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“mussolini was appointed as prime minister in 1922 because of the weakness of the liberals. explain why you agree or disagree with this view.”

This period of Italian history is one of great instability and turmoil. There were many factors contributing to the appointment of Mussolini as Prime Minister, but arguably one of the biggest was Liberal weakness.

There are a multitude of reasons why the appointment of Mussolini as Prime Minister could be considered to be a result of Liberal weakness. A fundamental reason for Liberal weakness was the dogged allegiance to involvement in WWI. After the crushing defeat of the Italian Army at Caporetto, the Liberal government promised proportional representation and extended enfranchisement to maintain morale: however, this led to huge instability, as it meant that the government could no longer control lection as they previously had. The Liberals had therefore created a less corrupt, and yet less stable nation, as the next election yielded excellent results for the PSI and PPI, but very poor results for the Liberals. The unwillingness of both the PPI and PSI to form coalitions with each other or with the Liberals meant that the Liberals retained power, but had no majority and therefore no power. Hence, it can be observed that the persistence of the Establishment in relation to WWI led to their impotence in dealing with matters such as the rise of Mussolini to power. This inertia with regards to Fascist violence is a huge factor in Mussolini’s rise to power: the Army had more than enough power to crush the fascists, but the indecisive nature of the Liberal government meant that the fascists were allowed to assert themselves onto the Italian political scene. The failure to address radical socialism (e.g. the land leagues and strikers) on the part of the Liberals is yet another reason for Mussolini’s rise to power: fascism became the best bulwark against socialism, as they filled the power vacuum left by the weak Liberals. Furthermore, division inside the Liberal party itself made them even more inefficient and unable to prevent the rise of Mussolini (i.e. Giolitti was anti-war, whereas Salandra was pro-war). Finally, the inaction (and indeed sometimes the actions) of the individual Prime Ministers (e.g. Giolitti, Salandra and Facta) also helped the Fascists (with Mussolini at their helm) to power. Giolitti’s willingness to incorporate the fascists into the Chamber of Deputies and his unwillingness to become a part of the government in 1922; Salandra’s recommendation to the King that Mussolini should be made Prime Minister; Facta’s lateness in suggesting martial law to stop the fascists. All of these reasons outline why it was the weakness of the Liberal rule which allowed Mussolini to be appointed Prime Minister of Italy by the King in 1922.

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However, there were also other factors contributing to the rise of Mussolini. For instance, the huge following that the Fascists had attained under Mussolini and the support they received, from the major industrialists to the ‘agrari’, from the petty bourgeois to components of the establishment (e.g. the sympathetic army and, eventually, the King who was unwilling to introduce martial law to stop the Fascists). This wide range of support meant that Mussolini had a firm base to pitch for the role of Prime Minster, the majority of support being a result of a great fear of socialism and the Italian ...

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