How Totalitarian was Mussolini's Italy?

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                                History Essay                                         22/02/04

How Totalitarian was Mussolini’s Italy?

Definition of Totalitarianism:         .             (         .)

In 1922 the king gave Mussolini the power to rule by decree for one year due to the Bolshevik threat. Mussolini quickly moved to consolidate his position. Thousands of opponents were arrested or beaten up. Throughout 1922 to 1923 there were changes of personnel in key jobs.

Mussolini increased his power over his own party by establishing the Grand Council of Fascism, the supreme body, to which he made all appointments. In 1923 he reduced the influence of the RAS by converting the squads into a national militia. Also a new electoral law was enacted, now the party which received most votes, would obtain two-thirds of the seats in the Chamber. In the April 1924 election, the Fascists, aided by violence and some election rigging, obtained 66 per cent of the vote. Now it was hard for anyone, even the King, to prevent Mussolini doing as he liked.

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In July 1924 Mussolini tightened press censorship and in August banned meetings by opposition parties. Most Liberal leaders now joined the opposition in protest, but it was too late. Opposition parties and newspapers were suppressed. A decree made Mussolini no longer accountable to parliament. A new electoral law was introduced in 1928. The Fascist Grand Council now chose 400 parliamentary candidates and presented them to the electorate for approval (The council simply approved what Mussolini had already decided). Only members of a Fascist syndicate and those who paid high taxes could vote, reducing the electorate from ten million to three ...

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