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Transcript
F.
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'fhc R i sc c\ R ul c
of S i nql e Purtr.statcs
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THE RISEAND RULEOF THESINGLEPARTYSTATE
IN ITALY
a
a
The Origins of the Single Party State
dl
Overview
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Italy was only formed as a unified country in 1g61.prior to that it had been
made up-of a seriesof independentstatesand a bloc of territory, Lombardy and
Venetia,.belonging
to the Austrian Empire.The 1g59war betweenAustria, on
the one hand, and Piedmont and France,on the other, launched the unification
by.7867,inco.rporatedmosf but not all, of the Italian peninsula.
pr"-.^":9,-wl.ricf,
In 1866Italy fought alongsidePrussiaagainstAustria and was re*aided *ith
Venetia.The new Italian statewas a const-itutionalmonarchy under the House of
Savoy.Initially the capital was Turin, the capital of piedmont, which had led the
processof unification. However, in 1820 the French troops garrisoning Rome
were removed and Romebecamethe new capital of Italy. Thelope withirew to
the Vatican and, from then until 1929,relationsbetween the Italiin stateand the
Papacywere hostile.
The period between 1861 and 7922 is normally referred to as ,Liberal Italy,.
During the First world war, Italy at first remained neutral but, after bitier
argumentsduring the'Intervention Crisis', Prime Minister Antonio Salandraled
Italy into the war on the side of Britain and Francein 1915.The post-war years
were marked by economic and political crisesand saw the e-Lrg"rrc" or th"
Fascistmovement.
l-n 7922 King Victor Emmanuel III appointed Benito Mussolini, the leader and
founder of Fascism,Prime Minister in a coalitiongovernment.fhree years later
Mussolini established a Fascist dictatorship,
was to last until 1943.
Mussolini allied ltaly to Hitler's Germany ind -Fich
the seconcl world war led to
Mussolini's downfali afte-rItaly's disastrousperformance in the *ur. lnlg+i,
Mussolini was dismissedby Kihg Victor EmmanuelIII and arrested,but he was
then rescued by.German froopJand installed as the puppet ruler of the salo
Republicin northern ltaly. In 1945Mussolini was
and shot by Italian
"uptutua
communistpartisans.
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Q.
wn"t conditions led to the establishmentof a single party statein Italy?
'I,iberal ltaly'suffered from a number of chronic weaknesses,which formed part
of the context out of ryhich Fascism emerged in 1919. However, these
weaknessesdid 4ot make the rise of Fascisminei'itable.Other factorsneed to be
consideredin order to explain why.parliamentaryrulefailed and why, when it
failed,..it was replaced by a Fasciit dictatorship, rather than by i socialist
republic or a more authoritarianmonarchy.
rl
115
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The Rise ct Rule oi Single Partv States
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1861-1914
L. Long-term causes/weaknesses
(a)
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The process of unification had been largely artificial and only a minority
of Italians had a developed sense of national consciousness. As D'Azeglio
commented, shortly aftir unification, "We haue nnde ltaly, nozuzoeltaue to
ntakeltalians."
To a large extent Piedmont had absorbed the rest of the Italian states and
its laws, political $ystem and administration on the rest of
Gtt i-[oted
the peninsula. Consequently regional loyalties. remained strongl
Oarticularly in the South,-and the go.rernment based in Rome commanded
iittle ln the way of popular suppo*. The'ques-tion of the.South'remained
u h.rg" issue throughout the period, as the peasa_nts.o-f the South
contiriued to live in ioverty and illiteracy while ihe North forged ahead
economically and socially.
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The mass of Italians had no involvement in, and, little interest in, the
political system that operated in ltaly prior to 1912'
Historians agree that in this period there was a fundamental division
Italy - the uppbr and middle classes who dominated the
f"t*"""'tegXt'
political ryJt"* ani 'real' Iiaiy - the p_easantmasses and the small but
growing industrial proletariat. Until 1881 only half a million.Italians out
6f u tot"ut population of 32 million had the vote; the electorate was then
expanded'uut stitt only comprised about 2 million voters until the 1912
thi electoral law enfranchised all men aged over 30.
(c)
There was a damaging rift between the Italian state and the Catholic
Church, which und"erriined support for the former among the mass of
devout churchgoingItalians.
This stand-off was the result of both the absorptionof the Papal Statesand
Rornu by the Italian kingdom during the process-oJunification and the
anti-clerical(anti-Church)policies pulsued-by the liberals. Until 1904 the
Vatican instructedCatholicsnot to vote in parliamentaryelections.
(d)
Government during the period of 'Liberal Italy' had a reputation for
corruption and pursuing narrow classinterests'
Although there were frequent changes of government. these rarely
constitrited a different poiitical direition as most politicians, as the
of a
historian fohn Pollard plt it, were "merely of different shadin-gsdifferent
the
which
by
system
The
hue."
broadly liberal-cons"rrritiue
liberal leadersconstructedtheir governments,using patronage networks,
bribery and vote-rigging, is [no*n . as 'trasformismo'. The liberal
politiciansrepresente-Jthiinterestsof the upPer and middle classesand
dia tittt" for ihe masses,for example, responding to industrial unrest in
the 1890swith brutal repression.
(e )
There was growing working-class and peasant unrest from the 1890s,
culmiriatingin the GeneralStrikeof 7914.
In the late 19,h century Italy, particularly the South, was backward
economically,both in t-ermsof its agriculture and industry. However,
from the 18-90smajor economic changesbegan to occur. Agriculture in
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parts of the North, particularly the fertile Po Valley, started to modernise
with the introduction of chemical fertilisers and machinery. This put
immense strain on small peasant farmers who struggled to compete with
the bigger landowners who were turning to capitalist farming methods.
Industry also took off from 1896 onwards, particularly in the North-West
with the rapid growth of heavy industries such as steel, shipbuilding and
hydro-electric power. This leci to the development of a growing industrial
proletariat.
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These socio-economic changes led to the development of working-class
movements; trade unions and peasant leagues proliferated and in 1892 the
Italian Socialist Party (PSI) was founded. A down-turn in the world
economy in the 1890s,combined with bad harvests, sparked off a wave of
strikes and land seizures, which the liberal governments met with force.
The government closed down many trade unions and even banned the
PSI for a time.
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(f)
The failure of liberal governments to reconcile the masses.
iut
The only liberal politician who recognised the need to reconcile the mass
of the Italian people to the government was Giovanni Giolitti who
dominated Italian politics in the first decade and a half of the 20'h century
(he had three spells as Prime Minister in the years 1903-14). Unlike other
liberal politicians, Giolitti tried to create a working relationship with the
moderate wing of the PSI and win popular support by means of welfare
and electoral reform. Giolitti also sought to improve relations with the
Papacy by permitting religious education in schools where the local
authorities approved.
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Unfortunately, after some initial success, Giolitti's strategy failed partly
because the economic growth of the early 1900s gave way to a serious
recession (1909 onwards) and partly because Giolitti's decision to pursue
colonies led him to seize Libya from Turkey, which infuriated the PSI. In
1912 the PSI, which was split between a revolutionary 'Maximalist' wing
and a more moderate'Reformist' wing, swung towards the extreme left
and rejected the idea of working with the liberal parties.
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Giolitti decided to extend the vote to the majority of adult males in 1912 in
the hope that this would give the mass of Italians a stake in the political
system. However, the liberal parties proved incapable of adapting to
c-lemocratic politics and it was the PSI who benefited most by the
enlargement of the electorate. This trend was increased after the First
World War when the PSI and PPI (a Catholic parW founded in 191.9)
became the largest parties, leaving the liberals struggling to maintain their
domination of the Italian Chamber (the lower house of Parliament).
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Giolitti's decision to broaden political participation backfired.
Many Italians blamed the liberal governments before the First World War
for failing to make Italy either a great power or an imperial power.
Furthermore, Italian nationalists regarded unification as incomplete
because many Italian-speakers still lived in 'unredeemecl' parts of the
Austriarl Empire.
After unification many Italians expected Italy to become one of the Great
Powers of Europe. However, its economic backwardness and relatively
small population meant that Italy did not achieve that status. The last
*
r77
F.
'fhe fuse .\ Rule of Singlc P:rrtv States
quarter of the 19'h century saw the European powers engage.din the
'icramble for Africa'; however, Italy made only meagre gains in the shape
of Eritrea (1885)and part of Somaliland (1889).The attempt to conquer
Abyssinia ended in disaster and humiliation at the Battle of Adowa in
1895. Giolitti did succeedin wresting Libya off Turkey in 1911in a very
expensivecampaign.
The failure of the liberal governments to make Italy into a Great Power,
led to the rise of Nationalism as an aggressiveand restlessforce in Italian
politics, critical of the weaknessof the government.The Italian Nationalist
Association was establishedin 1910, with Enrico Corradini its leading
figure. At the same time, the poe! Filippo Marinetti, founded an
in-fluentialartistic movement,known as Futurism. The Futurists glorified
mechanisationand war and criticised'Liberal ltaly' for its feebleness'
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2.
Medium and Short-Term Causes:1914-22
(a)
The Impact of the lntervention Crisis (1914-15)
Italian politicians were bitterly divided by the 'Intervention Crisis'. When the
First W-orldWar broke out in August 79L4,Italy remained neutral. Since1882,it
had been part of the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary:
a political
However, over the course of autumn 1914 through to spring 19'1,5,
war'
the
Italy
should
debateraged over whether
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Those who favoured intervention included:
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Right-wing liberals,notably the Prime Ministet Antonio Salandra and
the Forcign Minister, Sidney Sonnino. They hoped that intervention on
the side of the trlple Entente (Britain, Franceand Russia)would result
in Italy gaining Itilian-speaking areas of the Austrian Empire, such as
Trieste ana tne South Tyrol. They also expectedthe war to strengthen
the Liberal stateby rallying Italians around the government'swar effort.
Salandra was the driving force behind the Treaty of London (April
1915),which Italy signed with Britain and France.Salandra persuaded
King Victor Emmanuel to approve the treaty but the Italian Chamber
was not consultedin the negotiations.
The Nationalistsand Futurists who believed war would galvanise and
unite the ltalian people and lead to the 'redemption' of the ltalianspeakingareasstill under Austrian rule.
Left-wing interventionistsincluded revolutionary syndicalistswho had
either broken away from the PSI in the yearsbefore the war or did so in
the latier category,the most important figure was the editor
79'1.4-75.In
of the socialist newspaper,Aaqnti, Benito Mussolini who had originally
opposed the war but from October 1914 argued in favour of
intirvention. He was promptly expelled by the PSI. Revolutionary
syndicalistsargued that the war would transform society,possibly lead
to revolution and, in the process,destroy 'Liberal Italy'.
Mussolini founded the newsPaper 'Popolo d'Italia' to Press for
intervention: Left-wing interventionists formed fasci tli azione
riaoluzionaria (revolutionary action groups) to campaign and
demonstratein favour of intervention; thesegroups can be seenas the
forerunnersto the later Fascistmovement.
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(b)
The war widened the political and social clivisions within ltaly, rather
than uniting Italians as- many of the interventionists had hoped. The
intervention crisis split the liberals irrevocably.
o
5 million Italians served in the armed forces and manv of them,
particularly the junior officers and NCos who were drawn lirgely from
the lower middle class, were politicised by the experience. They blamed
the liberal politicians for mismanaging the war and hated the Socialists
for failing to support the war.
o
The Italian economy was mobilised to support 'total war'. Industrial
output expanded rapidly, for example, Fiat's production of vehicles
went up by 5007oduring the war, whilst its workforce grew from 4000 to
40,000. Inevitably this would lead to huge economic dislocation when
the war ended and the economy reverted Io a peace-time footing.
o
Inflation u.rq food shortages became serious issues, with prices
quadrupling between 1914 and 1918. To finance the war, the Iiarian
government borrowed greatly. The government spent 148,000 million
lire on the war; that was twice the total government expencriture in the
entire period 7861-1914.
o
There
growing un-rest among the industrial working class as they
rya;
suffered from price inflation, shortages and military-style discipline in
factories__producingwar-related goods. In August 1977, the poiice and
army killed 50 protestors in Turin after working-class demonstrations
against prices and shortages. The increased militancy of the industrial
workers was reflected in the expansion of trade union membership and
the growth of the PSL
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on the whole, the Catholic Church was not in favour of Italy joining the
war, particularly as Catholic Austria woulel be Italy's main enemy in the
war.
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The PSI attacked the war as an imperialist war ancl campaigned against
i n te rv e n ti o n .
The Italian army fought on a front in Northern Italy against the Austrians and
Germans. Three years of largely static, trench-warfaie cost Italy 600,000 clead. In
October 7917 ltaly suffered a major defeat at Caporetto, which .saw the Austrians
and Germans advance over 100 kilometres. Right at the end of the war in
october 1918 Italy scored a victory over the Austrians at Vittorio Veneto.
Et.
\
Giolitti and his supporters among the liberals. Most of the Chamber
opposecl the clecision to sign the Treaty of London. Giolittians saw no
advantage to be gained from entering the war.
The Impact of the First World War on Italy (19L5-18)
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Those who opposed intervention included:
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(c)
The Post-War Crisis ('1,9'l,B-22)
Italy faced serious economic, social and political crises after the First World War.
These crises provided 'Mussolini wittr the opportunity to create, and, then
rapidly expand, his new Fascist movement. There was nothing inevitable about
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powerbutwhatis certain
is thatthe,riberar
poriticians
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who
drrrrJ;;#:*i:"ll#in:past 50v*u,,pio,,"*i'';:;"," or coping
withrhe
uusinlls
asusua,,
E"orll:','ary
with
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The Liberals,
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control*";;"g::o-r",1ooilIr",i"?;,1rf,?r,""gileas their traditionar
poritical
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1' The advent of democracy
and mass politics;
an end to ,trasformismo,
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promised
theextension
or thevoteroa, adurt
!i,1:.'1"-!'oerals.had
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biggesr
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"r"n#",tl"mber
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u.nlbleto work-tog1f:.
t"."rri irr"J
Furrhermor",
,rr"ril""'i3 1;
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rocrarrsts (pSI)
*
f*iffi
i:H#,1rl3.;'5ip1l*1trtrir,uistrffi
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3
ItaIian.poliri., Ou.1_:.,l:Iea.si
ngly fragmented t1Jl"f"rt-war
Ltoerarsstruggting
i n the post_w period,
to .onrt.u."it;;:;;j:"1
with the
-.1.,:,
g:::."d;;.?ru';9,,:i,"::, :,:,,';"jm,*::.io,,pp*ir,J
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n;l1i."i]
(pCr)
r#::li"f i"#i":hlfl3x;:l"' * r,,'ni.,y
increasei
;31-
(tsascists)
in ,n""'Li",ryr
.win 35.^s_eats
lLommunists)
win l
;ljt"
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rtterentgroupings
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2. The,mutilated victory,
IlIl
Italian Nationalists
were furiousat the ter
tn 1919 and they
peace-treaties
were able to create
signed in paris
,6Tt,of -th"
vrctories had been
that the Itatian army,s
b.etrayeduy i
iii,]Tpl"ttion
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'l-he Rise & Rule of
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The nationalist poet, Gabriele D'Annunzio, coined the phrase ,the
mutilated
victory', to characterisethe disappointment Italian patriJts felt at h";;;
*;;
the war but 'lost the. peace'. b)Annunzio led a force of 2000 ex-soldiers,
Nationalists and Futurisfu:ulg occupied.Fiumein september 1979in
protest ii
the ltalian government'se-lecision
to iand it over t" y"g";i;ia
as the h.;;t
;i
St Germain c-lictated.
government of Francescolfrtti f"lt unable to elrive
-The
D'Annunzio out, so the oclupation continuecluntil Giolitti returnecl prime
as
Minister anclejectedD'Annuniio and his paramilitariesin December1920.
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3. Economiccrisisand socialunrest
The transition from wartime.to peacetimeeconomy proved very
painful for
Italy. Inflation continued.torise iapidly - prices inireasedby 50%,
in r91g-20,
hitting those on fixed incomes and 'thoie *ith savffi particularly
hard.
Unemployment rose steeplyas 2.5 million Italian soldiers fir".6 d"-obililed
and
n9 iobs to return home to. Unemployment peaked at 2 million in
Snany^lo^u1d
late 1919' ln 1927 the US gove,rnme.nt
placed siricl restriitions on immigration
into the USA; this worsenEdthe prighi of the poor in r""it"." rtaly,
many of
who had in the past soughtescape'in"the
form oiemigrati'; iliil;^U;'A
The Biennio Rosso Q9t9-201
The years 7919-20were marked by huge socialunrest and becameknown
as the
Biennio Rosso(the 'two recryeari'). R"adicalsocialistshoped io
emulate Russia
and stage a Bolshevik-stylerevolution, whilst
*iaJie an.t .rpper class
Italians feared for their property in the event of an-u,,y
Itaiian ,o.t.b;;iR"'";i;ti."):
Q.
Wtrut were the key features of the Biennio Rosso?
o Once the war ended,,T1Tl
;.outhpm-peasants,led by socialist land leagues
seized uncultivated land,left failow
by large lando*.,"r'r. The government-had
inadvertently encouragedthis because,aftEr the disaste. ui
(October
sought to.keepj,B^t!" troops, morale by promising tantt reform.
l?t^tl:ll
!:d
rne lrberaf
b-"ypassing the
_governmentsof 7979-20sanctioned these seizures
-u["r"tto
Visochi and Falconi Decrees;this failure to protect property
iigr,"""ri..;-.t"a
many of the landed classes.In the North, peasantunions forcea landlords
to cut
rents and increasewages.
The trade:ni"":^gj:. enormously;the socialistCGL,smembership
increased
..
trom
25Q000 in 1918 to over 2 million by 1920 and the Cathoiic
;ilo";;
membershiprosefrom 160,000
to 1,600,000
inihe samep"ri"a.
r with this increasein size,camean increase
in.militancy. rn 7919and again in
1920 more than 1 million workers went on_strike, culmlnating
''ir,in a four-week
'occupation of the factories' in August-september
*n"",
*ur.,y cities,
industrial workers stagedsit-ins and tSok over the fucto.i"r,'retting
up factory
committees.The occupationeventually was called off, purtly
u".olurJ ciolini,
the Prime Minister, offered rom" coni"ssions_
to the *oi[urJ; tni, *", urtt".iy
middle and.upper ctasseswho saw this as bowing tL
fi::ll"*I^.T1.y_:lthe
rtegal pressure.lhe.t-rccupatipn,s
ultimate failure demoralised many of"the
factory workers and their militancy-lessenedsomewhat ii ts,zt-zz.
However,
labou.rdisputes still remainedvery disruptive and in August1922
thesocialists
calleda generalstrike.
So-cial.unrestspawned growing political violencebetween the
Socialistsancl
.'
the t'ascrstsbut the violencewas also a consequence
of the First world war in
721
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'Ihe Rise ct Rule of Sinsle Pertl'States
war,they
that many young men,s experience-of figh-ting m,gan!that after the
forcephysical
and
ionfrontation
by
r^""ghft"",;rolve"political and social issuei
- broke up strikes and
pariist'squads' - recruited mainly from-_ex-servicemen
and
closed down socialistand trade nttiott officesthroughout much of northern
very
succes$ylil
also
were.
squads
Fascist
The
onwards.
1920
fro.n
ituly
.""tr"f
1920
.o*Uuti"g'the socialists antl unions in the countryside; from autumn
and
rural
of
large
areas
of
control
wrested
th.o,rSh t"othe summer of 792!, they
and
trade
unions
the
socialists,
from
away
Italy
central
rt""if,.i"L northern and
socialists.
3,000
over
killed
Faicists
the
perio,J7920-22,
i"uru"t leagues.In
Italian Election Results,1919and 1'927
Fascists
Nationalists
Conservative Liberals
Giolittian Liberals(loosegrouping)
Popolari (PPI)
Socialists(PSI)
Communists (PCI)
Total
EI
"!
J
.l
FI
4l
*,
I
:l
ts- r
156
35
10
43
60
108
123
508'
5J5
4't
168
100
:t
G:r
_l
l
f,
-t
15
of the
Note that I have not included data for every party in the table, so the sum
columns does not match the overall total of seatsshown for the Chambet. Data taken
fuomz Compendio di Statistica Elettorale, Il,1939, cited in The Fascist ExPetience in
Italy by fohn Pollard.
::li
Fr
Q.
4I
Wtty did the Socialistsnot take power during the Biennio Rosso?
F.
Given the huge growth of the PSI and the socialisttrade unions in th9 Post-war
period and lhe" increased radicalism of the PSI, which in 1918 formally
committed itself to establishingthe dictatorship of the proletariat, it might seem
surprising that the Socialistsdid not stage a revolution. Certainly this is wt|at
many of lhe middle and upper classesfeared,particularly given the example ot
BolshevikRussia.
Altemativel!, given the fact that the PSI was the largestparty in the Chamber
urrJ tri,l.npil"i i" local government elections in muih of northern and central
Italy in tgz}, it might appear puzzling that the PSI did not come to power
legally.
vI
ftl
!
ei
I
t
3
Factorsexplaining the Socialists'failure:
The Socialistshad always been badly divided. Many of the m-ostextreme
socialists- the revolutionary syndicalists - had, like Mussolini, broken
with the PSI over intervention in the First world war. After the war, the
psl was broadly split between a Reformist wing (*of _moderate)and a
Maximalist wing'committed to revolution. ln 7921, some of the
Maximalists brolie off to form the Italian Communist Party (PCI). This
further undermined the confidenceof the PSI'
Contrary to their revol-utionary rhetoric, PSI leaders such as Giacinto
Serratiwere cautiousabout the leasibility of revolution. They were unsure
that the Italian working class was ready for revolution' The PSI leaders
were very passive,t"ultittg to events rither than trying to shape them;
j
F-
f
r- -'1
722
-ir
*3
3
'l-lrc Rise c\ Rulc oiSinslc Prnv
Statcs
t
I
this passivityis well reflectedby a headlinein Auantil From November
1979,'AU'Lue
Inae to do is ruait'.
I
t
Socialiststrength had peakedby late 1920.After that, partly becauseof the
failure of the occupationof the factories,but also becauseof attacksby the
Fascistsquads,working classmilitancylessened.
3
The PSI was insufficientlystrongto gain power legally becausethe Party
would not work with either the PPI or the Liberals,athough Giolitti had
offered cabinetposts to the PSIbefore 1914.
3
The Rise of Mussolini and Italian Fascism
{
Mu
ini's political career up to 1918
i:!J
?
h
9
Mussolini joined the Socialist Party in 1910 and achieved prominence as editor
of the Socialist newspaper Auanti! Mussolini was then expelled from the PSI in
1974 tor advocating that Italy should intervene in the war; he argued that the
war would lead to revolution in Italy.
Mussolini then founded and edited ll Popolo D"Italia in November
financial backing from some wealthy Nzlilanesebusinessmen and
government. He used Il Popolo to campaign for intervention. when
the war in 1915, Mussolini joined the Italian army but was wounded
army in 1917.
1914, with
the French
Italy joined
and tert the
lutl
L919:Mussolini
\
r.t
a
v
3
q
9
I
3
3
I
-wing Fascist movement
when the war ended, Mussolini decided to create a new left-wing political
movement, to which he hoped to recruit ex-servicemen, dissident socialists and
syndicalists. However, right from its inception, the Fascist movement contained
very diverse elements, which included:
Revolutionary syndicalists who had broken away from the PSI.
Radicals like Edmondo Rossoni, the head of the Fascist Union
Confederation, wanted to sweep away Liberal Italy and create a new
state in which employers and employees came together to control the
economy by means of 'corporations'.
Militants like Roberto Farinacci and Italo Balbo who wanted a Fascist
revolution, which would involve the Party taking over the state and
fundamentally altering Italy.
Ex-Nationalists who advocated a more authoritarian system of
government and prioritised making Italy into a great power.
Clerico-Fascists who were hostile to the Socialists and sought to heal
the longstanding rift between bhurch and state by means of the Fascist
Party.
March 1919 Mussolini set up the FascitJi Combattimen
fo in Milan. The word
3
T23
,d
i
I
,rl
I
I
The Rise & Rr,rleof Sinsle Pertv States
carnecl as
rives trom ttne Dunqle oI rotrs carneo
'fascio' means'grouP'or'bundle' and denves
'by
At
this
in
ancient.R:*";
magistrates
a symbol of oifice
:tlge, Yl::tlil
l"iiU"rut"fy avoided callin[ the fascists a'party' as he wanted to suggest that
the Fascisti were reiectit g th" traditional party structure, which, by 1979, was so
discredited in the eyes of many Italians.
In the initial period of the Fascist movement, Mussolini proYe.d unable to attract
more than sdrreral hundred followers and he suffered total humiliation in the
November 19]9 elections, when the Fascists did not win a single seat and, even
in Milan, they polled less than 5000 votes. Mussolini's 1919 programme was
anti-capitalist, anti-clerical and republican. It advocated:
))
,)
>
))
)
>
>
Abolition of the Senate (the upper house of parliament, which the
King nominated)
The election of a National Assembly to draw uP a new constitution
Universal suffrage (male and female)
A guaranteed minimum wage
Worker involvement in running factories
Confiscation of war Profits
Confiscation of church ProPerty
Following the disaster in the November 1919 elections, Mussolini's support
to-dwindle and it looked as if the movement would colla
l92O-21: Mussolini
m
wever, Mussolini i
IEi
G
e
e,
to the Right
Gly began to move the movemenfs programme to
the right, a processthat continubd tfiroughout the period.to L922.Crucially for
the Fiscists) late tgZO onwards saw the movement make rapid progress in
winning support in rural areas of northern _and central Italy as the Fascists
oreanis-ed'sqlads' to attack the socialists,Catholic unions and peasantleagues'
Th"eFascistswere, therefore,able to appeal to the landed classesas champions
of property rights. Simultaneously,but with nOt quite such.success,the Fascists
cf,iu"iged thE socialistsand trade unions in the iities and maior towns of the
industri"alnorth. Fascist suPport and influence in the South was much more
limited.
F
D'
5
Mussolini increasingly posed as a resPectablepolitician and courted _supp.ort
Mussolini
from the elites andli6eial politicians. In Apr1|7927,
-'national Giolitti offered
forthcoming
in
the
bloc'
the opportunity to ioin the government's
elections.the pNf now began to develop as a parliamentary Pa$y.al they wo.n
35 seatsin the May 7927elections.Giolilti's new coalition was highly uns-table
and in luly 7921it collapsedwhen the Popolari withdrew. Giolitti was_replaced
as Prime Minister by-a moderate socialist, Ivanoe Bonomi, but Bonomi's
coalition proved no more durable than Giolitti's.
In June 1927,inhis maiden parliamentaryspeech,Mussolini publicly renounced
the Fascists'earlier anti-cleiicalism,declaring that, 'Frtscismneitherptactisesnor
theLatinsnd Imperialtrqditionsof Romeare
belieue...that
preaches
anti-clericalism...l
.
by Catholicism'
todayrepresentecl
he conclucledthe Pact
As part of Mussolini'ssearchfor political respectability,
of Pacificationwith the Socialistsin August 1921.However,this led to a rift with
the Ras who regarded Mussolini's negotiationswith the liberals and elites as a
betrayal of the"ir commitment to a more. extrerne transformation-of_Italy.
Mussolini briefly resisned as Fascistleader (but not uq !9e49f-9!lh9-&scitl
t24
t._
I
I
'['lre Rise e\ Rtrle oi Sinslc l)urfi.Srrtes
It
group within
3
t
I
)
)
y calculating
movement. In November, at the third Fascist Congress, Mussolini publicly
rejected the Pact of Pacification and was reinstated as i'ascist leacler or'Duce' .
In october
7927, Mussolini relaunched the Fascist movement as a
preclominantly righewingparty, the pnrtito NazionnleFascistn(the pNF), which
now emphasised a fervent nationalism and a hatred of socialism. The new
programme advocated:
)
))
>
))
)
amber), p
that
woulcl eventu
recognise that the Fascismiould not survive "without him; that he was thl
'cemenf that bound the disparateelementsof Fascismtogether into a national
The privaiisation of all sectors of industry currentlv uncler state
control (e.g. the railways)
The right to private property to be guaranteed
Resolving industrial and agrarian disputes by creating .corporations
representing all classes
The
ne lncorporatron
incorporation ot
of any ltalian-speaking areas still not part of Italy;
-l
Ituly t,, play a dominant role in the-Mediterranean
appointed Prime Minister
)
)
\
I
t
I
\
,
Bonomi's coalition governm
by a very weak liberal-conservative coalition led by iuigi Facta. Fascist violence
increaseclin 7922 and Facta's government was unabl*eto restore order. The
socialistsand Communists called-a generalstrike for August 1922as a protest
{Sainst the Fascistsbut this backfired disastrously becau"sethe Fascistiquads
thenbroke
tp. th9 general strike and many of the'propertied classes*".u'.ro*
strengthenedin their conviction that only a government containing Mussolini
could maintain law and order. In sepiemder 7922, in a speech"in udine,
Mussolini made clearhis commitment tosupporting the
-onut.hy.
By autumn 1922,Mussolini was walking a political tightrope; he was under
intense.pressurefrom.the Ras, the powerfui regionalFasclit bosses,to seize
pgwer-by force and then create a dictatorship. However, at the same time,
Mussolini was.negotiatingwith liberal and coniervative politicians to win their
s.upport for his appointment as prime minister; in ociober 1922, Mussolini
demanded5 cabinetposts.
The March on Rome (October 1922)was a successfulbluff on Mussolini's part.
The Fascistsmobilised 30,000poorly armed squaclristifor the Mur;h ;; il;;.
They would have been no mitch ior the r"g.rlur army. on october 27, Facta
asked King Victor Emmanuel to declare martial faw in preparation for
suppressing the Fascist march-.crucially, after initially agreeing to Facta,s
requesl King Victor Emmanuel lost his nerve and canielled the "order. Facta
Victor.Emmanuel probably feared that civil war might
l_T^T:dl."l".y,,resigned.
breaKout tt the Army was ordered to confront the Fascistsquadsand he re""ttrt
to have been concerned lest the.Army prove unreliable (although uri in"
evidencesuggeststhe Army would have obeyedorders to suppressth? squads).
Liberals and conservativesclose to the King, such as Luigi Federzoni, then
priire Minister; ttey berieved that
J.'i-,t9.ap.point Mussolini as
ifvlse$
Mussolinicould be 'tamed' and that,in power,as part of a coalitirn with the
Liberals and Nationalists,the Fascistsiould be incluced to moderate their
behaviour and programme. In a word, the liberal-conservativepoliticians were
resorting to their traditional 'trasformisnro'
tactics.Mussolini was duly appointed
Prime Minister on 29 october. ihe Fascistsquads were then invited to march
through Rome on 30 Octoberas a victo
rade.
r25
The fuse & Rule of Sinqle Pertv States
movement grow so rapidly between 1919 and1922'
Q. WtV did the Fascist
premiership by October L922?
fropelling Mussolini to the
in
a tbzohwtdredmentbers
phenomenon;
is n remarkahle
t't'om-iu.st
TIre tiseof Fnscisflt
1'922'
Octobcr
300,000Ltt1
to
oaer
grazu
the'nrouement
1-9L9,
H
-r
F:"-
:I
r--
_r
;$
T :x
Mussolini was a brilliant iournalistand orator.He had the ability to.whip
and rhe 'common touch', in stark contrast to the liberal
;;;-;;dr;s
p5fiir.i""r. Mussolini offered charismatic, authoritarian leadership,
promising to restore national greatnessand revive the glory of ancient
Rome.
Mussolini,sposturing and his dynamism helped create an ex.aggerated
o'fho* pJwerful the Fascistswere.Serrati,the Socialistleader,
i;;-;;i;"
rabbit;he roars' Obsetaers
as, 'a rttbbit- a phenomenal
Mussolini
deicribed
zuhotlonot knozuhim mistakehimfor a lion"
'only
Mussolini was pragmatic and flexible - he once declared that,
from
prop;ramme,
Fascists'
of
the
transformation
His
ianiacs neuerchingeY.
predominantly leii-wing wing in 1919_to predominantly.right-wingby
to
iuie tgit, illu'stratesthai and lxplains the growing appeal.of Fascism
any
to
attachment
of
lack
his
the middle classes.Mussolini made clear
particular ideologicalposition in a speechto the chamber in December
n"e staied that,'the Fascistprogrammeis not a thrcry of.
i;ri-i"-*hicn
is a process of continual elaboration and
programme
dogmas...our
transformation'.
of
Mussolini and the Fascistsexploited bourgeois and upper classfears
to
Rosso
Biennio
the
during
many
to
appeared
socialistrevolution, which
offer
to
seemed
squadristi
the
property-owners,
many
For
be imminent.
the best defenceagainsta left-wing revolution'
Many of the Fascistswere recruited from the middle classand, even more
so fiom the lower midclle classes- small farmers, skilled craftsmen,
teachersand civil servants.This socialEJouphad dominated
,huot
"tn"t
war and the war
""o"rs,
the
u"f."-ri'
;,r.rio. officers and NCOs during thepoliticised them. After the war, they resentedthe privileged position and
th;l"ii"s classesbut weie also hostile to the trade unions and
;;;;;;f
tiat they would be levelled down to the status of the
i;.td;Jr,l""ri"i
labouring classes'
of
Mussolini was the 'glue' that held the various and competing strands
often
was
i"r.ir* together.A|though, his authority-overthe.movement
the indeiendently-mincted Ras, ultimately no-one else
;h;i[;g"d"Uy
as i credtble aliernative leader. It was Mussolini who had the
;;;;;e
politiial skills required to negotiatewith the establishedpoliticians and it
Lr Vf"rr"f i"i wf'romade Faiism into a national movement,rather than a
iumble of regional grouPs.
-T
_x
5'r
F;x
-T
:i
;l
:x
F "r
YG
ft:-
\-I
F3
ci
V G*
3.
F,
-I
-I
F,r
G.
:t
l, f
126
I
6i
EE
4*
'['hc ltisc c\ Rulc of Sinsle Prtrt."Stetes
The leading British historian Denis Mack Smith characterised the disparate
nature of Fascism in the following terms:
'Fttscistnhatl alementsof both [Left ttntl Rightl...h was reuoh'rtionnry,but coild also
sonletimesclaim to be conseruatire.It itas nnnrtrchist but also republican, at tlifferant
it claimetlto ba Socinlist,but cotrldalso be
times.lt uas Catholic,but alsonnti-claricttl;
tctbe so...'
thc
Duce
it
suited
tulrcneT,er
cttptitalist
strongly
'/
Mussolini was able to appeal to and balance elite support (e.g. that of the
inclustrialist Alberto piretti) and that of the squadristi. This was an
extremely difficult juggling act for Mussolini. If he leaned too much
towarcls the violent aulhoritarianism of the Ras or the radicalism of the
ex-revolutionary syndicalists, he risked alienating his supporters among
the elites. Converiely, if he appeared too much the moderate and the
defender of the ruling classes,he might lose the backing of the Ras.
The squads' destructibn of the unions and socialist organisations met with
the approval of many big landowners, industrialists and leading figure-s
within- the armed forces, police and the Vatican. However, too much
violence threatened a descent into anarchy and alarmed the propertied
classes. This explains the Pact of Pacification that Mussolini signed with
the reformist wing of the PSI in the summer of 7927. However, the Pact
was denounced by the Ras, the powerful regional Fascist bosses like Italo
Balbo of Ferrara, who continued their attacks on the socialists. Mussolini,
therefore, abandoned the Pact.
Sometimes Mussolini was forced to go further and faster than he wanted
by the Ras, e.g. Mussolini was pushed into the March on Rome (October
7922\.Italo Balbo told Mussolini, 'We are going, either zuith you or without
y o u .'
within the ruling elites who did not become Fascists but saw in Mussolini
a valuable ally ln the fight against socialism. ln 7922, there was a new
pope, Pius XI, who was sympathetic to Mussolini and sensed in him an
opportunity of improving church-state relations.
'/
The police and Army were favourably inclined towards the squadristi and
helped them in their battles with the Socialists, either by turning a blind
eye to squad violence or by supplying the squads with weapons.
/
The Liberals miscalculated, they thought they could use Mussolini;
therefore, the 1921 elections saw the PNF invited to join the government
list by Giolitti. Similarly, Salandra, in October 7922, advised Victor
Emminuel to appoint Mussolini Prime Minister, wanting to prevent his
longstanding rivil, Giolitti, from coming to power and believing that the
Fascists could be tamed.
l
727
'l'hc Rise c\ Rule r)i Sinsle Panv Stetes
The Establishment of Single-Party Rule
From prime Minister to Duce (1922-261
When Mussolini was appointeclPrime Minister in October1922,his government
was a coalition in which there were iust three Fascists;the rest of the cabinet
comprisecl Nationalists, Popolari, Liberals and two generals. Mussolini's
position was therefore far from unassailableas he depended on the continuing
support of the King and, within the Chamber, the Fascistsonly held 7'/oof the
seats.
Yet by the end of 1926Mussolini had instituted a single_g.arty state in ltalyDuring the first three years of Mussolini's tenure as Prime Minister, it remained
unclea"rwhether Mussolini would pursue constitutional methods or whether he
would look to achievea completeFascisttakeover of the state and society' This
ambiguity about the nature of Fascistrule - motlerate or revolutionary - was
only resolved in 7925-26.
The Matteotti Crisis 0924)
The 'Matteotti Crisis" above all else in the period 7922-26,highlighted the
tensionsand ambiguities within the Fascistmovement and revealed how fragile
Mussolini's hold oi power was. In lune1924 a political crisis erupted over.the
murder of the moderate socialist leader, GiaComo Matteotti. Matteotti had
in the Chamber at the end of May, in _which he
delivered a major speech
-attack
on the illegal methods employed by the lascists in
launched a scathing
the recent electioni; just under two weeks later he was abducted in broad
daylight in Rome and-his body was eventually discovered in a ditch in August.
It wai clear that his murdereri were Fascists,what was less so was the extent to
which Mussolini was involved. The outrage causedby the murder threatenedto
overwhelm Mussolini and for a time it tooked as if Mussolini would not survive
as Prime Minister.
Moderate Fascistssuch as De Stefaniand Federzoni put pressureon Mussolini
to expel the extremistswho were damaging the reputation of Fascism.Mussolini
respondedby appointing FederzoniMinister of the Interior and Alfredo Rocco
Minister of firsticb (both men were former Nationalists and had great influence
within ltaly;s ruling classes).He also dismissedCesareRossi,head of the Fascist
press office, who was directly linked to Matteotti's murder and Emilio de Bono,
ihe FascistDirector of Public Security.The Rasand more militant elementsin the
Fascistmovement were furious at thesemeasures.
Mussolini managed to ride out the crisis becausethe gpposition was weak and
divided and mide the mistake of walking out of the Chamber, which did
nothing to undermine Mussolini's position. Equally important to Mussolini's
survivil was the continuing support of the King and of the Vatican' Victor
Emmanuel preferred to retiin Mussolini as Prime Minister rather than risk
seeinga revival of the fortunes of the Left or a revolt by Fascistextremists'
128
F.
-:
rA
Ix
'Ihc Rise .t Rr-rlcof Sinslc Prrtv Strtes
a
J
FIow was Mussolini able to consolidate his power and create a single
a.
party state?
1.
Merging the Nationalist Party with the PNF (1923); this gave Fascism
as Nationalists like Alfredo Rocco and Luigi
greJter-.espectability
(iee
influential connections among big landowners
had
above)
Federzoni
and inc-lustrialists,the armed forces, civil service and the royal court.
)
3
t
b.
-l
I
d.
Banning strikes and ending independent trade unions (only,Fascist unions
*"r"
p-"rmitted) in a law of April 7926, which followed on from the
Palazzo Vidoni Pact of October 1925 between the Italian Confederation of
Industry and the Fascist trade unions.
e.
Pursuing an assertive foreign policy during the Corfu Incident (1923), in
which Mussolini bullied Greec-einto paying compensation for the murder
of some Italian officers by Greek bandits. Mussolini also pleased
nationalists by successfully negotiating with Yugoslavia for the transfer of
Fiume to Italy (7924).
t.
Making concessions to the Catholic Church. The 1923 Education Act made
religious education compulsory in primary schools and allowed
secondary schools to offer it. Schools were also permitted to place
crucifixei in classrooms. In January 1923, Mussolini had talks with the
Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, in which he declared
his desire to resolve the long-running dispute between the Italian state
and the Vatican.
,'
,'A
ga
D
0
a
I
3
&
In 7924-5 Mussolini's Finance Minister, De Stefani, reassured the business
class by pursuing orthoclox financial policies, cutting government
spending and balancing the budget. In this, De Stefani was helped by an
upturn in the world economy.
Cancelling the Falconi and Visocchi Decrees, which had legalised peasant
land seizures. This reassured the big landowners.
?
{
{
Mussolini, posing as a respectable politician, successfully wooed the
upper and middle classesby:
,
Mussolini
by,
successfullv extended his control within and over the Chamber
Arresting the leaders of the Communist Party in December 1922; in
moving against the Communists, Mussolini used emergency Powers
granted to him for one year by the Chamber.
Breaking the PPI as a political force in 7923. The PPI was very divided
between'right-wing members, who favoured close ties with Mussolini
because they feared the Socialists and wanted to end the rift between
Church and state, and more reformist, or left-wing members, who hated
the Fascists who attacked the Catholic unions.
Mussolini sacked the PPI members of his coalition government in April
\923. Pope Pius XI, desperate to avoid confrontation with the Fascists,
forced the leader of the PPI, Dom Luigi Sturzo, to resign. The PPI split
over the Acerbo Law (see below); some right-wing deputies voting for it
and most deciding to abstain.
*
729
I
Thc Rise & Rule of Single Penv States
GettingtheChambertoPaSstheAcerboLaw(November1923).Thisgave
i., an election two-thirds of the seatsin the
in" f,"?ty'*ath t'hJ;;'uot"t
to get this measurepassed because
anxious
Mussolini was
itr"-U*.
winted to ensure that the Fascists
he
and
1924
in
elections were due
having to rely on a coalition with
than
rather
Chamber,
the
a""-,i""t"a
other parties.
Mtrssolinipresenteda
Winnine the parliamentaryelectionsin April 192"1'
some Popolari,to
and
including'Liberals
candiiates,
fira;a
;;;;;;,il4
dot"t"*ent candiclateswon 66'X'of the seats (375 out of
i;" ;i;;l;;;iu.
575),with PNF memberssecuring ovet 5O'/"'
The Fascistsused unprecedentedviolence and intimidation l$ainst
tn" Fascists
oooo."r,t, in the 1g24dlections.vote-rigging and brib.ery.by
had
methods
these
p*.icutarly in the Souttl where
,J"T;';i;;pr""a,
in
the
votes
the
of
80"/,,
over
traclitionally been eifective.The Fascistswon
largely
still
classes
working
the
where
nly 54% in the North,
il;th ilil
voted for the Socialists.
J.
Mussolini was [email protected]!!y
FascistParty bY:
successful in increasing his control over the
Creating the FascistGrand Council in Decembet1922.This waspr:Y:il
of improving communicationbetween the FascistParty and the
;;;"?
his
sovernment but agaifi Mussolini saw this as a vehicle for asserting
and particularly over the Ras'
i"t*"ut control o'ier the PNF
4.
I
-
Ir
G
t
E
r;.
r
k
I
I
Br
I
I
F.
r3"
,I
I
r'Q
or
Establishingthe FascistMilitia (VoluntaryMilitia,fo;.fationll security
into
squads
local
of
the
all
absorbed
MSVN
The
1923.
in
ihort)
VfSVN for
to greater
a national militia. Mussolini hoped that this would lead
thereby
squadristi,
the
over
cliscipline and centralised control
a step
proved
only
This
Ras.
the
power,of
the independent
Fascist
the
of
file
""Jl'r*i"irj
and
rank
the
over
control
Mussolini's
towards incriasing
movement;his coitrol remainedincompleteat this stage'
Liberal and conservative politicians continued to
Mussolini and were outmanoeuvred by him:
I
ft
underestimate
Acerbo
Thev supported the Acerbo Law (1923).The Liberalsvoted for the
since
had,
representation
proportional
U"ti""ed that
i;;;;[i;-ttuy
-f""r"red
coalition
weak
of
series
a
produced
and
tfre socialists
lsrs,
governments.
The opposition parties blundered in their resPonseto the political crisis
off Uy'the murder of the moderate socialist leader, Giacomo
$;;kJi
initially
Matteotti in June 1924.Thiswas a seriouscrisis for Mussolini and
Minister'
Prime
as
survive
not
would
it looked as if Mussolini
when Mussolini was implicated in the murder, most of the opposition
the
deputies(but not the Pop'olari)walked out of the Chamber.However,
the
on
Fascist.grip.
the
strengthened
simply
so-calledAventine Seceision
Chomb", and achievednothing. Wli"" thef tried to return to the Chamber
in1925, thev were refusedadmission'
t
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130
#
S'"
fr
'I'he Rise ct Rule of Sinslc Plnv Stetcs
(january L925)
constitrrtionql rule ot clictfltotship?The Question Resolved
The Matteotti Crisis brought to a head the tensionswithin the Fascistmovement.
n a"i"gutlon of 30 .onr.,ir (as the Raswere now known) delivered Mussolini an
ultimafum on New Year's Eve: either Mussolini took stepstowards establishing
o Ji.tito.rt ip or they woukl tleposehim as leader. Three days later Mussolini
it, the'chamberin which he announcedhis intention to establish
;;;;;;t""ih
authoritaiian government. In the speechMussolini cleclaredhis responsibility
for Fascistvioiencewithout admittingto any involvementin Matteotti'smurder:
and moral
'If all the ttiolencehasbeenthe result o.fa particular historical,
.political
with a
climate
this
hsae
created
I
becnuse
miirc,
is
this
rcsltorrsibility
therr
ciimate,
for
that'lus lasteti
propagttntla
from theIntuuentionCrisisuntil totlay.'
Q.
o
o
o
o
o
o
?
o
I
o
o
o
l
Wt ut steps did Mussolini take towards establishing a single party state?
The SocialistPartv (PSI)was banned in October 1925'
C".,rorship was'increased by the Press Law of December 7925. All
journalists now had to be registeredby the Fascistauthorities. Prefects
were empowered to dismisseditors or closedown newsPaPers'
In 1926 Mussolini acquired the power to issue decrees;he issued over
100,000in the next 17 YearsLocally elected mayors were replaced by podestas appointed by the
prefects(7926).
Fr"" trade unions were banned (7926); consequently,the Catholic and
Socialist trade union confederationsdissolved ihemselves. This just left
the Fascisttrade unions.
All opposition partieswere banned in Novembet 1926;this followed on a
seriei bf four separateassassinationattempts on Mussolini. The PNF was
now the sole legal PartY.
public Safety"Law itSZe); increased powers .of .arrest. Suspected
subversivescould be sentencedto 5 yeari internal exile. Approximately
10,000 people were held in'confino'-, usually on off-shore islands like
LiPari.
The creation of a secret police (ovRA) in 1926; OVRA arrested or
cletainedhundreds of peopleevery week.
A Special Tribunal wis establishedin 7926 for trying political offences;
trial' by jury was thereby removed in political cases.The Tribunal
convic[ed over 5000 peopie over the period 7927-43but only 49 were
sentencedto death.
The democratic electoral system was abolishecl and replaced by a
plebiscitarysystemin the 1928FlectoralLaw. The FascistGrand Council
was to draw lp a list of 400 candidates,after nominationsby unions,and
employers, and then the'electorate' had to approve or reject the whole
list.
t
In the 7929 'elections" 95% of the 'electorate' approved the Grand
Council's list oi candiclates.In 1939 the Chamber was abolished and
replacedby the 'Chamber of Fascesand Corporations''
!
However, to a considerableextent Mussolini subordinated the FascistParty to
the power of the state:
3
o
In ]anuary 7927a rlecreeobliged Fascistofficials to accep.tthe superior
authoritybf the prefects(chiefitate official in eachprovince).
I
a
3
131