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To What Extent Was The Failure Of The Socialist Movement Responsible For Bringing Mussolini To Power?

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Introduction

To What Extent Was The Failure Of The Socialist Movement Responsible For Bringing Mussolini To Power? In 1922, following several years of hard work by the Fascists, Benito Mussolini was sworn in as Italy's Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Interior Minister by King Victor Emmanuel. However this event did not simply just happen, as many different factors built up to Mussolini's appointment. It is certainly arguable that the failure of the Socialist movement was responsible for bringing Mussolini to power, but it is undoubtedly not the only factor that led to this fateful appointment. However, a large majority of these other factors can be linked back to Socialist failures, and so therefore I believe that the failure of Socialism is the most important reason for Mussolini coming to power in 1922. Despite having a growing amount of support in the post-War period, the Socialists had a number of clear underlying weaknesses that Mussolini would be able to exploit, and which therefore were extremely beneficial to him gaining power. The party lacked real order and a strong leader, attributes that Mussolini intended to instil into his party and to exploit to gain support. Historians argue that the Fascists were able to drastically over exaggerate the threat of Socialism to those even remotely opposed to the Socialists, and evidence appears to back this theory up. A prime example of this is the events surrounding the proposed General Strike of August 1922. The Socialist's plans to take action drastically backfired, when through a lack of support and a small resistance from the Fascists, their efforts failed after a day. ...read more.

Middle

By taking advantage of this hostility, and by using many of the other actions that have and will be discussed, he believed that he would be able to gain power within Italy, and this certainly proved to be the case. This is also an extremely important point when analysing how strongly Mussolini felt about his party's ideologies. It is widely argued that he was purely interested in gaining power by using whatever means he had available to him, and the ease at which he shifted his ideology appears to back up this theory. Following the 1919 elections, the elections of 1921 also played a vital role in Mussolini's rise to power. For the first time, Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti placed the Fascist party on his electoral role. Giolitti enjoyed the support of the Fascists, and tolerated the violence used against their opposition and to gain control of local governments. His belief that the Fascists would prove to be a more moderate and responsible party upon taking power is an excellent example of how Mussolini was able to manipulate important people to achieve his ambitions throughout his rise to power. Within the election itself, the Socialists (approximately 30%) and the Catholic party gained the most votes, but with such conflicting ideas they in effect cancelled each other out. This meant that a coalition Liberal government became the dominant party, which played right into Mussolini's hands. With such an easily exploitable party in control, the Fascists would be able to prove how important they were to Italy's stability by proving how weak and ineffective their opposition were. Again, this is another important factor as to how Mussolini was able to come to power in 1922, and as we have seen, has a large deal to do with the Socialist's inadequacies and failures. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, the weak King did no such thing and the hype that Mussolini had created about the strength of his party and men was just too much for him to handle. Even with the debate that Mussolini was not entirely in control of the Fascists and was therefore pressurised into the sudden push for power, the facade that had been created was large enough to see the Fascists through, and so can therefore be regarded as insignificant. The King's actions were just the final deeds that enabled Mussolini to come to power, yet even at such a late stage it is clear that, with just a small bit of courage, Mussolini could have been stopped, and so therefore the King's role can be deemed a vital aspect of Mussolini coming to power. On balance, although not the only reason that culminated in Mussolini's rise to power, it is clear that the failure of Socialism was the most important factor that led to his appointment. As well as the direct failures of the Socialists that Mussolini was able to use to his advantage, many other important issues can be linked closely to the weaknesses of the Socialists which were therefore exploited my Mussolini. Historians such as Behan also acknowledge how the capacity was there for the Socialists to succeed, but unlike the Fascists were unable to capitalise on this. This accumulates to give the impression that although the other ideas are very important, Socialism and it's links with other problems was the most important of all of these, and it is can unquestionably be argued that if there had been no Socialist party present between 1919 and 1922, then Mussolini may never have got to his position of power. 1 ...read more.

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