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HIS109Y1 (536)

Facism / Europe between the Wars

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Kenneth Bartlett

HIS109 March 21 , 2011 Fascism Rise of Fascism as a political ideology, where it was created in Italy as a response to things that were occurring in Italy Roots of Fascism • Italy was an odd place for it to happen • Why? No terrible national humiliation, no collapse of civil or military authority but the state was paralyzed, no power vacuum nothing so overwhelming that make people follow a man that they thought was a “savior” • Unification of Italy was a new country created through a patchwork of states • Unlike Germany, the result wasn’t a creation of a powerful nation but rather the establishment of a poor, weak state • Had little natural resources, industry, arable agricultural land was exhausted; it was a land of peasants with an extremely vocal middle class & dominant ruling class (controlled economy & dominated politics) • Southern Italy: Peasants were tied to the soil where they had almost no control over their social or political lives, very small middle that was focused in the cities (weren’t sufficient in number to change the condition of the Italian south) • Literacy was high in the south, unemployment was extremely high south became a despised colony of Rome • Italy was poor, & divided economically & to a degree socially (it was superficially put together) • Wasn’t able to compete, wasn’t a dynamic power Italy was ambitious to become a power, but lacked the means to do so • After 1912 there was manhood suffrage, however, the democracy had no roots • Liberal traditions were very shallow, only after 1912 they had the option • Problem of the Roman Catholic Church Italy was divided between their loyalty to the church & the pope who didn’t believe in the kingdom of Italy, & those who believed in the Italian state first • This division meant that men of high moral temper needed for leadership put themselves out of action (Catholics first, Italians second) • Italian tradition of government corruption & inefficiency worsened • Memories of being oppressed for over 300 years couldn’t be rooted out in southern Italy (paying taxes meant you were supporting those who were oppressing you) • Italy underwent an explosion of nationalism after unification politicians began to really believe their own propaganda, growth in the belief of the re-emergence of the Roman Empire through the formation of the modern kingdom (equality to other powers) • Italia Irredenta Italians controlled by foreign powers (the Austrians), Italy wanted to bring them into the brotherhood Growth of Italian Nationalism • Defeated by Eritreans, humiliating defeat growth of nationalism • State was poor & weak, Italians wanted to change this th • Response between the reality of 20 century Italy, & the possibilities of the future gave rise to Fascism • Extreme nationalists began to look for a leader Enrico Corradini Corradini, (1865-1931) • Italy would never fulfill its destiny until courage, etc., could turn the Italian people into something other than what they were, wanted to transform Italy, embarrassment of still having some Italians ruled over by foreign powers • Attacked the principal of democracy, pacifism, socialism enemies • Nationalism was the solution that would allow Italian ambitions to be fulfilled • Dedication towards war & militarism looked towards the examples of Germany & Italy • Nationalism was the antithesis to democracy • Disciples of Corradini founded the Italian Nationalist Party Roots of Fascism cont… • Violence became increasingly characterized of morals & willing to fight & sacrifice for the beliefs of nationalism • Violent ideology of action • What was missing was a racial theory as there was in Nazism • You had to be willing to be apart of these patriots; you didn’t have to Italian necessarily • Outbreak of WWII was critical for nationalists didn’t want Italy to join the war, especially on the side of the Alliances • Government of Rome couldn’t intervene, nationalists were vacuums & they became heroes (acting for national Italian interests) • They needed a leader that would have a platform • Italian nationalists were doing what the government in Rome could not do delivered self-confidence, property, economy equal that to other Western European nations • Polarization between the left & right (Nationalists given control of the agenda, would liberate Italians still under the control of the Austrians, this was fuelled by hatred of the Austrians) • Italians wanted to make war to free Italians under the control of Austro- Hungarians Benito Mussolini, (1883-1945) • Was a radical socialist up until 1915 • Attacked moderate socialists, used newspaper to voice his hatred of things that restrained the Italian state (church, private property, parliament) • Thrived on, & loved violence • What changed this extreme Marxist revolutionary into a Fascist? Mussolini said it was the war in which he saw an oppressive empire withhold Italians against their will, thus he converted to Nationalism • Wanted Italy to join the entente to make war against Austria-Hungary • Published his own newspaper, “People of Italy” meant to make people want to go to war • Saw that nationalists were winning, & the hatred of Austria-Hungary was sufficient enough to lead (theory of what made Mussolini changed) • Believed that war would help in the revolutionary restructuring of Italian society • Was an opportunist whose long-term goal was a process that would change the nature of Italian society • Late 1914 groups of Nationalists began to form under the symbol of the old Roman republic • Fasci (Fasces) Roman Empire symbols under which nationalists gathered Mussolini was attracted to this group • He became a spokesperson for the extreme nationalists that horrified by the ways in Woodrow treated Italy • Arditti ex soldiers burning with Nationalist fervour, violent thugs that were attracted to the direct action that people such as Mussolini promised (nucleus of the Fascist party) • Government consisted of fragile coalitions, ideology was political & economic non- intervention (problems would naturally solve themselves) ineffective government in Rome • Nationalists came to believe that the government of Rome abandoned Italy because they weren’t tougher at Versailles & couldn’t get back territory in the Adriatic that were apart of the historic Italy betrayal of elected government, thus the Nationalists looked for a leader to voice their anger • Government was inept, & inefficient, soldiers were alienated from there generals who they believe abandoned them • Socialists humiliated the army • Like the German soldiers did, they began forming around their former generals because they hated the Socialists & the Liberal government in Rome who allowed for these things to happen joined the Arditti • Fascism to an extent was a social, economic, & political need • Fasces Groups of thugs modeled on the structure of Mussolini own Fascist groups of thugs that he formed in 1913 (anti-Communists, extreme nationalists) Mussolini turned this group into a disciplined one • Fascist Party of Italy & Mussolini seen as the only hope of salvation & protection against Marxism • August 1922: Fascists declared a strike, public anger began to
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