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Mussolini's Increased Support and Rise to Power.

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ITALY 1918-1943 (a Section A topic) (a) Foundation of the Fascist Party; the abolition of parliament; the March on Rome; passing of the Acerbo Law; death of Mussolini. (b) Effect on Italy of the March on Rome. On October 26, 1922, Mussolini decided to exploit the chaotic situation to seize power. He threatened a 'March on Rome' if he was not accepted into the cabinet. Bands of armed Fascists marched to Rome from various parts of the country. This threat caused genuine alarm to the politicians in Rome, who failed to deal with the emergency. The Liberal Premier resigned almost at once. King Victor Emmanuel refused to call out the army to resist the Fascists partly because he was anxious to avoid civil war, and partly because he wanted a strong government to restore law and order. The King asked Mussolini to form a new government. ...read more.


In fact, the chances of revolution were receding as the strikes and factory occupations fizzled out (although workers in some factories tried to maintain production, claiming union control of the factories, this proved impossible without engineers and managers). But the fear of a communist revolution remained strong. Mussolini and the fascist party were attractive to many sections of society because, as he said himself, he aimed to rescue Italy from feeble government. Politically, Mussolini was a socialist and began to make a name for himself as a journalist, becoming editor of the socialist newspaper Avanti. He fell out with the socialists because they were against Italian intervention in the war, and started his own paper Il Populo d�Italia. In 1919, he founded the Fascist Party with a socialist and republican programme and showed sympathy with the factory occupations of 1919-1920. As the factory occupation began to fail; Mussolini altered course and came out as the defender of private enterprise and property, thus attracting much-needed financial support from wealthy business interests. ...read more.


Three important events were chiefly responsible for bringing new strength to the Fascist movement. The first event was that after D'Annunzio and his followers were driven from Fiume by the end of 1920, many Italian nationalists took Mussolini as their leader for he had always advocated a strong foreign policy and the annexation of Fiume and Dalmatia. The second event was that during 1919-1920, governments in Italy changed rapidly and yet all of them failed to find effective solutions to the most urgent problems of the day?the problems of economic inflation and social unrest. The third event was that after the General Strike in 1920, as stated earlier, the property class became haunted by the specter of a Communist revolution and wanted a strong government to restore law and order in the country. With some support from the property class, Mussolini formed the National Fascist Party in 1921. In the elections of May 1921, Fascists were able to gain 35 seats out of 355 - a tremendous gain in contrast to their total failure only 18 months ago. ...read more.

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