Rise of Totalitarianism in Italy 1920s and 1930s
Treaty of Versailles
1936 Term and concept of “Axis” powers
1938 Manifesto of the Race
5/1939 Pact of Steel
I. Italy prior
to World War I
maintained his antagonism to the new state until 1929 (See below).
- North and south were antagonistic
to one another. Piedmont
(the seat of the government) favored its northern neighbors which were
industrial rather than semi-feudal, agricultural south. For example, cheap food was
imported for the northern workers; but tariffs were high on manufactured
improvements were concentrated in the north. In the 25 years prior to the beginning of WWI, 5
million southern Italians left and went to other parts of Europe as well
as North America.
patriotism remained strong.
parties were not strong.
joined the Triple Alliance of
1882 with Germany and Austria.
Africa, Italy made imperialistic moves:
Eritrea and Somaliland by 1895
Defeated in 1895-96 trying to take Ethiopia
Did get Tripoli (modern day Libya) from Turkey in 1911-12
after a brief war.
- Italy allowed
the Triple Alliance to lapse and entered the war on the side of the Allies
II. Italy after
World War I and the rise of Mussolini
was the first country in Europe to become fascist (right-wing authoritarian)
were dissatisfied with its treatment at the Peace Conference at
big losses in war: death
toll: 600,000; wounded: 1,000,000.
not receive from Austria land on the Adriatic coast (terra irredente) that it had wanted as a result of the peace treaty. Nationalist anger ensued.
unemployment; social unrest.
D’Annunzio, a nationalist and
radical poet, leading a band of ex-soldiers, seized FIUME, a port city, which had become part of Yugoslavia, even though
the Italians had demanded it at the peace conference. He dressed his troops in black
and gave nationalistic speeches from a balcony.
1920 Italian government troops overthrew D’Annunzio.
according to an agreement between Italy and Yugoslavia, was made a free
state. The free state lasted 2 years.
D. 1924 Italy, under the Fascist government of Mussolini,
seized Fiume again.
Benito Mussolini’s rise
been a socialist journalist
He had started organizing groups of former soldiers into fasci di combatimento,
(“fighting bands” A fascio is a bundle of sticks and officials of the Roman Empire carried
fasci as symbols of their authority) to fight left-wing agitators.
- In 1920 Mussolini turned his movement into a
political party which had 3000,000 members by 1922. Most members at the beginning
were middle class discontents.
ideas—militaristic, imperialistic, authoritarian, religion of the
People can only be satisfied personally within a nation-state.
People must be prepared to work, even sacrifice themselves for
Struggle is the essential condition of life, and the highest
form of struggle is war, which is ennobling.
Elite should rule the state and have a single leader (il
Duce). The leader is always right since his will is the will of the
Leader must express the highest ideals in his actions.
Every nation must seek to expand.
The mission of Italy should be to revive the Roman Empire by
controlling the Mediterranean and by having an empire in Africa.
- Elections of 1921 (first Italian
elections with universal male suffrage) and Fascists picked up some seats
in the Chamber (Italian parliament)
Fascists wearing black shirts
used violence to kill, maim, and otherwise intimidate opponents.
threat of a general strike throughout Italy brought the Black Shirts, under orders of Mussolini, who moved into
Workers seized factories and locked out owners and managers.
Peasants seized the land not being cultivated.
Because of middle and upper class fear of a Communist
revolution, they were responsive to the promise of Benito Mussolini to restore
- 10/1922 FASCIST MARCH ON ROME. As a result of their show of
power, King Victor Emanuel III (reigned 1900-46) named Mussolini prime