How Mussolini rose to power in Italy?

Italy under Mussolini had joined with Nazi Germany and Japan to form the Axis powers. He adopted fascism led his country in to another world war.

Ironically, In 1922, the King himself invited Benito Mussolini into government.

Reasosn that enabled him to take power:

  • Socio-Economic crisis in Italy:
    • Italy had been going through a post World War One depression after 1918. WW! Caused mass unemployment and inflation. Even though it won the war, it’s war debt was too high
    • Italy was also on the brink of a socialist takeover(1917 reolution in Russia) which caused mass hysteria among Italians
  • Unfair treatment at Versailles: Even after winning the war against Germany, Italy felt they were cheated out of the territorial settlements they thought they were promised to receive-it did not get the colonies of Germany and territory of Ottoman empire
  • Hatred towards the Big three: Italy felt inferior to US, Britain and France because of the treatment it got in Versailles. Mussolini’s promises of bringing the past glory of Roman empire back to Italy created strong national identity and manipulated people emotionally. Incomparision Socialism downplays nationalism and embraces internationalism.
  • Attraction of extremist political parties: In times of crisis people look for strong leaders and they get attracted to extremists. Some people turned to extreme left(socialism) and others to extreme right(Fascism)
  • Support of property owners: Consecutively, this raised concern of a revolution in Italy, and soon Fascism seemed like the logical answer to those who owned property and feared Socialism. Fascism looked as if the only firm action to prevent a revolution.
  • Violence and propaganda: Mussolini’s facist thugs(called blackshirts made up of war veterans) took to violence though he pretended to not supporting them. He then led a ‘march on Rome’ with around 30,000 supporters. The king came to the conclusion that Mussolini is the only one who could bring order to the chaotic Italy and to avoid a civil war asked him to form the government. Later he became Italy’s dictator.
  • Timidity of the King and the Italian government: They hesitated to use the armed and police forces against Mussolini and his supporters and it saw the fascists in a better light than the socialists. The government’s surrender legitimized the takeover and allowed the fascists to legally change society

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