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Italian Fascism
Fascism is the totalitarian philosophy of
government that glorifies the state and
nation and assigns to the state control
over every aspect of national life.
An ideology opposed to liberalism,
socialism, conservatism, and communism,
because they brought economic
depression, political betrayal, national
weakness, and moral decline.
Aggressively nationalistic ideology.
The Origins of Fascism
Fascism arose as a form of counterrevolutionary politics in early twentiethcentury Europe in response to:
Rapid social upheaval
The devastation of World War I
The Bolshevik Revolution.
The Fasces Symbol
The name Fascism comes
from the Latin word fasces. In
ancient Roman, the fasces
were cylindrical bundles of
wooden rods, tied tightly
together around an axe. They
symbolize unity and power.
Fascism is a form of extreme right-wing
ideology that celebrates the nation or the
race as a community that transcends all
other loyalties.
Subordination to the State
Fascism seeks forcibly to subordinate
all aspects of society to its vision of
community, usually through a
totalitarian state. It uses organized
violence to suppress opposition.
Glorification of Force
Fascism glorifies force, accepts the tenets
of Social Darwinism, and is antidemocratic.
Cult of State Worship
In the Italian totalitarian state, which
stressed “The Cult of State Worship,” the
individual had no significance except as a
member of the state.
The Fascists were taught “To believe, to
obey, and to fight” (credere, obbedire,
The Myth of Rebirth
Fascism emphasizes a myth of national or
racial rebirth after a period of decline or
destruction. To this end, fascism calls for:
A "spiritual revolution" against signs of moral
decay such as individualism and materialism
Seeks to purge "alien" forces and groups that
threaten the organic community.
Fascist Ideals
Fascism tends to celebrate:
Mystical unity
The regenerative power of violence.
Often, but not always, it promotes:
Racial superiority
Ethnic persecution
Imperialist expansion
Utopian Dream
Despite the idealistic goals of fascism,
attempts to build fascist societies have led
to wars and persecutions that caused
millions of deaths. As a result, fascism is
strongly associated with:
Right-wing fanaticism
The Rise of Mussolini in Italy
Benito Mussolini (18831945)
By: Katie Galough and Jen Tripp
Problems after WWI
460,000 soldiers killed
Heavy debt
Britain and France did not give Italy the
land they promised
Governments were all coalitions that
couldn’t make decisions
Rising unemployment led to unrest in
The Treaty of Versailles
Italians believed that it treated
them badly.
 Italy had not been given the land
promised at the Secret Treaty of
 Italy’s foreign Minister Orlando
left before the conference ended,
feeling humiliated.
Benito Mussolini (1883-1945)
In the troubled postwar
period, Benito
Mussolini established an
organization that:
Advocated aggressive
Opposed the Communists
and Socialists
Dressed in black shirts
Mussolini’s Talents
He had a talent for moving crowds of people
with his powerful speeches and
manipulating public opinion.
Restoration of Order
Amid strikes, social unrest, and
parliamentary breakdown, Mussolini:
Preached forcible restoration of order
Practiced terrorism with armed groups
National Fascist Party
In 1921 he was elected to parliament and
the National Fascist party was officially
Mussolini gains power
Mussolini set up a
Fascist Party and
promised to solve Italy’s
Promised to rebuild
Italy and recreate the
Roman Empire
Organized armed gangs
called the “Blackshirts”
Came to power in 1922
and was appointed Prime
Minister by King Victor
Emmanuel to prevent a
Communist Revolution in
1922 March on Rome
to establish Mussolini and the Fascist Party
as the most important party in Italy
In 1921 the fascist parties in Italy joined
together to form the Fascist Party
Mussolini said this at a party conference:
"Either the government will be given to
us or will shall seize it by marching on
March on Rome, 1922
March on Rome
In October 1922, backed by nationalists
and propertied interests, Mussolini sent
the Fascists to march on Rome.
King Victor Emmanuel III permitted them
to enter the city and called on Mussolini,
who had remained in Milan, to form a
Rise to Power
After Mussolini’s rise to power, the Fascist
state in Italy was ruled by a party elite,
which ruthlessly crushed all free
expression and banished critics of the
regime to penal settlements on islands off
the southern Italian Coast.
Personal Dictatorship
As the new premier, Mussolini gradually
transformed the government into a
Opposition was put down by:
An efficient secret police
A Fascist party militia
A strictly controlled press
Mussolini’s followers called him Duce
(leader) by his followers. His ambition to
restore ancient greatness to Italy found
expression in:
Grandiose slogans and speeches
Monumental buildings
Mussolini’s Appearance
Although he was short
and stocky, he gave the
impression of being tall
and powerful.
He had a massive jaw
and his eyes dominated
his face. Many women
thought his eyes where
Mussolini’s Pose
Mussolini often struck
a pose – back stiff,
hands on hips –
because this was his
idea of how a Roman
emperor should look.
National Anthem
The national anthem
of Italian Fascism
extols the giovinezza,
the youth of the
Fascist party and its
future. On the cover
is a full-page sketch
of Mussolini by the
artist Riva.
Censorship of the press was established,
and a tribunal for defense of the state was
set up to punish any individuals not
conforming to Fascist practices.
“Fascism should
rightly be called
Corporatism as it
is a merge of
state and
power.”~ Benito
Fascism under Mussolini
“Fascism conceives
of the State as an
absolute, in
comparison with
which all individuals
or groups are
relative, only to be
conceived in their
relation to the
State.” ~Benito
State Capitalism
The Fascist system, sometimes defined
as state capitalism, aimed to abolish
class war through cooperation between
capital and labor, by compulsion of the
state if need be.
 In Communist theory, labor is the state
itself. In Fascism, labor and capital are
both instruments of the state.
Lateran Treaty
Conflict between church
and state was ended by the
Lateran Treaty (1929)
which stated that:
Roman Catholicism was the
only state religion of Italy
Vatican City was fully
sovereign and independent.
Economic Policy
The main economic goals of Fascism
To make Italy more self-sufficient, especially
in the matter of food
To increase the power resources of the nation
To expand foreign trade.
Domestic policies
-Emphasis on National Glory and
Coordination of the economy while
allowing private property
Emphasis on production and banning of
activities which hurt production
more order and efficiency in Italian life
-crushing the mafia
Mussolini launched several public
construction programs and government
throughout Italy to combat economic
setbacks or unemployment levels
Social Programs
The Fascist social program had some
commendable features such as:
Slum clearance
Its offensive against illiteracy
Its campaign against malaria
Its system of child welfare clinics
But any positive achievements were more
than outweighed by its deficiencies:
The deification of war
Excessive armaments budgets
The fraudulent claim of the corporate state to
protect the workers while it actually benefited
the large landowners and industrialists.
Cultural Activities
Prominent cultural
activities of the
Fascist regime in the
fields of architecture,
art, commerce, and
film are lavishly
represented in Italy's
version of Life
Fascist ideology governed the educational
system. The first sentence pronounced by
children at school was “Let us salute the
flag in the Roman fashion; hail to Italy; hail
to Mussolini.”
Children were required
to use these notebooks
with colored Fascist
cartoons and quotations
from Mussolini on the
front and back.
Textbooks emphasized:
The glorious past of the ancient Romans
The limitations imposed upon the present
inhabitants by geography and the western
The imperial destiny that awaited Italy’s future
All public functions and displays of the
state were clothed in propaganda,
Dedication of farm land
Displays of military might
Gigantic sports rallies
pamphlet making the
case that Italy is a
prisoner in the
because it lacks
control over Gibraltar,
the Suez Canal, and
the Dardanelles.
An annual agenda
produced by the Fascist
party for farmers and
merchants. Mixed in with
the practical illustrations
and instruction is much
Fascist propaganda with
appropriate quotations
from Mussolini.
Family Life
The Fascist party
encouraged the
development of large
families, here through
articles and
photographs extolling
family life.
Although this purports
to be a monthly
magazine dedicated
to the women of the
family, it consists
mainly of speeches
by Mussolini and
other Fascist-related
Melting down wedding
rings to contribute to
the war effort.
A propaganda
magazine designed
for young Fascists
and featuring stories
and cartoons praising
the regime.
Weekly propaganda
magazine for young
people, intended to
spark their interest in
flying and to call
attention to the
prowess of Italian
This book on Fascism
explicitly excludes Jews
from being considered
of pure ancestral Italian
blood and spells out
government measures
taken against them.
Wartime Propaganda
A colorful assortment of
Fascist propaganda
pamphlets from the
early 1940s. The
materials attack the
Atlantic Alliance, extol
the leadership of the
Duce, and praise the
fighting qualities of the
Italian soldier.
Foreign Policy
"My objective is simple. I want to make
Italy great, respected and feared."
Foreign Policy
to an extreme form of aggressive
Mussolini believed that conquered foreign
territory was the sign of a great nation and
a great power.
wanted to establish in the Mediterranean,
a modern Roman Empire,
rivaling that of the ancient Caesars
Mussolini wanted more territories to settle
the Surplus Italian population and to
acquire raw materials for her industries
Fascist doctrines preached national glory.
Italians should expand to show their
national greatness
Mussolini tried to keep on good terms with
France and Britain as well. In June 1933,
he invited representatives from France,
Germany and Britain to a meeting in
Rome. They signed the Four Power Pact.
This, according to Mussolini, was a sign of
the growing power Italy had: these
countries came to Rome; Italians did not
have to go to a venue out of Europe.
Mussolini, so he claimed, was providing
Europe with leadership.
Inevitability of War
The concept of the “inevitability” of war:
Exalted the state and its “destiny”
Advocated expansion of the Fascist state at
the expense of other nations.
Mussolini warned the world that Italy
intended “to expand or explode”.
His encouragement of a high birth rate
with Italy’s meager territorial and natural
resources pointed in only one direction –
After gaining control of Italy from the king,
he invaded and conquered Ethiopia. Using
machine-gun fire his soldiers mowed down
peaceful people who still used bows and
Spanish Civil War
When the Spanish Civil War broke out in
1936, both Mussolini and Adolph Hitler
decided to support the rebel leader,
General Francisco Franco.
Mussolini and Hitler
Mussolini and Hitler
Hitler and Mussolini
had a close
relationship. In
October 1936 they
signed a nonmilitary alliance.
Mussolini signed a
full defensive
alliance with Nazi
Germany in the Pact
of Steel.
Italy during WWII
Mussolini intended to
annex Malta, Corsica, and
Tunis. He wanted to create
a “New Roman Empire.” He
annexed Albania, straining
the military. His troops
were unprepared for the
German invasion of Poland.
Italy remained neutral.
Mussolini during WWII
Italy during WWII cont’d
Italy soon declared
war on Britain and
France but troops were
unprepared. It was
defeated by Greece
and lost the world’s
first carrier strike.
Italy was defeated on
all fronts of the
Quote from Mussolini’s speech in
Rome February 23, 1941
“We are not like the
English. We boast that we
are not like them. We
haven't elevated lying into
a government art nor into a
narcotic for the people the
way the London government
has done…when the enemy
wins a battle it is useless
and ridiculous to seek, as
the English do in their
incomparable hypocrisy, to
deny or diminish it.”
Germany almost
completely conquered
France in 1940.
Mussolini then entered
World War II and invaded
Southern France.
Although France quickly
surrendered, the Italian
army met disaster after
Africa, Greece, Italy
In Africa, Greece, and even Italy itself
Mussolini's armies met defeat. The
Germans kept Italy from total collapse for
a time, but Mussolini was fighting a losing
Escape to Switzerland
In the spring of 1945, the German control
of northern Italy collapsed. Mussolini fled
with his mistress Clara Petacci and a few
other followers, heading to Switzerland.
The Italian underground captured them
during there escape and gave them a
quick trial.
Mussolini Shot
Both Mussolini and
Petacci were shot and
hung by their heels in
front of a garage for all
to see. All through the
day, in raw display of
hatred, men and women
jeered and spit on the
mutilated bodies. Finally,
Allied soldiers removed
the bodies at night.
1) What were some of the problems that
Italy faces after WWI?
2)Why did Italians feel betrayed by the
Treaty of Versailles?
3)What is fascism, and how did Mussolini
gain control of the Italian government?
4)How did Italy fare during WWII?
5)What happened to Mussolini?