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Why did Mussolini come to power in 1922?

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Introduction

Why did Mussolini come to power in 1922? In 1870, the Italy was finally united under a liberal government, which would remain for fifty years. The period between 1870 and 1922 was an era that faced major problems including, poverty, a diminishing economy, a lack of national identity and perhaps most significantly of all, the First World War. The inefficiencies of the liberal governments before 1922 allowed one man and a radical political movement to seize power and make way for the first dictatorship that acted as a model for other dictators to come. The liberal governments before 1922 were not only ineffective in tackling the economic and political problems that arose but they were unpopular with the general population. A prime example is the triple alliance established with Germany and Austria-Hungary before the First World War. The aim of this alliance was to increase Italy's military power within Europe and expand on its dwindling natural resources. These two countries were seen to be Italy's greatest rivals and therefore it created huge resentment amongst the Italian people. When war broke out in Europe in 1914, Italy still had its triple alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary in place but did not enter straight away. Instead, the countries Prime Minister Antonio Salandra, arranged meetings with both sides in an attempt to get the best deal for Italy when the war was over. ...read more.

Middle

The popularity of the movement soon came to light and Mussolini's passion for public speaking and his influence through his paper Il Popolo d'Italia gained huge support for him. Mussolini's method of recruitment was quite ingenious. He gained peoples support through his radical socialist ideas but when the time was right, he changed policy to that of Fascism. In April 1919, Mussolini's Fascio di Combattimento engaged in violent activities, which included beating up socialist supporters and burning socialist buildings. As a result of Mussolini's growing violent policy, he attracted the attention of other fascist squads under command of the Ra's. The Ra's soon realised the importance of Mussolini and his ability to influence people through his public speaking and his newly formed newspaper. After the elections of 1919 where the liberals gained 220 seats and the socialist and catholic party gaining 156 and 100 seats respectively, it was hoped that a coalition government could be formed and political stability could be bought to the country. Despite the election, the leading parties could not agree on creating a coalition government. The socialist party refused to work with any party that was not socialist, which left the catholic party and the liberals to work together. In spite of a coalition government being formed, the liberals and Catholics found it hard to work together as they were divided by many issues that arose. ...read more.

Conclusion

Now that Mussolini had such wide scale support, he knew that he would be able to seize power. The Fascists planned the take-over of local government buildings with Fascist squads whilst the bulk of the Fascist squadrist would march on Rome. The liberal government led by Facta declared a state of emergency and the king declared martial law. The Italian army was also drafted in to 'defend Rome'. However, the army were not needed as on 29th October King Emmanuel changed his mind and invited Mussolini to form a government. A leading member of the government, Solandra, asked the king to give Mussolini the position of Prime Minister in an attempt to prevent Giolitti from retaining the position in the new government that would be formed. In conclusion, Mussolini was able to come to power in 1922 because of his ability to influence and intimidate people. He did this by winning support from key areas, such as the church, the monarchy and the economic elite and using this support to crush socialism and the threat of communism. The liberal governments inability to solve major problems it faced, and maybe even its own mutilation of Italy's victory in the war meant that Fascism through Mussolini was able to grow at the expense of the liberal government and the failures of other political parties to work together to form an effective coalition government. Adam Weeks 13A History: Mussolini ...read more.

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