Mussolini in Power: From PM to Dictator

Report
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
Dictatorship,
Jan. 1925May 1928
Consensus,
Oct. 1922Jan. 1925
Consensus,
Feb. 1929Oct. 1935
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 November 1922: Problems Facing Mussolini
 He was 1 of only 4 Fascists in the Cabinet
 Only 35 Fascists in 535-member Chamber of
Deputies
 Fascists had won only 7% of vote—power came
partly from violence & threat
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 November 1922: Problems Facing Mussolini
 Mussolini had no detailed policies & little
experience as a leader
 Mussolini’s coalition faced same problem as earlier
ones
 Fascist supporters split between moderates &
radicals
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1922-1924
 Why had Mussolini become Prime Minister?
 Fascist Revolution or Effective Government?
 Radical Changes or Moderate Normalization?
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1922-1924
 Nov. 1922: Parliament passes vote of confidence in
new govt.; grant Mussolini emergency powers, 1 yr.
 Dec. 1922: Mussolini creates Grand Council, cabinet-
like org. w/in Fascist Party—way to increase control
 Jan. 1923: creates new militia paid by state—many
from Fascist squadristi
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1922-1924
 Oct. 1922 – Jan. 1923:
Strengthening power in Fascist Party
2. Moving towards authoritarianism instead of radical
changes—passed policies favoring industrialists,
agrarian landowners & few for Church
3. European econ0my improving
1.
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1922-1924
 Feb. 1923: Nationalist Association joins Fascist
Party—strengthens moderate elements of party
 Mussolini knew support of elites more important
than support from radical elements of party
 Use the powers of the state to reduce & eliminate
enemies
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1922-1924
 Despite early successes his position as PM still weak
King could dismiss him at any time
2. Parliament likely to cooperate w/a successor (small
rep. of Fascist in parliament)
3. Needed to control parliament
4. Needed to change election laws to end proportional
representation
1.
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1922-1924
 ACERBO LAW, July 1923
 Chamber of Deputies meet to vote on Acerbo Bill—
give 2/3 of seats to party w/ most votes in election &
having at least 25% of vote
 Chamber of Deputies—surrounded by blackshirts—
passed the Acerbo Law, 303 - 40
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1922-1924
 Corfu Incident, Aug. 1923: foreign policy success
demonstrating Italy’s growing strength
 Fiume, Jan. 1924: Italy gains control of Fiume
 Major foreign policy successes helped Mussolini’s
reputation & support
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1922-1924
 April 1924 Election (Acerbo Law in effect)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Govt. list of approved candidates, non-Fascists
Leftist opposition remained split
Heavy govt. influence in election process
Militia violence v. Socialists
Opposition meetings disrupted & voters
intimidated
Fascist voters often allowed more than 1 vote
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1922-1924
 April 1924 Election
 A. Lyttleton, The Seizure of Power:
“the use of violence, police repression and electoral
fraud was on such a large scale that the expression of
popular will was radically falsified.”
 Fascist won 66% of vote w/275 Deputies (100 others)
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1922-1924
 April 1924 Election
 Fascist now have control & full power of State at
their disposal
 Official critics would be targeted; violence &
intimidation by squadristi continues along w/ govt
sanctioned violence; Socialist meetings, buildings,
publications, members attacked
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
“Italy has never been so united as she is today… Fascismo
has abolished the game of parliamentary chess; it has
also simplified the taxation system and reduced the
deficit to manageable proportions; it has vastly improved
the public services, particularly the railways; it has
reduced the superfluously large bureaucracy without any
bad results in the way of hardships or unemployment; it
has pursued a vigorous and fairly successful colonial
policy. All this represents hard and useful work, but the
chief boon upon Italy are national security and national
self-respect…
Fascismo has had a great deal of courage, very considerable
wisdom and immense luck… it has deserved the sincere
birthday greetings of the world.”
—The Times, 31 October 1923
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1922-1924
 Murder of Giacomo Matteotti, June 1924
 Leader of the Socialists
 Member of the Chamber of Deputies
 Leading opponent of Mussolini & Fascists
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1922-1924
 Matteotti to Chamber of Deputies, 30 May 1924:
“No one has been free because every citizen knew… that
even had he dared with majority support to express his
opposition the government had a force at its disposal that
would have nullified his words… We are defending the
sovereign freedom of the Italian people… by demanding
the nullification of the elections.”
 “Now you can prepare my funeral oration.”—to
colleagues as he left the chamber
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1922-1924
 Mussolini in Il Popolo, 31 May 1924:
“Matteotti made a speech of an outrageously
provocative nature which should deserve some more
concrete reply than the label scoundrel.”
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1922-1924
 1o June 1924: Matteotti forced into a car
 License plate number of the car (55 12169) belonged
to a leading Fascist
 Investigation led to leader (Dumini) of a secret hit
squad called Cheka
 “Nine Homicides” Dumini, was personal asst. to
Cesare Rossi, Mussolini’s press secretary
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1922-1924
 Did Mussolini order the murder? Did he know about
it? Was he involved in any way?
 Widespread outrage in Italy: newspapers,
demonstrations, torn up Fascist membership cards
 Was Mussolini head of a terrorist regime?
 Was he the head of a strengthened form of
parliamentary govt. that operated w/in law?
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1922-1924
 June 1924: Aventine Secession
 Most opposition deputies walked out of Parliament
in protest to Mussolini’s govt.
 Met elsewhere & declared themselves the true
representatives of the Italian people
 Expected the King to dismiss Mussolini
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1922-1924
 Mussolini’s Position June 1924-Dec.1924:
repression & concession—press censorship
increased; militia mobilized & integrated into
army; loyalty oath to King; Rossi & chief of police
fired; Mussolini steps down as Interior Minister
o Ras & radicals wanted Mussolini to seize power in
dictatorship
o Dec. 1924 evidence implicated Mussolini in
Matteotti’s assassination
o
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1922-1924
 Mussolini’s Position June 1924-Dec.1924:
radicals in Fascist Party saw power slipping from
them unless Mussolini acted
o 31 Dec. 1924: tense meeting of Fascist Party
o Mussolini vacillation ended
o
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1922-1924
 3 Jan. 1925: Mussolini addresses Chamber of
Deputies
 Mussolini takes responsibility for Fascism
 not for Matteotti’s murder
 Dictatorship to go into effect in 48 hours
 Process of Dictatorship Began (completed
May 1928)
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 How did Mussolini survive the Matteotti Crisis?
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.
g.
King Victor Emmanuel III unwilling to act—safer to
keep Mussolini in office & had learned lesson
Elite not completely happy, but thought had done a
good job—esp. given alternatives
Church—Mussolini had saved Italy from Socialism
Army—would obey the King
Moderate Deputies—saw Mussolini weakened &
thought could control him
Opposition unable to cooperate
Ras wanted dicatorship
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 How did Mussolini survive the Matteotti Crisis?
“Mussolini panicked and would have resigned had the
King required it. The King did not demonstrating
the unwillingness of conservatives even now to
abandon Mussolini, partly from fear of a left-wing
revival and partly in the hope of exploiting
Mussolini’s vulnerability to increase their influence
over him.”
—M. Blinkhorn, Mussolini and Fascist Italy
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 How did Mussolini survive the Matteotti Crisis?
“The reluctant attitudes of the King and Pope
summarized the problems in a nutshell: the Italian
power structure was slow to admit that its creature,
Fascism, was out of control, and without leadership
from the power structure, the anti-Fascist
opposition remained fragmented and embryonic.”
—A. Cassels, Fascist Italy
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 How did Mussolini survive the Matteotti Crisis?
“His victory, once again, owed much to the militant squads
and to their power in the provinces; and, once again, it
owed much to the King’s unwillingness to use the army
against the Fascists. Yet once again, it was not
inevitable. If the opposition parties had been present
in the Chamber… or if the Rossi memorandum had not
been published when it was [during holidays]… or if the
militia ‘consuls’ had not put pressure on in late
December, or if the elder statesmen… had shown more
initiative, then Mussolini might have fallen… the King
had decided, and Mussolini was safe.”
—M. Clark, Modern Italy 1871-1982
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1925-1928
 Arrests of opponents
 Increasingly repressive decrees & laws
 Fascist Movement into a personal dictatorship—
centralized control of party into a govt. ministry then
fired the Ras leader in charge of the ministry
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1925-1928
 Jan. 1925: arrests & closing of hostile organizations
 All Fascist Cabinet
 Dopolavoro, mass leisure org., established
 Oct. 1925: Battle for Grain—make Italy self-sufficient
(economic policy)
 Dec. 1925: greater press censorship
 Dec. 1925: Law on Powers of Head Government—
gives Mussolini great executive power—rule by
decree
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1925-1928
 Feb. 1926: elected mayors replaced by appointed
podestas
 April 1926: strikes forbidden; youth organization,
Balilla, created
 July 1926: Ministry of Corporations established
 Oct. 1926: opposition parties banned
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1925-1928
 Nov. 1926: Special Tribunal for the Defense of the
State—wide admin powers including arrests w/o
justification
 Nov. 1926: OVRA established—secret police
 Nov. 1926: all press freedom ended
Mussolini in Power:
From PM to Dictator
 Mussolini, 1925-1928
 Parliament: lost power to intiate laws; Mussolini responsible






to King not parliament
Local Govt: judges, civil servants & teachers purged; elected
councils eliminated; podestas
Judiciary: repressive administrative powers w/o need resort
to former republican judicial system
Trade Unions: strikes & lockouts illegal, Fascist unions
recognized as only legal unions
Fascists: Mussolini centralized Party under his leadership
Opponents: all non-Fascist parties banned
Electoral Laws: plebiscite system replaced individually elected
MPs

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