was the first time the government had looked after the poor in Ireland.

  2. To What Extent Was The Failure Of The Socialist Movement Responsible For Bringing Mussolini ...

    hard to gain the power that they did, and this is indeed another crucial aspect to why the Fascists were able to succeed whilst the Socialists capitulated. It is clear that Mussolini was able to use the Socialist's failings and declining support to boost his own party's image, with these methods having a major effect on Mussolini's rise to power.

  1. Features of Fascism

    Mussolini had succeeded in achieving his first main objective that the new coalition government was generally accepted by liberals and indeed several trade unions and left-wing politicians. Mussolini's road to dictatorial power stemmed from the speed in which he became Prime Minister reflecting how the general disgust with the previous government influenced Parliament to act quickly to solve the problem.

  2. How far was Mussolinis ability to secure and increase his power in the period ...

    squads who often instigated violence in the name of fascist party were allowed under Mussolini?s leadership to continue their extensive use of violence and intimidation, such as in the instance of the May 1921 election polls; over 100 Socialist campaigners were killed as a result of ?unofficial? fascist violence, yet

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work