Mussolini and Italian Fascism: Rise to Power and Key Ideologies

Topics: History


Mussolini and Italian Fascism

Italy before Mussolini:

  • Many political issues after the conclusion of the Great War:
    • About half a million Italian soldiers had died in the Great War; Italy wanted compensation:
      • This did not occur as they did not get all the land they felt that they were promised.
      • The ToV was known as the mutilated peace.
    • Few had respect for the Italian parliament.
    • 5 governments had been formed between 1919 and 1922 and none succeeded.
    • Divisions between those who supported the Russian revolution and those who hated socialism and communism.

Mussolini: the man:

  • Benito Mussolini was born in 1883.
  • Prior to the Great War he was a socialist journalist.
  • He left the socialist party when the Great War started because he supported the war and other socialists did not.
  • 1919, Mussolini organized gangs of fascio (armed squads) who would beat up their enemies on streets:
    • The men in these gangs were known as fascists.
    • The men in these gangs wore black shirts.
    • This was because Mussolini loved parades and uniforms.

  • Early in his career Mussolini kept changing his policies:
    • He got rid of anything that got in the way of his search for power.
  • In power:
    • Mussolini encouraged other Italians to look up to him as a supernatural leader with extraordinary powers.
    • He was called duce (Italian for leader).

The fascist take-over:

  • Mussolini came to power in 1922:
    • Followers staged a dramatic march in Rome.
      • Showed how powerful they were.
  • Italy was in chaos at the time:
    • The king turned to Mussolini because he felt that the fascists would improve law and order and stop Italy becoming communist.

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  • Fascists had to share power with other parties at first.
  • 1924 Mussolini rigged the elections:
    • To strengthen his grip on power.
    • In the same year the rival Socialist Party leader was murdered.
  • 1925 Mussolini became dictator.
  • 1926 all other parties were banned:
    • Communist and socialist leaders were imprisoned or murdered.
  • Propaganda:
    • Used to convince the Italian public that Mussolini was an almost superhuman leader.
    • That “Mussolini is always right.”
  • 1928, voting laws were changed:
    • Only fascist men could vote.
    • The permitted candidates could only be fascist.
    • Mussolini did very well.
  • 1929, Mussolini did deals with the Catholic Church:
    • The Church was given privileges.
    • In return Mussolini made sure that the Church would not interfere with fascism.

Mussolini goes to war:

  • 1930, the fascist revolution was largely over.
  • 1935-6 Mussolini attacked and conquered Abyssinia (modern day Ethiopia).
  • 1936, he made an agreement with Hitler: Rome-Berlin Axis.
  • 1940, Germany looked as though she was about to win the war:
    • Mussolini wanted a share of the winnings and joined forces with Hitler.
  • The war was a disaster:
    • Italian troops were defeated in North Africa.
    • 1943, Italy had been invaded and Mussolini overthrown by other fascists.
  • Mussolini was rescued from prison by German paratroopers sent by Hitler.
  • He was given the rule of part of northern Italy, but the real power lay with the Germans (last two years of the war).
  • April 1945, Mussolini was captured and killed by anti-fascist fighters and his body was put on display in Milan.

Key ideas of Italian Fascism:

  • Italians should have fierce national pride.
  • War is good for a country. Young Italian men should always be ready to fight.
  • Italy should establish an empire in Africa.
  • No other political parties should be allowed to exist.
  • Communism and socialism are the enemies of fascism.
  • Democracy is useless. Italy needs a strong and powerful leader who can order people.
  • Italian women should stay home and have as many children as possible.
  • A great country should be self-sufficient this would be brought about by the government telling firms what to produce.

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Mussolini and Italian Fascism: Rise to Power and Key Ideologies. (2023, Aug 02). Retrieved from

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